S wisscom AG is the largest telecommunications provider in Switzerland. In addition to providing mobile, digital television, and Internet services to millions of private residents throughout the country, Swisscom also plans, implements, and operates IT and communications infrastructures for businesses of all sizes.
“Only Cisco offered a truly dynamic, customizable solution to meet our complex needs.”
Andreas Arrigoni, Head of Cloud Infrastructure Services Small and Medium Business, Swisscom
In recent years, Swisscom has encountered a challenge familiar to telecommunications companies (telcos) everywhere. As more customers shift from landlines to mobile devices, and as the mobile market becomes more competitive and complex, many telcos are finding it necessary to create new revenue streams by offering a broader range of services. In 2011, Swisscom confronted this challenge with the introduction of Dynamic Computing Services, a comprehensive cloud offering designed exclusively for Swiss businesses looking for a secure, scalable, cost-effective approach to IT.
Difficulties quickly emerged. “We developed our own customer-facing portal for the cloud offering,” says Thomas Gfeller, product manager at Swisscom. “Almost right away, we could see that our software had serious limitations.
Many of these difficulties arose from the size and diversity of the Swisscom customer base. The company runs four selling organizations, each aimed at a different segment of the corporate market, and Swisscom leadership wanted to integrate all of these units into a centrally managed cloud solution.
“For years, each selling unit had its own IT lifecycle,” says Adrian Flückiger, head of cloud infrastructure services corporate business at Swisscom. “That creates a great deal of unnecessary overhead.”
Flückiger and his team began the search for a vendor to help Swisscom build a fully integrated, enterprise-wide cloud offering on a hypervisor-agnostic architecture, with the aim of combining various virtualization platforms to meet the company's unique needs.
“We needed a vendor with deep experience in deploying and optimizing cloud solutions,” he says. “By attempting to create our own cloud infrastructure with no external assistance, we were simply stealing focus from our own areas of specialization.”
Competing with two other top cloud vendors, Cisco engaged in an intensive proof-of-concept to demonstrate its capabilities on a wide range of use cases to the Swisscom team.
“The proof-of-concept sealed the deal,” says Andreas Arrigoni, head of cloud infrastructure services, small and medium business at Swisscom. “We assumed that some use cases would be too challenging for an external vendor, but Cisco proved otherwise. Only Cisco offered a truly dynamic, customizable solution to meet our complex needs.”
Cisco Services was instrumental in making the deployment a success, designing an optimal integration of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) software with the Swisscom legacy environment. Swisscom now offers a standardized catalog of 26 different cloud-based services, including virtual servers, storage, network, and security, all managed through Cisco IAC. Business customers can place orders online and provision a virtual data center in minutes.
“The key to the whole solution is the level of customization provided by Cisco Services,” says Simon Ruch, project manager at Swisscom.
“Our cloud services are now fully integrated into our billing systems, our incident management system, and even our extranet resources. We've automated some of our most time-consuming processes, and we've gained greater visibility across the enterprise from a single portal. It's a huge improvement.”
For Swisscom, Cisco is not simply a software provider, but also a trusted cloud solutions consultant. “Throughout this implementation, Cisco Services listened to us,” says Flückiger. “They were open to input, because they were committed to finding the right solution for Swisscom. It was a dynamic process. We learned a lot from each other, which is exactly as it should be.”
“Throughout this implementation, Cisco Services listened to us.”
Adrian Flückiger, Head of Cloud Infrastructure Services Corporate Business, Swisscom
The level of agility achieved from Cisco IAC produces considerable cost savings for Swisscom. “With our new automation capabilities, we can provision servers in minutes rather than weeks,” says Arrigoni. “Better yet, it doesn't matter whether we have 20 hosts or 2000 hosts, because we can manage those fluctuations in user demand without increasing our IT staff. That leads to a major reduction in operational expenses. Our IT teams are happier, too, because Cisco IAC is an easy-to-use solution that requires very little specialized training while vastly reducing the time necessary to deliver new services.”
Customer Name: Swisscom AG
Industry: Telecommunications and IT service provider
Location: Worblaufen, Switzerland
Number of Employees: 19,500
Automate billing and fulfillment processes in customer-facing cloud portal
Extend unified cloud capabilities across multiple business units
Meet stringent security requirements for business-ready cloud solution
Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud for on-demand cloud-based workload deployment
VMware vCloud Director to provision virtual data centers almost instantly
Cisco Services to optimize solution for full integration of Cisco software and legacy hardware
Reduced operational costs by provisioning servers in minutes rather than weeks
Scaled to manage fluctuation in user demand without increasing IT staff
Offered more flexible pay-per-use billing options to cloud customers