DS Smith plc, a FTSE 100 company, is a specialist and leading provider of corrugated packaging and plastic packaging worldwide. It operates across 37 countries and employs around 32,000 people. When you choose a chocolate bar from an in-store display, take a bottle of champagne from its gift box, or receive a parcel from your favourite online retailer, there’s a high chance the packaging was designed and manufactured by DS Smith.
DS Smith relied on a single provider for networking and datacentre services worldwide. The contract and relationship were managed by the company’s Group IT team, which soon found itself becoming a bottleneck for incident reporting and new service requests from the company’s regional divisions. In addition to KPIs not being met, a backlog of unresolved network incidents had built up. On top of that, the process for installing new connections was sluggish. DS Smith is on a rapid growth curve based on acquisitions around the world and the business was being hampered because of delays in connecting new sites to the network.
Knowing it had to take action to improve the situation, DS Smith approached Xalient for help. Following a review of the current situation, Xalient recommended implementation of their Xalient Connect service where a team of Xalient network professionals acts as a 24/7 interface between DS Smith and its network provider, ensuring that incident, change and order management follow industry best practice and ITIL-aligned processes.
Direct access to DS Smith’s incident management system lets the Xalient team review incident reports raised by the regional IT operations teams and see all status updates from the provider. The Xalient team provides first and second-line support and carries out troubleshooting before passing an incident report to the provider. In the past, if an incident report was incomplete, the provider would close it without resolving it. Now, the Xalient team adds the missing information or goes back to the user for further details. This ensures the provider has the information needed to resolve every incident, whilst Xalient educates users on how to provide complete information the next time they report an incident.
With Xalient on board, DS Smith soon noticed improvements in incident handling, leading to enhanced network performance. The incident backlog has been cleared; incidents are resolved, on average, 40% faster than before; and there are fewer escalations.
In addition, new sites are connected to the network more efficiently, helping DS Smith to accelerate its business. If it’s likely to take several months to install a physical connection at a new site, Xalient works with the provider to find a creative solution to bring it onto the network sooner, such as using a temporary 4G connection, adding immediate business value.
Released from managing incident reports and service requests, DS Smith can now focus on DS Smith’s network transformation agenda, which should see the company transition to a software-defined network (SD WAN) in due course.
Daryl Salmons, Group CIO, DS Smith.
Sherry Vaswani, CEO Xalient
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