GÉANT is a not-for-profit organisation and trusted partner of the European Commission (EC) as the coordinator of large scale network projects cofunded by the European Union (EU) and National Research and Education Network (NREN) members in Europe. Its primary role is to provide a highspeed and high-capacity network and related IT services to its members across Europe and beyond.
Together with its NREN partners GÉANT interconnects over 50 million users at 10,000 institutions across Europe, including universities, schools, libraries and research centres as well as reaching over 100 countries worldwide. GÉANT’s European fibre network spans over 12,000 km, and the company also utilises approximately 250,000 km of network cabling which reaches around the globe including North America and Asia.
Intercity Technology has worked with GÉANT since 2014, offering a 24/7 service desk from the Intercity Secure Operations Centre (ISOC) in Bolton. Following a successful tender exercise, this service was renewed in September 2017 for a further four years.
In 2014, GÉANT was seeking a partner who could ensure their members would receive round-the-clock tech support with a service offering that amounted to more than simple call logging. Whilst members need 24/7 support, most academic users would need access to the network between Monday and Friday from 7am to 7pm. GÉANT had its own staff who covered those core hours, but sometimes faults were urgent in nature and reported outside of these times.
Therefore, the company wanted to increase the ability of its first-line support services to better handle its customers’ needs and reduce the amount of time its secondline engineers were working whilst on call. The next step was to find the right partner to deliver that solution.
“We can be quite demanding when it comes to our SLAs, but Intercity has proven its ability to meet this demand and has adapted to the needs of our customers.
Through open and honest communication, monthly evaluation and reporting, and a robust transparent quality management system we have created a trusting and collaborative working environment between our two tiers, and a genuine partnership between our two organisations.” – Tony Barber Head of the GÉANT Operations Centre, GÉANT
Intercity Technology [Imerja as it was then known] responded to the public tender and submitted a strong bid, subsequently winning the contract to offer the service desk facility for the first-line tier function, initially for a three-year period.
Since 2014, the ISOC, based in Bolton, provided that first-line service. The first-line tier would respond to network events from the Network Management System (NMS), generate tickets and escalate the issue to the right person to get it resolved quickly whilst providing periodic updates. Where appropriate, and often outside of core hours, they will also handle the customer’s initial problem within a set SLA.
The team is available to support customers during evenings, overnight and at weekends. The second-line tier, managed by GÉANT, then corrects and investigates the more complex issues for the company’s customers, providing a truly joined-up, problem-solving partnership and maximising the available resources, whatever the time of day.
“Over the last three years, we’ve built a really strong working relationship with the team at GÉANT, and an indepth knowledge of the needs of the company’s customers. We’re looking forward to applying this knowledge to the needs of educational institutions across the world and supporting the company’s growth even further.” – Ian Jackson Chief Commercial Officer Intercity Technology
Since Intercity Technology and GÉANT first joined forces in 2014, Intercity has demonstrated a consistent ability to meet the quality criteria and service levels required by GÉANT.
When the time came for contract renewal, Intercity had an established process aligned with GÉANT’s expectations, and successfully submitted a tender for another four-year contract.
There is now potential for GÉANT to extend its current contract with Intercity Technology to cover its eduroam service, a global Wi-Fi authentication system, allowing students and staff from subscribed campuses to log on to Wi-Fi at higher and further education institutions across the world. Intercity’s ISOC has the potential to take on the first-line tier for the eduroam core infrastructure, to provide customers both in the UK and internationally with a world-class support service.
The partnership between ISOC at Intercity Technology and GÉANT has ensured:
- Greater resource-planning for the GÉANT team, enabling them to focus on complex customer queries and update their own suppliers more efficiently.
- Customers receive swift and efficient support, 24/7, 365 days of the year.
- Minimal disruption to service for the customer.
- A real collaborative approach between first-line and second-line tier services, providing a seamless support service.