Discover how Ideal helped one of the world's biggest independently run record label groups harmonise its IT solutions and business objectives.
Originating from the London record shops of the same name, the Beggars Banquet record label was born in 1977. Today comprising five independently run labels, the Beggars Group is now one of the largest independent groups of labels in the world. In recent years, some of its most notable achievements include the incredibly successful Adele albums 19, 21 and 25, and three US number one albums - each a rare feat for an independent label.
With its own worldwide network in place, the group now has three offices in London, two in the US (New York and Los Angeles), and a dedicated office in every major territory. Each of the five labels that comprise the group is run independently, but their collaboration is at the core of the business.
In 2014, Ideal designed and configured the wireless networking solution for the London and US offices. The success of that project opened up a deeper opportunity to understand and assist in the group’s business challenges: in the fast-moving music industry, how could it optimise and consolidate its disparate IT investments for maximum flexibility?
Beggars had identified that it needed to improve communication between its offices. Through our engagement we used our breadth and depth of expertise to understand the business’s objectives and implemented an optimised technology platform to help deliver them, overcoming the issues presented by the previously fragmented infrastructure.
George McKenna, Ideal account director
In 2015, the Beggars Group commissioned an external audit of its business, the result of which was a series of recommendations that would support its continued growth. Top among these was the need to overhaul communication between its key offices, addressing a legacy of local infrastructure and carrier arrangements which meant that the quality and cost of voice communication within the group were far from optimal.
Consequently, the Beggars Group was looking to implement a single unified communications (UC) system across all its sites. The group approached Ideal as a potential partner for the UC project: Ideal invested time in understanding its existing arrangements and specific requirements, before proposing a sustainable and cost-effective collaboration platform through which the business could reduce its overheads, improve productivity and continue its growth.
During the data-gathering phase it became apparent that the group also had a need to consolidate and improve the resilience ofservices within its data centre. The approach evolved to look at UC as part of an overall IT roadmap for the Beggars Group that would consolidate its existing, fragmented IT arrangements into a coherent global platform. Leveraging the power of Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS), the innovative new infrastructure would consolidate all networking and communication services into an improved data centre, placing the new facility in the middle of the WAN for global resilience.
Ideal impressed us with its UC experience, but also its insight into our business objectives and challenges. It proposed, designed and delivered a simplified and optimised IT platform that’s become part of our success story. Ideal’s investment in our relationship gives me confidence that it’ll be there to support our continued growth.
Neville Denness, group IT manager, Beggars Group
The solution built on the group’s existing investment in Cisco Call Manager (CCM) to extend a single voice and video platform to all of its offices. This included a full telepresence capability, delivered by CCM, which would enable immersive video conferencing between the core sites.
The system was architected for optimal availability, and to intelligently maximise cost savings. All inter-office and transatlantic calls would be routed via the WAN rather than PSTN, with external (non-Beggars) calls breaking out via SIP from the nearest site to minimise conventional voice costs. Attention to detail included the selection of a telephony partner offering free inter-site calls: in the event of the WAN ever becoming unavailable, Beggars’ staff would be still able to call their colleagues’ DDI numbers via PSTN without incurring additional call charges.
This project grew to become part of a wider engagement in which Ideal optimised the Beggars Group infrastructure across its wide and local area networks, voice and collaboration platforms, applications and the data centre. Key focus points included efficiency and availability, but the group’s revised infrastructure was architected throughout for ‘defence in depth’, Ideal’s approach to security best practice.
The group’s enhanced CCM-based UC solution:
- Enables easy and consistent access between all sites in the group
- and among colleagues regardless of their physical location
- Obviates the need for specific voice access lines between locations
- Has reduced call costs by over 85%
- Demonstrates how Ideal’s ability to translate business objectives into IT solutions delivers real impact for customers
Besides the immediate voice cost savings of migrating from PSTN to WAN and SIP-based IP telephony, this project demonstrated the value to Beggars of having a single standardised, referenceable and proven platform to enable global voice and collaboration, mobility and network - all maintained and supported via a secure managed service.
Ideal’s status as a Cisco Premier Partner, reflecting its in-house, multi-disciplinary expertise across the Cisco portfolio, gave it the experience and insight to design an IT roadmap which would protect investments in the group’s legacy portfolio, and ensure that future IT spending was aligned to the goals and strategy of the business. Furthermore, Ideal’s unique approach enabled a true understanding of the group’s business environment and operating challenges, and the delivery of an effective and efficient technology platform on which the business could thrive.
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