A Flexible Partner for a Complex Project: Building a Pan-European Network with RIEDEL Networks

Managed WAN für IT Unternehmen

Thomas Schröder

Manager IT Operations Management at KYOCERA Document Solutions Europe B.V.

When embarking on an IT project, you may have any number of technical requirements and non-negotiables to ensure the result is a functional solution. But there are also intangible factors that increase the likelihood of a project’s success. One of these factors is flexibility: the ability to handle and adapt to whatever situation arises.

In 2017, Kyocera Document Solutions Europe embarked on a new design for our pan-European Network network backbone. We wanted that design to be implemented and managed by a single provider—one that was flexible enough to meet the demands and complexities of working in multiple countries across Europe.

I have been with Kyocera Document Solutions Europe for 15 years and am currently head of IT operations. My team creates the IT infrastructure, starting from the network layer up to the application layer. This infrastructure is used to provide centralized IT services of Kyocera Document Solutions Europe. We enable our customers—our colleagues and our partners—to drive more business.

The Promise of Flexibility and Never Having to Open a Ticket Again

In 2017, we received direction from our headquarters in Japan to centralize more of our IT services and standardize the IP infrastructure in the EMEA region. We needed a stable foundation to provide a secure and reliable service. In addition, we had the strategic direction to move more services into the cloud. This is where the pan-European network backbone design idea was created.

The pan-European backbone consists of MPLS lines as primary lines, with IPsec VPN lines as backup, based on the local internet network of each customer. Before, the network was based entirely on Internet based VPN lines, meaning there was no way for us to guarantee quality service due to technical limitations.

When looking for a partner, the top considerations are competitive pricing, high-quality service, and above all, flexibility.

Our requirements were, in a nutshell: competitive pricing, high-quality service, and above all, flexibility to adjust to the individual circumstances in each country. Any partner we chose for this project would need to be flexible enough to accommodate to the customer demands at each site.

A colleague of mine had previous experience working with Riedel Networks, and suggested that they be included in the formal RFP process. Even though Kyocera Document Solutions Europe had never worked with Riedel Networks before, the company was a better fit for us than anyone else we considered. We were impressed by the service improvements we would gain, their pricing, and their reputation for flexibility.

Riedel Networks offers direct access to their level-two technicians as well as proactive monitoring of the entire network. If a network connection fails, my team would not have to open a ticket or wait ages on the support line with no guarantee of a positive outcome. When you work in IT, every minute you are on hold trying to resolve a failure is a minute that your colleagues may not be able to work, and that lost time can result in lost revenue for the business. With Riedel, I felt confident that having direct access to technicians would help us solve issues much faster.

Smoothing Out the Bumps of a Complex Rollout

My team got started on the project by designing the internal network, considering compliance and security requirements in EMEA region. After that, we met with the account management team and technicians from Riedel Networks, who we provided with our specific requirements for each site.

We took a two-phase approach to deployment. In the first phase, we connected our four most important data centers and sites. In phase two, we began to work on the remote sites. Throughout the summer of 2021, we will continue rolling out to all customers and sites on our pan-European network backbone.

We are pleased that the deployment is running so smoothly. Throughout the rollout, Riedel Networks proved to be as capable and flexible as expected. Even with a detailed and meticulous rollout plan, sometimes requirements change mid-deployment and everyone has to find a way to work around those changes. This is especially true when working on multiple sites across multiple countries, and each country has their own local concerns. Riedel Networks proved very responsive in adapting to anything and everything that came our way.

Proactive Monitoring Creates Cost Savings

As we continue deployment, we have already noticed that the network is more stable and the service quality from the customer perspective is much better. Troubleshooting is also quicker because Riedel proactively monitors the network and is aware of service outages, which they quickly address with their portfolio of providers in each country. Instead of arriving at work in the morning to find a mess, I find an email informing me that the alert set off at 2:15 a.m. was promptly resolved.

We fully outsourced network management to a company we can trust who will inform us when problems arise. No longer having to monitor these situations is of high added value to us as an internal IT department, and I can then feel good about reselling that service to our customers.

Working with a single partner eliminates the complexity of working within a large, multifaceted region.

We now have one contact partner who I can call for services across the EMEA region, which is very beneficial for us. EMEA is a heterogeneous landscape of many different countries, each with their different laws and business requirements. The multiplication factor of complexity is much higher than working in some other markets. Working with a single partner for the entire region, we’ve eliminated that complexity, even down to not having to worry about language barriers. Sometimes simple misunderstandings between people who don’t speak the same language can cost you when trying to troubleshoot a problem.

That raises another benefit of working with Riedel Networks: The simplicity of working with such a professional and flexible partner has lowered our costs. Over the past three years, we would have likely had to invest 30% more in our network had we gone with a different supplier.

A Launchpad for Future Projects

Our partnership with Riedel Networks has been a launching pad for other projects. We now consult with them on many technical projects, such as our plans for cloud services, and they are very good at finding solutions when the unexpected happens. At several points during deployment, we found out that countries required us to keep services local under the sites law. In that instance, Riedel offered us a co-location space in their data center, finding the right solution and helping us in providing our IT service to our customers. The partnership we have with them, from their account management to technical consultancy, has proven to add high value for Kyocera Document Solutions Europe time and again.