Brighthouse is the UK’s leading rent-to-own retail chain, providing quality, branded household goods to thousands of customers across the country on a weekly payment basis. The company employs over 3,100 employees and runs a retail chain of almost 300 stores. They serve millions of lower income families frozen out of the mainstream credit market with innovative use of retail technology. Through Brighthouse, customers are able to buy essentials that many people take for granted, such as washing machines and TVs.
Business critical retail technology
With an increase in demand for goods bought on this basis, Brighthouse has been on a rapid expansion path and continues to undergo significant business change. To enable the company to cope with growth on this scale, Dean Robinson, Head of IT Infrastructure for Brighthouse recognised that the organisation would require help in maintaining its 10,000 pieces of retail technology hardware that formed the backbone of its operations across the UK.
The other key issue facing Brighthouse was the need to move the company across to a more predictable cost model, ensuring value for money. Dean comments:
“We had the right retail technology systems in place, but in order to stay ahead of the game, we needed to innovate and get the maximum performance from our assets. It is also critical that our sales systems operate at 100% to provide the best service to our customers. Any downtime suffered could have a very negative impact. So we made the decision to put CCE’s maintenance of our hardware at the heart of our business operations.”
This was not an easy task for the lean team based at Brighthouse’s head office in Watford. As a well-run and carefully managed company where everyone, from the shop-floor to the boardroom, takes great pride in providing top quality products and outstanding service to more than 275,000 customers, a ‘divide and conquer’ approach had to be adopted.
Vendor neutral hardware support
As a well-established independent IT consultancy with national coverage CCE was an obvious choice to support Brighthouse. Dean was managing the infrastructure of over 10,000 pieces of equipment across its retail and supply chain network, including some bespoke hardware elements. This is something he knew would pose a challenge to some of the more vendor-specific IT services companies he turned to.
“Many of the companies we considered during the supplier selection process were too vendor-centric. We have invested a great deal of money in our systems and wanted an unbiased opinion on what Brighthouse needed next, and in the future, to stay ahead of the competition. Not only that, but some of our equipment is bespoke and has been designed exclusively for our needs. It’s not easy to find a partner as cooperative as CCE, enabling us to grow and accommodate our legacy systems.”
Since its appointment in 2009, CCE continues to impress Brighthouse with its deep understanding of business priorities, rapid response times and ability to answer to its diverse needs. CCE provides the retail chain with a flexible, cost-effective and guaranteed approach enabling it to devote its time to providing customer focused service.
No matter where the issue exists, Dean said that CCE has demonstrated a commitment to Brighthouse which goes beyond the confines of the Service Level Agreement.
CCE has also now been entrusted to manage and maintain the entire bank of servers at the Brighthouse Data Centres. The close working relationship built on trust and results has meant that CCE is treated more as a partner than as vendor by Brighthouse. By outsourcing business critical operations to CCE, the company has been given the essential bandwidth necessary to retain its competitive edge and provide a solid IT infrastructure for future growth.