The Inspired Thinking Group (ITG) is one of the most innovative marketing services and communication solutions providers in the UK. The Group focuses on delivering innovative software and marketing based consultancy services directly to the retail marketing sector. The company’s operating principles have been built on credible expertise and service delivery over the last 20 years to many of the top UK and European retail marketing companies.
A key component of ITG’s service portfolio is MediaCentre – a comprehensive marketing services toolkit that helps its customers to effectively store, access, process and utilise all their digital marketing assets. Accessed via an extranet, clients including 3 out the UK’s top 4 supermarkets and a major German car manufacturer, rely on this sophisticated platform to manage time-critical marketing activities, processes and work flows relating to their various suppliers and branches. The criticality of the MediaCentre service meant that it needed to be available for ITG’s clients – at all times.
Supporting MediaCentre is a complex infrastructure with a server estate, housing a huge volume of rapidly growing data, which required a proper DR solution – to ensure uninterrupted service continuity.
ITG’s original DR setup for its IT systems, including MediaCentre, consisted of using two data centres in London and Dover to provide offsite backup for its critical data. Although the data was secure, they did not have an adequate recovery plan to ensure that their downtime was minimised. This potential vulnerability and business impact threat on ITG’s clients was unacceptable.
This risk meant that the MediaCentre service needed to be protected by a disaster recovery facility, that when invoked, would guarantee delivery of its restored systems – within a short timeframe. ITG also appreciated that using any other method to recreate its complex infrastructure and data, would be too difficult and costly.
John Knight, Group IT Director, ITG Group, explained, “Our customers increasingly rely on the MediaCentre service to run most of their key marketing activities. Although we have always taken our IT security and service availability seriously, we felt with our growing, complex infrastructure that supports our service portfolio, our customers wanted total reassurance that we could bounce back almost instantly in the event of any incident. We therefore needed to find an external expert that offered a best of breed, DR provision.”
Following a recommendation from an existing Plan B customer, ITG chose Plan B, provider of a fully managed, virtualisation-based IT recovery service. Plan B offered innovation in the Disaster Recovery field with their automated Pre-recovery solution which would recover ITG’s system’s in advance rather than waiting for a disaster to strike. This proactive approach to minimising IT downtime, with a cost comparable to traditional cloud DR solutions meant it was the solution of choice for ITG.
ITG was allowed to road test the Pre-recovery solution with a free 30 day trial, followed by a test invocation so they could experience the real invocation process. ITG’s IT team were amazed to be able to access an exact replica of all of their live systems, via a VPN, in well under 30 minutes.
Following this evaluation, ITG decided to deploy the Plan B service to protect its entire server infrastructure. Because of the extra resilience offered by Plan B service, ITG could now afford to migrate and consolidate all of its data to its Dover site – removing the significant running costs of using the London data centre.
Knight said, “With Plan B on board, our clients are reassured that their assets, within MediaCentre, are being totally protected with a leading-edge DR service. Also, having this DR service is proving to be a great USP for us, and is helping us to close new business. We now have total confidence that our systems will be available – whatever incident we face. The Plan B service was easy to set up and now means that we don’t have to worry about testing and backing up our systems.”
ITG’s MediaCentre is now fully protected by a fully managed, professional, DR service that employs a best practice approach to ensure complete business continuity for its operations. The agency now can quickly recover from incidents in minutes and ensure uninterrupted service delivery for its clients.
Knight concluded, “In addition to having a market leading solution we’re saving money on data centres that we don’t need, and we’ve reduced our business continuity management time significantly.”