Hidrostal are a global manufacturer of high quality, low maintenance pumps. A leader in their space they have a presence in more than 18 countries.
Hidrostal had worked with the same IT support company for many years. They had started off as a small boutique provider offering a very personal service. After a number of acquisitions, Hidrostal started to feel the effects of being 1 of 1000’s of customers.
“Getting anything done was painful and as the service desk wasn’t online until 9am, for those that get into the office early, they could quite often be unable to work for several hours before anything was done about it. Despite company Directors coming to pay us a visit and making promises, the level of service didn’t change, and we knew it was time to reconsider our options” – Annette Boulter (Finance Director)
With no dedicated internal IT resource, Hidrostal needed someone to take ownership of the IT, both from a strategic standpoint providing direction and guidance as the market evolved as well as day to day BAU support.
Hidrostal considered various options, including bringing IT in house, going with another large mainstream provider as well a small one or two-man band. There was always a sense of compromise when the options were being evaluated, they needed both depth and breadth of skill, but also not compromise on service levels.
“We knew we wanted someone big enough to provide the breadth and depth, but small enough to get to know us and us them in order to provide the level of personal service we were after”
“We didn’t have a formal selection criteria, whilst we knew what we didn’t want, none of us are deeply technical with IT so you could argue that we didn’t know what we did want either.
From the first meeting we felt as though we could trust the people, there were shared values between the two organisations. FIT were clear about the approach they would take, they understood the concerns we had with the previous service provider and explained how their service worked.
They got to know our business operation and made early suggestions regarding how things could be improved. We got a sense of confidence that they had that breadth and depth, but we wouldn’t be a number to them”
The team at Hidrostal were clear that they wanted to be both challenged and supported when it comes to technology decisions and have a presence within their management team meetings.
“We are a pump manufacturer, at the time there were two distinct businesses as part of the Group of companies (now 3), we know our business, but we don’t have the time or expertise to be keeping abreast of what is happening with technology, what we should and shouldn’t be adopted or changed. Whilst having someone that could support our daily needs was of primary concern, we also needed someone that could move us forward with a direction from an IT standpoint. FIT have helped us with this, initially focussing on the priority areas that were broken and then providing a perspective on what we should do next, FIT have become our IT Team”
There was a limited time to onboard the service as Hidrostal’s contract with their incumbent supplier was due to expire imminently. A project plan was drawn up to ensure that the Hidrostal business wasn’t affected by the handover and they could transition into early life support very quickly.
“What was really reassuring is that we were kept updated on the progress on a very regular basis. There was a plan that was shared with us and then on a weekly basis, we were informed what had been done, what was next, where the issues were and so on. There were plenty of challenges along the way and things that we didn’t know about before we’d started, but all of this were taken in their stride”
The aim was to reduce any reliance on Hidrostals incumbent supplier wherever possible, so we tried to get some aspects of the service operation within a week of doing the initial discovery.
“Confidence levels grew pretty quickly in FITs service desk when there were issues even though they themselves were getting up to speed. The number of man-hours I spent previously fending off staff with complaints or escalations regarding IT started to subside. Whereas before, people would sit on issues because raising a case was just too much hassle, people started to raise cases directly with FIT, they were responsive, kept us updated and resolved issues quickly”
Hidrostal purchased Avonmouth Engineering less than a month after being onboarded as a managed service client. With little notice for all involved, FIT and Hidrostal had to collaborate intensively to integrate Avonmouth’s IT into the Hidrostal business which was a huge undertaking, fraught with unknowns.
“We contacted FIT on the Monday to say, we’d purchased a business and needed their help to unpick the IT from the parent company we’d purchased them off. We didn’t have a formal agreement in place, I just needed them to get on with it and know that they wouldn’t sell the family silver in the process. The acquisition was a huge, operational challenge on every level, we simply could not have done it without FITs involvement. They owned the problem of understanding what Avonmouth had, who provided it and what needed to be done to bring it into a Hidrostal owned state”
“There have been a number of ways that FIT have made a difference, the work with the acquisition was certainly one, but more generally:”
“Senior management are no longer burdened with the issues of IT, we can get on with running the business”
“We’ve adopted new technology to improve productivity, such as password self-service”
“Improvements have been made practically to our security, connectivity and IT performance”
“The level of stability has improved, we’re not losing days to downtime now, we certainly feel more confident in platform stability”
“Overall, firefighting has reduced, we’re now starting to look at more progressive initiatives”
“There is confidence on the ground level that if there is a problem, it will be looked at and taken seriously, its never a take a ticket and get in line”
“We’ve moved to more efficient and future proof technologies (Azure Virtual Desktop instead of RDS for example) which is more stable and has saved us some money in the process."
There is still a lot to do, we still have improvements to make which FIT have presented as part of our long-term vision, they accept we have a business to run and we can’t do everything at once, they’ve been patient with us whilst challenging us to improve and be better, something we appreciate”
“We thought we paid our previous supplier an appropriate amount of money for their service. FIT were more expensive which needed consideration at the time. We look at it now and we realise that we needed to invest more in this area and by doing so, we’ve got the service we need and want. In turn, the stability of our services has enabled us to be more productive, so it no longer looks expensive”
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