There’s been a sea change in the quality of systems at a leading maritime services business after Cornerstone Business Solutions carried out a full-scale IT infrastructure installation.
But Middlesbrough-headquartered Casper Shipping continued to sail on calm waters with minimal disruption to their maritime business across 11 sites despite a challenge Cornerstone director Chris Bibby described as the firm’s “most challenging yet”.
Casper Shipping is just one of a string of happy new customers won by Cornerstone, along with Teesside charities The Hope Foundation and Daisy Chain, while Teesside International Airport manager Shaun Woods has praised the firm’s customer service as “second to none”.
Cornerstone’s long-term client list includes Middlesbrough Football Club, Camerons Brewery, Heck Foods and many more across the region.
The Stockton-based firm installed an entire new IT infrastructure over a weekend for Casper, who employ a team of 55 including 25 at its Dockside Road head office on the River Tees.
With further sites across a total of six divisions in Tyneside, Grangemouth, Immingham, Hull, Merseyside, Plymouth, Swansea, Southampton and on the Thames, Casper described themselves as “happy customers” following successful completion of the complicated installation.
Explaining the challenge, Casper Shipping director Alan Appleyard said: “As we grow Casper Shipping’s brand and presence in the UK, we need a proactive IT supplier, providing outstanding service levels, a first class network and efficiency excellence.
“IT isn’t our thing. We look after ships. So when it comes to our technology, we rely on our IT supplier as an external consultant to guide us and push us in the right direction.”
Casper wanted to improve network stability and speed and focus on cyber security and fraud prevention to ensure they had a system in place fit for the 2020s, but they had pondered the big change for some time.
“We had concerns about switching suppliers and changing our long-established IT network,” explained Alan. “It’s not as easy as turning it off and back on again, we couldn’t risk any downtime.
“As a shipping company, we work 24/7 every day of the year. Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, it doesn’t matter, shipping doesn’t stop and, as our company tagline of ‘Always on’ suggests, we literally don’t stop. So we needed that continuity of service, we had to be able to send and receive emails, with minimal downtime.
“We knew that wouldn’t be easy, so I wasn’t looking forward to it but it went incredibly well. It was all pre-planned and mapped out in advance and in great detail by Cornerstone. The transition happened with minimal fuss and disruption. I was relieved and I doubt very much our clients even noticed.
“I’ve got nothing but praise for Cornerstone. They managed the entire project and implementation. Onboarding took them the whole weekend and they worked incredibly hard but it was done, on time and on budget.
“We are a happy customer indeed.”
Chris Bibby described the project as a perfect case study for what Cornerstone is capable of but admitted it wasn’t all plain sailing.
“Casper had been with their previous supplier for decades so it was a big decision for them to switch to Cornerstone,” he said. “They were having speed and performance issues across the business so they knew it was time to change but they were understandably nervous about the implications.
“It was a complicated set-up, with a combination of embedded on-premises, hosted and cloud-based solutions across six different businesses within Casper Shipping.
“We knew it was imperative that they were back up in time for first thing Monday morning and this was achieved.
“Our lead engineer Mike Igo was absolutely awesome throughout and deserves real praise.
“It was probably our best possible case study and certainly one of our most challenging installations, considering the challenges. The client was happy and we were chuffed to bits.”
For more details about Cornerstone, visit cornerstonebs.co.uk.