Tuesday, 16th July 2019

Peugeot cruises to hosting durability with Claranet

Established in France in 1810 as an engineering firm producing a host of mechanical objects, Peugeot is best known today as one of the leading car manufacturers in the world. The car company has a long history and remains rooted in its heritage, but their ethos is thoroughly modern and forward-looking. To mark their bicentenary in 2010, Peugeot revamped its branding, with a more dynamic logo, and unveiled a range of stylishly-modern vehicles. Key to this forward-looking approach is the company’s website, which serves as an interactive portal through which customers and prospective customers can find out about their range, the Brand itself, access customer support, and arrange test-drives at their local dealerships.

The challenge
At the beginning of 2013, a high-profile Managed Services Provider (MSP) collapsed, impacting a number of businesses – including Peugeot.

The company had been relying on the MSP to manage the hosting of a number of microsites and suddenly found themselves in the position of having to find, vet and migrate to a new hosting provider quickly – or risk temporarily losing the delivery of these sites. Such a scenario would have dealt a serious blow for the car dealer, explained Vijay Mistry, Manager – Technical Services, at PSA Peugeot Citroën: “Beyond our primary site, we also operate a number of distinct tactical campaign microsites which are intrinsically linked to our marketing operations. These sites, which attract a considerable number of visitors each month, serve as valuable platforms for customer engagement and interaction, and ultimately help to drive brand loyalty and sales. These sites also hold our online booking engine for test drives, which helps us to feed tangible sales leads to our dealerships. When our old provider folded, we needed to act quickly to find a new one to maintain the delivery of our microsites and avoid any negative impact on the business.”

The solution
Having consulted with and reviewed a number suppliers, Peugeot opted for Claranet, who came up with a proposal that would not only meet their requirements for the immediate short-term, but which would also be fit-for-purpose five years down the line.

“Claranet’s recommendations for our hosting solution were head-and-shoulders above the other suppliers that we spoke to,” Mistry explained. “While our primary concern was getting our microsites up and running, we were also keen to see what other options were available in terms of our hosting arrangements. The team at Claranet proposed a managed hosting solution that was flexible and scalable enough to satisfy our immediate hosting needs, but with the potential to evolve and develop the solution as the business required. Given the time constraints, this was quite a feat. We were impressed with their professionalism and willingness to go the extra mile, so they were the obvious choice.”

Peugeot’s microsites were migrated to Claranet’s managed hosting environment, whereby Claranet manages and monitors the infrastructure and the applications themselves. With the initial phase of the migration completed, Claranet worked with Peugeot to devise a migration strategy for other less business-critical applications in its IT estate, which have been gradually moved across to Claranet’s unmanaged environment. Here Claranet provides technical support up to the operating system level, while the technical team at Peugeot supports the applications themselves.

Mistry continued: “Our primary concern is ensuring that our externally facing apps perform as they should, so it makes sense to have an additional layer of management in place. But for internal functions, such as our dealer support and communications applications, which are less critical to our business, a lower level of management is sufficient. Dividing our applications in this way makes most business sense for us and is a more efficient use of our time and resources.”

The benefits
In spite of the tight timeframe, Claranet took the time to work out the hosting solution that would be right in the short-term, to maintain delivery of Peugeot’s web properties – but also with a mind to developing the solution over time.

Mistry said: “The main constraint with this project was time. Our previous supplier collapsed in quite a sudden and dramatic fashion, giving us only a short time to find a new hosting provider. Claranet fully appreciated the situation and the pressure that we were under, and responded accordingly. Typically a migration project like this could take over a month to complete from start to finish; that Claranet were able to deliver the solution within such a short space of time is an absolute credit to them.”
The success of the relationship with Claranet owes much to their ongoing technical support and technical architects, who helped to devise a migration roadmap as the solution evolved. Since initial implementation of the managed hosting solution, Peugeot has steadily increased its workloads and storage, having migrated a large number of additional applications across to Claranet’s unmanaged environment.

“Claranet’s technological expertise is plain to see – they understood our requirements immediately – but it has been the overall service wrap that has impressed us the most,” Mistry explained. “They have been agile and flexible at every turn, working with us to ensure that the solution is functioning the best way possible. Every time we have asked for advice or assistance they have been responsive, getting the right people to us at the right time. Essentially we now have a two tier hosting arrangement with Claranet, but with a single-point-of-contact and a single management structure, which ensures complete transparency in the solution and means that our IT staff can focus their efforts where they are needed most.”

“With the previous solution we were ‘fire-fighting’ quite a lot, just to maintain delivery and performance of the website. If the website were to go down, or not perform as it should do, we would risk losing potential customers, so it’s imperative that it operates well. Moreover, as a dynamic business, we often take on ad-hoc projects, which put additional pressure on the IT infrastructure. Claranet’s platform allows us to easily accommodate these projects. We have the confidence we need that the team at Claranet will manage the behind-the-scenes delivery of our applications, giving us flexibility and freedom to move the business forward,” he concluded.

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