If necessity is the mother of invention, perhaps efficiency is the father. Point being, innovation doesn’t always demand the creation of something entirely new. Delivering known products or services better or more efficiently can also produce significant gains.
This was the case for Steria, a prominent IT services provider based in France. Steria leaders had a hunch about the market interest in self-provisioned desktops, delivered to any device through the cloud.
“The desktop-as-a-service offer is not very mature in Europe,” says Eric Fradet, industrialization director at Steria. “So we thought an interesting opportunity would be a sustainable and reliable offer that would give our customers an alternative to the traditional desktop model—especially if we could deliver an innovative enterprise application store with instantaneous provisioning and workplace management.”
The company’s research, however, indicated most of its customers felt they had already optimized their desktop computing environment and costs.
“Consequently we had to include added-value services to deliver a total cost of ownership comparable to the current one,” Fradet explains, “thereby offering more services for the same price.”
Focusing on simplicity and flexibility
Instead of new and novel, which usually requires clients to fund the research and development, Steria aimed for simple and flexible. The company found this combination in the Cloud Portal offering within the Cisco® Prime™ Service Catalog, a unified, self-service portal where end users can order any application on their virtual workplace.
“We wanted a simple, flexible model to download, install, and remove applications on cloud-based workplaces,” says Fradet, “enabling end users to import their workplace context onto any endpoint or device.”
- Called “Workplace On Command,” Steria’s new service runs on a FlexPod platform featuring the Cisco Unified Computing System™, Intel® Xeon® processors, Cisco Nexus®Series Switches, and NetApp storage.
- Steria worked closely with Cisco Services to conceptualize and build the solution, from business and technical requirements to high-level and low-level designs to implementation and training.
“There was no phase where Cisco was not involved,” Fradet states. “Cisco was the prime contractor; more of a partner in the true sense of the word than just a subcontractor.”
- Steria customers using Workplace On Command are seeing an 80 percent reduction in the amount of IT time needed to deploy and manage desktops.
- They are using the service to avoid costly IT rollouts, since new applications can be delivered with no human intervention.
- The offering is also extending the lifecycle of customers’ equipment, because it allows new services to be rolled out easily to existing endpoints.
And for Steria, the launch of Workplace On Command has marked a watershed.
“It has changed our position in the market,” Fradet concludes. “Launching such an innovative offer has enabled Steria to increase revenues, gain market share, and improve our profitability.
“Cisco Services was so much more than a supplier,” he adds. “At each layer, they worked closely with us to achieve a shared vision. Cisco is a real strategic partner for us.”