Outsourcing for success: Managed services partnership lets Italian manufacturer focus on growth

Compared to North America, European manufacturers are sometimes slow to see the merits of the wholesale outsourcing of their IT infrastructures. But specialty pump manufacturer Askoll Group has done just that—outsourcing to Hewlett-Packard the responsibility for server and desktop hardware provision, software integration, maintenance, operations, and even some of its IT consulting needs.

01/29/2008


Compared to North America, European manufacturers are sometimes slow to see the merits of the wholesale outsourcing of their IT infrastructures. But specialty pump manufacturer Askoll Group , headquartered in Povolaro di Dueville, Vicenza, Italy, has done just that—outsourcing to Hewlett-Packard the responsibility for server and desktop hardware provision, software integration, maintenance, operations, and even some of its IT consulting needs.

It hasn’t been an overnight change—far from it, in fact, stresses Alessandro Beaupain, shared services manager responsible for information systems, human resources, financial management, administration and logistics at Askoll Holding , the central holding company for the nine businesses in the group.

Having decided a decade ago that shared services offered the most efficient way to provide the 550-employee, [euros] 130 million company with capabilities such as IT, administrative support, financial management, and logistics, he explains, HP plays an increasingly central role in managing the IT infrastructure of the business.
“Outsourcing to a partner with the right skills and capabilities made a lot of sense,” says Beaupain. “Not only would it free us to focus on helping the group grow, but we could avoid the burden of a large and expensive infrastructure.”

As a matter of policy, explains Beaupain, 15 percent of group revenues are ploughed back into research and development, and while this has helped the business build bridgeheads in new application areas for its technology, the capital available for IT investment has been constrained.

The move to an outsourcing relationship with HP in 1997 immediately eased such concerns, Beaupain relates. Not only did the IT giant manage the existing IT infrastructure, but it also undertook various projects to upgrade it—reorganizing the server farm, for example, including an upgrade to Microsoft Windows 2003; and implementing a corporate Storage Area Network (SAN) based on the HP's own StorageWorks 3000 Enterprise Virtual Array product.

Today, says Beaupain, the contract with HP covers an inventory of more than 260 desktop machines—including 40 that are CAD-enabled, about 30 laptop computers, and a server farm including two Microsoft Windows 2003 clusters joined to the corporate SAN, and a further 20 HP ProLiant servers subdivided between the central head office and the peripheral offices.

In addition, says Beaupain, dedicated HP personnel not only manage the environment, but stay close to the company’s changing needs.

“As they’ve worked more closely with us over the years, they’ve helped us redesign and adapt our IT infrastructure,” Beaupain explains. “In effect, they’re delivering not just a service, but a form of ongoing consultancy.”

An example of this, he points out, was Hewlett-Packard’s close involvement in the implementation of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP suite, progressively implemented over Askoll Group's associated companies between 2004 and 2006. The whole migration process was monitored and coordinated by the Hewlett-Packard staff, which enabled Askoll to reduce the impact of the change on the business while maintaining the highest possible system service levels.

“When we decided on NAV, it was important to choose the best possible consulting and implementation firm to implement it,” says Beaupain. “Hewlett-Packard was the closest to us, and had participated in the software selection process.”



Alessandro Beaupain, shared services manager, Askoll Holding, believes outsourcing to a partner with the right skills and capabilities made a lot of sense for the company.

And the closeness of the working relationship between the two companies has now been endorsed with the signing of a new outsourcing contract—one that recognizes Hewlett-Packard as a Mission-Critical Partner, says Wolfgang Wittmer, HP enterprise server and storage VP for Europe.
“Designed to help meet companies’ most demanding service-level agreements, Mission-Critical Partnerships support the business solutions that have a crucial impact on their bottom-line success,” says WIttmer. “Hewlett-Packard professionals work closely with their staff for effective downtime risk reduction, while a senior service relationship manager oversees the delivery of the services that the business requires, and looks for ways of improving ongoing performance and service quality.”
At Askoll, Wittmer adds, IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) guidelines are being applied with a view to prepare for the challenges of substantial anticipated growth over the next few years.
“Hewlett-Packard HP is a partner that remains a firm and substantial focus for all our future developments,” concludes Beaupain. “Our IT infrastructure is a nerve center for the company, and must not fail, or cause critical situations. Choosing a partner like Hewlett-Packard gives us the ability to rely at all times on highly qualified, competent, and proactive support, guaranteeing us a highly available and reliable infrastructure.”





Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
October 2018
HMI hardware evolution, Data acquisition strategies, Matching motors and drives, Machine vision advice
September 2018
Optimize controls via cloud software, ladder logic simulation, industrial wireless best practices
August 2018
Augmented reality and virtual reality education, autotuning PID control, cybersecurity advice, educating engineers
Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
SIDB

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
October 2018
HMI hardware evolution, Data acquisition strategies, Matching motors and drives, Machine vision advice
September 2018
Optimize controls via cloud software, ladder logic simulation, industrial wireless best practices
August 2018
Augmented reality and virtual reality education, autotuning PID control, cybersecurity advice, educating engineers
Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
SIDB

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
October 2018
HMI hardware evolution, Data acquisition strategies, Matching motors and drives, Machine vision advice
September 2018
Optimize controls via cloud software, ladder logic simulation, industrial wireless best practices
August 2018
Augmented reality and virtual reality education, autotuning PID control, cybersecurity advice, educating engineers
Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
SIDB

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me