Hamleys, one of the world’s best known toy retailers, has been providing services to global customers for more than 250 years – surviving two world wars and endless business transitions and transformations. Hamleys’ London flagship store is considered one of the city’s major tourist attractions and is the world’s largest toy store, covering 54,000 square feet over seven floors. The chain also has other outlets in the UK and worldwide.
When Sunny Sandhu, IT Infrastructure & Support Manager, joined Hamleys in 2008, he discovered that Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold had been previously purchased but wasn’t being used. As an experienced IT manager, Sunny knew that it was essential to have a robust network management solution in place. “An IT team can’t afford to be reactive,” comments Sunny. “We must have a proactive monitoring tool in order to be responsive, know what is going on all the time and where the point of failure is - whether it’s an outage or whether a server, PBX switch, or a call switch is down.”
When Sunny started to use WhatsUp Gold, he was surprised at the ease-of-use and the scalability of the product. Comments Sunny, “I was able to easily configure the scalability pollers, design our own maps, and differentiate different types of policies for different machines – all using the one console with no coding. WhatsUp Gold is really a universal platform that allows me to monitor multiple vendors across multiple platforms.”
Sunny had worked with many network management solutions in the past, most of which were developed for larger enterprises with larger corporate networks and budgets. Says Sunny, “Since we have a smaller IT team here at Hamleys, WhatsUp Gold fits our environment and our budget.”
At Hamleys, the IT team is stretched with multiple core duties so it is important to have one central place to see the status of every device on the network and get real-time alerts to proactively and quickly resolve performance problems. “With WhatsUp Gold, we keep track of everything from one unified dashboard,” comments Sunny. To make sure the entire IT team has access to this information, Sunny put the WhatsUp Gold dashboard on the central screen of their wall of monitors, allowing them to monitor over a dozen sites across the UK. While other screens have shared resources, WhatsUp Gold has its own screen.
Prior to using WhatsUp Gold, IT was getting calls on a regular basis from business users saying they were being dropped off the network but the users couldn’t provide IT with any particulars. With WhatsUp Gold, IT is now able to quickly resolve these types of intermittent performance problems. Now, IT can perform trend analysis by reporting on historical performance metrics over a period of time
(e.g., one month). IT then correlates performance metrics to the dates and time when a user gets dropped from the network to identify the source of the intermittent problems. IT can then shape the outcome to successfully resolve the problem and prevent future occurrences.
Another advantage of WhatsUp Gold is that it helps Hamleys’ IT department deliver quality service to their business users despite their size and the fact that most of their team members are generalists. With a small team, Sunny can’t hire experts across every discipline. WhatsUp Gold has made his team proactive in addressing and solving problems quickly, and he believes that his team’s quality of service is on par with, if not better than larger, more specialised teams he has managed.
“WhatsUp Gold is a solid performer and simple product to use,” says Sunny. “At Hamleys, we don’t normally do case studies like this but WhatsUp Gold deserves credit – it does everything it says it does on the box.”