Systems Integrator's Rip-and-Replace Strategy Pays off for UK Society

Loraine Lawson

You don't see too much published about systems integrators these days, so I thought I'd share this short case study published by ComputerWeekly.com this week. It looks at how systems integrator Esteem helped simply the Nottingham Building Society's IT division.

 

Knowing nothing about the Nottingham Building Society, I really couldn't see how that would be such a big deal. As it turns out, this society has more than 30 branches and 500 employees. Granted, that's not huge, but it's not exactly as simple and small as you might have predicted.

 

Sometimes, people talk about "ripping and replacing" systems. My hunch is people might replace parts of their architecture -- but generally not the whole thing. It sounds like this project redefined rip and replace. Jack Cutts, head of IT at the Nottingham Building Society, said they replaced every server and PC in the business. The UK article adds:

"Infrastructure improvements included a new network, a storage area network (SAN) and a disaster recovery centre with a NetApp virtual tape library (VTL) and VMware. As well as replacing its core savings and mortgage system with a Summit system, the Nottingham implemented a new version of Microsoft Windows Server, Microsoft Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange Server, as well as Citrix Presentation Server for improved branch access."

They had to retrain all their users and, while they were at it, they went ahead and redid how the IT team functioned as well. I mean, why not -- you're redoing everything else, right?

 

All of this change was prompted by auditing and security regulations, as well as a need to be more consumer-focused and less product-focused.

 


It was a pretty gutsy play, but they seem happy with the results.



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Aug 2, 2008 12:59 PM Francis Carden Francis Carden  says:
Just imagine if something had gone wrong? At what point would you go back? CIO leaves? Cost? It didn't work? What happens if they brought or merged with another company along the way?As you pointed out, this is a small example and it also does not look like it took that long. Also, seems they didn't have that much "legacy" compared the hundreds I see in the enterprise. The reality is, it takes years of planning and execution and I can point to many companies whom have poured hundreds of millions into rip-and-replace only to throw most of the work away.The longer something takes, the higher the risk of failure. Small chunks work most often, for small companies. Why SHOULD it be that hard or why should we be surprised if it succeeds? The fact we are surprised is a reflection on how infrequently we see rip-and-replace a success. It is hard, it is up there in some of the hardest things companies have to do (I know a Financial Institution that is in it's 10th year of it's SOA strategy).I think it's great this was a success and congratulations to all involved. If you embark on your own quick rip-and-replace strategy I only caution, don't throw out the baby with the bath water. Rather, empty the bath slowly for a more guaranteed success. Reply
Aug 7, 2008 4:03 AM sudhakar sudhakar  says:
hello Reply

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