Re-inventing SSE Ireland’s network for the future

Overview

SSE Ireland is a fast-expanding renewable energy business with diverse interests and operations, spanning power generation, retail, wind farms and contact centres. Crucial for the company was building a resilient network infrastructure for its 1,200 staff to work and collaborate across 26 sites. 

The challenge 

SSE was focused on delivering more agility while simultaneously reducing costs.

Challenge #1 was resilience in the Belfast office that hosts 100 contact centre agents.

Challenge #2 was a requirement for more bandwidth to support the roll-out of a unified communications solution across the company’s UK and Ireland sites. The new all-Ireland WAN would be expected to carry voice, data and video, as well as provide internet gateways to free up core bandwidth. 

“We went to market to get the network we needed with cost savings and no reduction in service,” said Morgan Gilbert, IT Service Delivery Manager, Ireland. It was a challenge that BT Ireland was ready and able to embrace.

The solution 

We saw off four competitors to win the tender with a re-designed WAN plan, leveraging best available technologies to deliver year-on-year reductions in operational expenditure. 

SSE needed a network that would deliver maximum application uptime for their users. To ensure this we chose two high-availability technologies: MPLS and Ethernet. At the same time, we improved telephony services by adding a SIP platform to the network, which simplified operations. We then enhanced the user experience by optimising network bandwidth for calls. 

The increased use of bandwidth hungry video in the business drove an upgrade in connectivity to all sites from 1Gbps to 10Gbps. This also provided ‘headroom’ for future growth as more network-dependent services come online. 

The result

We delivered a future-proof network that advanced SSE’s pursuit of more agility while meeting demands on performance and value. More resilience, more capacity, better visibility, and improved service levels are built into the new network.

“BT can help us with our technology roadmap, and we are already talking to them about contact centres and use cases for SD-WAN,” said Gilbert. “BT knows us well, and I will always have them at the table to put forward a solution when there are opportunities to discuss.”

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