Mole Valley Farmers

CASE STUDY

A Brief Introduction

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Mole Valley Farmers is the country’s largest rural retailer, with a turnover reaching £400million.

Six retail brands and around 50 retail outlets supply to farmers and the public, with feed mills, fertiliser blending and specialist mineral plants, vet practices, renewable energy services and a farm building division included in the group’s diverse interests. ITPS is a long-standing partner of the business, providing IT infrastructure and strategic development support.

We are a hugely complex organisation, involving around 1800 staff spread across multiple locations. The business has grown rapidly over the last decade, as we have expanded our footprint and embarked on a substantial growth programme.

Will you cope if disaster strikes

The Challenge

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A series of key acquisitions have resulted in some systems and process integration challenges that together we have met head on, ensuring the continual smooth running of the business and consistency of real-time reporting across the group.

Our head offices are in South West England, but our close working partnership means geographic distance isn’t an issue. We are very self-sufficient and the majority of the onsite work is done by us, with technical support from ITPS. And we have the reassurance of knowing that if we need them, they will be here without hesitation.

As a business very reliant on our online trade we must minimise the threat of downtime, and ITPS were able to make the change cost effective enough for us to consider.

ITPS Approach

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Our e-commerce arm has developed into a major area of the business that supports all six of our retail brands, and keeping our IT infrastructure steady and under tight control is vital. We see ITPS as a valuable asset and very much an integral part of what we do. They work seamlessly as part of our in-house team.

The differentiator with ITPS is that it’s very much about the personal touch and getting exactly what we need, rather than discussions over contracts and what’s chargeable and what’s not. They operate on old-fashioned values of being honourable, being flexible, and always delivering on promises – theirs is a unique approach in this regard. ITPS are working alongside us and other prime contractors on a number of factors involved in making sure we have the right infrastructure in place to support a smooth changeover.

With their help we have also strengthened our disaster recovery strategy. When we started to look at the issues ITPS suggested we look at a VMware-based solution and we could immediately see the advantages, and how it would serve our own business and our customers.

Results

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FULL NETWORK CAPABILITIES

Although switching to a virtualised solution involved some new investment we have been able to utilise our existing servers in our disaster recovery suite, creating a strong and flexible arrangement spread across three physical environments. Should we suffer a failure, we would soon be up and running again with full network capabilities.

We are always looking to strike the right balance between needs and budget, and make good decisions for the future of our business.

Because ITPS works with a wide range of organisations they keep us abreast of developments and make innovative suggestions based on a combination of their own technical knowledge and experience, plus IT industry developments and what is working for other clients.

Will you cope if disaster strikes

The ITPS Difference

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Over the years we have built a level of two-way trust that cements our relationship. ITPS’s Operations Director Paul Anderson and the team behind him understand the issues we face in the present, and where the business is headed in the future.

Working with people who are technically external partners but who have the same level of commitment to our goals as we do brings another viewpoint to the table. Ours is a healthy relationship based on trust, and we are not shy about being honest and challenging each other until we reach the right conclusion. Our partnership with ITPS means we can maintain the best IT solutions for the business, and benefit from a strong, complementary team of highly skilled people to help us drive the business forward, and all at a very reasonable cost.

ITPS are working alongside us and other prime contractors on a number of factors involved in making sure we have the right infrastructure in place to support a smooth changeover. Our present set up is based around having our servers on-site – we are firm believers in being able to ‘touch the tin’. ITPS understands that we are a business with a long-standing pedigree, we don’t want to lead the field or be a test ground for new technology, we would rather get behind innovation that is solid and proven. Paul and the team always give us best advice, while recognising our prudent attitude to balancing risk with innovation.

“To try and replicate ITPS’s level of knowledge in-house would mean spending a lot of money. And by the nature of the job, gradually that knowledge would become insular again.

Paul O’Connor

IT Manager, Mole Valley Farmers Group

Get In Touch

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