International project management and services company, Amec Foster Wheeler, employs over 40,000 people working from a network of offices throughout the U.K., U.S. and Canada, as well as regional offices and projects worldwide. Close to 200 of Amec Foster Wheeler’s offices are located in North America where the company employs more than 7,000 people. A world leader in technical services and project management, Amec Foster Wheeler designs, delivers and maintains strategic and complex assets for its customers across the global energy and related sectors.
“We are into everything everywhere in the heavy industrial world,” says Amec Foster Wheeler’s Senior Vice President Global IT Ken Plummer. “You never know where we are going to be next.”
Amec Foster Wheeler has grown dramatically through a series of acquisitions and organic growth, resulting in a diverse collection of regional infrastructures that Plummer and his team are transforming over time into a single, unified global infrastructure.
It’s a long and dynamic process. Amec Foster Wheeler first began working with Logicalis in 2003 and Logicalis since then has become Amec Foster Wheeler’s go-to-partner for its networking needs in North America, as well as the U.K. and as far away as Australia.
“We go to Logicalis when we need someone who really understands a product, how it should be implemented and can help us install it,” says Plummer.
The majority of the projects Amec Foster Wheeler partners with Logicalis on have been upgrades to VoIP systems for branch offices.
“When the old systems die in one of our offices, we call Logicalis to help us configure a VoIP system to replace them,” says Amec Foster Wheeler Head of Core Infrastructure Joshua Markham. “We run lean and mean and fill in the blanks with Logicalis,” he adds.
Besides being able to configure and arrange purchase of the required Cisco gear, Logicalis has demonstrated a knack for being able to provide whatever level of service Amec Foster Wheeler requires for a given project.
“Logicalis can do it all,” says Plummer. “Or they can do just as much as we want them to. That’s important because it provides me a lot of flexibility.”
Consolidated Call Centers
A good example of the flexibility that Logicalis provides Amec Foster Wheeler as it transitions to a global infrastructure is the consolidation of three active call centers spread across the globe into a single system. The three call centers are in St. Johns, Newfoundland; Aberdeen, Scotland and Perth, Australia. Although they are central to Amec Foster Wheeler’s communication network, they essentially operated as separate call centers with different phone numbers. Amec Foster Wheeler called on Logicalis to help merge the three call centers into one.
“This was something we hadn’t done before so we needed some direction,” says Markham. “Logicalis helped out all the way through with configuration, procurement and installation. This was a soup to nuts project. They worked right along, hand and hand with us.”
Today the three call centers act as a single, virtual call center. They share a single extension that rolls globally as the day progresses around Amec Foster Wheeler’s world. Having the three call centers perform as one facilitates communications throughout the extensive Amec Foster Wheeler community, centralizes management and dramatically reduces costs.
“It is our goal to make it so – no matter where you go in the world—everything works the same for you. The infrastructure can be supported from anywhere,” says Markham. “As the company moves increasingly into a global infrastructure model, Logicalis is positioned to help us globally,” he adds. “Very few consultants can play on a global level.”
Another important milestone in Amec Foster Wheeler’s goal of a global infrastructure is the global migration to Microsoft Exchange 2007 and the consolidation of multiple domains into a single domain within Active Directory. The nature of Amec Foster Wheeler’s work and its whatever-it-takes approach caused a proliferation of regional domains around the world.
Consolidating all the regional domains into a single global domain is a long-term project. To date, Logicalis, in collaboration with Amec Foster Wheeler, has developed the Exchange 2007 environment within the single domain into which all users, groups and applications will be merged; and designed a standardized modular configuration of the necessary servers and storage that will support 5,000 email accounts. Amec Foster Wheeler can now prevent future domain sprawl by adding a new module for every additional 5,000 email accounts. When complete, the migration and domain consolidation will “revolutionize the support model for Amec Foster Wheeler,” Markham says.
Having worked together now for more than a decade, a high degree of mutual respect is apparent in Amec Foster Wheeler’s relationship with Logicalis.
“We don’t go to Logicalis for just off-the-shelf stuff,” says Plummer. “The key for us is that Logicalis really understands how we work. I always come back to that. We don’t see that from many vendors. We’re a pretty self-sufficient IT group and they understand that. That’s a piece of the relationship that has value. Logicalis provides whatever services we need. They are not pushing stuff that we don’t want. They come in wherever we want them, work with us for a few days, and get it done.”
Plummer adds that Logicalis account executive Art Vinson always “makes sure that we are seeing everything we need to see. We had some IT meetings in London recently, for example, and Art worked out relationships with the guys at Logicalis in London to do some demos for us in their data center. He actually came to London and was with us there building that relationship on the UK side. You don’t see that with many guys. He really puts in extra effort. We have a lot of confidence in our relationship with Logicalis,” Plummer adds. “And you don’t take those kinds of relationships lightly. They don’t come along very often.”