06/12/2016 | Hardis Group

By moving its IS to Hardis Group's infrastructures, the property maintenance specialist has improved service quality and continuity and increased resource management flexibility.

Hardis Group, a digital services company and independent software vendor, has been chosen by property maintenance specialist ISERBA (Inter SERvice BAtiment) to modernize, host and manage its whole IT infrastructure. Since switching its IS to the Hardis Group cloud, ISERBA's IT department has enhanced service quality and become more proactive and flexible. It is now able to focus on its high-growth core businesses.

ISERBA: focusing on its core businesses by outsourcing

Founded in 1978, ISERBA (Inter SERvice BAtiment) is a family business specializing in multi-service maintenance for housing projects. More recently, the company expanded its services to include upkeep, maintenance and repair of individual gas and oil appliances for private individuals and managing agents. The Lyon-based company has developed continuously over the last 40 years, reporting growth of around 10% a year. It now has nearly a thousand employees based at over 70 sites throughout France.

ISERBA's growth is built on strong values prioritizing service quality and customer satisfaction. IT availability is key to ensuring that it can fulfill its contractual commitments, manage and monitor service requests and enable employees to consult and update information relating to their work in the field. ISERBA was quick to opt for outsourcing in order to relieve its 8-person IT department from infrastructure management responsibilities. The company's IT infrastructure modernization project, which commenced in spring 2015, was prompted by the need to replace its hardware and its goal to improve service levels. "We took the opportunity of our contractual commitments coming to an end with our IT hosting and management provider to draw up a new master plan and define the target solution", explained Vincent Baby, Infrastructure and Network Manager in the IT Department at ISERBA.

Opting for control, maturity and geographical proximity

Four key requirements were identified: increase resource flexibility to handle the company's growth, reduce business recovery time from 4 hours to 1 hour, have additional guarantees from the hosting and facilities management provider in terms of service levels and responsiveness and enable the IT team to focus on its core activities and users.

Hardis Group was selected after six companies were invited to tender in September 2015. In addition to Hardis Group's offering meeting their requirements, ISERBA's choice was driven by criteria such as geographical proximity, the similarity of the two companies in terms of size and growth and the good relationship between teams from the outset. "Hardis' approach was structured and mature and they proposed a controlled and industrial solution, with a vision of the future regarding public Cloud solutions", explained Vincent Baby.

The build phase, which commenced in early 2016, involved several workshops - attended by teams from ISERBA, Hardis Group and the previous service provider - to prepare for the switchover. The required tasks, transition scenarios and future operating procedures were defined and approved during these sessions. All ISERBA's IT and telecom applications were included: BtoB and BtoC ERP, Exchange e-mail servers, Citrix infrastructure for light clients, ToIP servers, collaborative tools, customer portal and interfacing with mobile devices used in the field. After a trial switchover, the infrastructure was migrated to Hardis Group's data centers over a weekend in June 2016. Once the switchover was complete, the system was restarted with total transparency for users.

"Hardis ensured that all the success factors were in place at all levels. Its teams, made up of a project manager, technical consultants and a Service Delivery Manager, supported us with their methodology, commitment and understanding of our specific situation", explained Vincent Baby.

An infrastructure and partner able to support growth

ISERBA's production infrastructures are now hosted at the Vénissieux data center with a backup in Limonest. Hardis Group's Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering has 72 virtual machines (including 52 for DRP) and a physical server. It is combined with a managed services agreement (backup, replication in the backup data center, monitoring, support, operation, etc.) to guarantee availability and continuity of service, and a hot line open from 7am to 7pm.

Just a few months after the migration, the IT department is already seeing the benefits, particularly in terms of facilities management service quality and responsiveness: "we now have professional, monitored and controlled facilities management with real service-level agreements and clearly defined areas of action for each team", said Vincent Baby. Continuity of service has improved due to faster incident detection and resolution.

ISERBA's IT department is already thinking about new projects in the future to further modernize its information system: ERP upgrades and a new EDM tool, etc. "We now have an infrastructure that is scalable in line with the company's growth and changing IT tools", added Vincent Baby.