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Applica Partners with Auxis to Improve IT Operations and Reduce Costs

Apr 11, 2016 6:04:00 AM / by Marc Meyer

Marc Meyer

Client

Applica Consumer Products, Inc. (acquired by Spectrum Brands in 2014) is a diversified marketer and distributor of small kitchen appliances and personal care products for use in and outside the home. Applica markets products under licensed brand names such as Black & Decker®, and company-owned brand names such as Applica®, Windmere®, Littermaid® and Belson®.

Business Challenge

Faced with competitive pressure, retailer consolidations and margin degradation, the executive team was struggling with a poorly performing IT department that was impacting the overall performance, profitability and growth of the organization. The business was suffering from periodic IT related business interruptions, escalating IT costs and poor results on IT related projects. IT operations were performing under a high risk environment with no disaster recovery site and poor documentation.

Solution

The Applica executive team partnered with Auxis to design and implement a new Hybrid Shared Services Operating Model for IT. The key objectives were to have an IT function that could deliver more value to the organization while also being more efficient, agile and scalable.

The new operating model required a complete strategic rethinking of the role of IT, what services it needed to provide to the organization and how those services could be best delivered. Business Analytics and ERP expertise in the new Oracle system were identified as the core competencies that Applica needed to build and maintain internally. All other IT functions, for example data center management, network management, IT operations, help desk, etc., were considered non-core and best delivered through an outsourced services model.

The new Hybrid Shared Services Model would enable the internal IT department to increase their focus on building capabilities in higher-value, business enabling activities while ensuring that critical, but routine IT Operational processes were handled in a highly efficient and structured manner.

Auxis implemented a new standard operating model based on a combination of ITIL and Cobit standards. The scope of the model included Incident, Request, Change, Problem, Release, Configuration, Capacity, Availability, Performance, Disaster Recovery and Service Level Management processes. Another key component of the new operating model was the development and implementation of a comprehensive catalog of IT Services with clearly defined standards of performance.

A significant amount of automation was introduced by Auxis to support the new operating model. A Tier 1 system management tool was implemented to support the new IT processes and operations. In addition, a robust IT reporting platform was deployed to provide in-depth visibility and correlation analysis into IT operations performance and cost drivers. The new reporting provided senior management with clear visibility into IT drivers and a more rational and quantitative basis for making investment and staffing decisions.

SCOPE OF SERVICES

Outsourced IT Operations Management (24x7) and end-user support including:

  • 650+ managed devices
  • 24x7 Operation
  • Private national and international network with over 10 locations
  • 2 state-of-the-art data centers
  • Telecommunications (VoIP) for North America
  • 24x7 service desk, server and network management & security, desk-side technical support, storage and data management, asset management

Results

  • Achieved 40% reduction in IT infrastructure-related operating costs over a 4-year timeframe even as company doubled in size

  • Delivered 95% performance against contracted service levels over a 6-year time horizon

  • Seamless integration of $540M acquisition within 4 months of acquisition closing date

  • Achieved Sarbanes-Oxley compliance

  • Withstood several major hurricanes and corporate office relocations without any interruption in operations