• Paul Fingleton

Smyths Toys and Fastcom play well and save 50% on unplanned IT costs

Smyths Toys, one of Ireland best known brands, has signed a three year €150,000 deal with Fastcom to provide a complete network management solution that is expected to save €50,000 on unexpected maintenance costs and callouts.

IT problems can be a serious business, especially in the fast moving retail sector. Smyths Toys disocovered this when its IP address had been blacklisted, leaving staff unable to send emails. After two days of unsuccessful attempts to find the root of the problem, IT Network and Infrastructure Manager, Seamus Hogan, contacted Fastcom. Within the space of a few hours, Fastcom had located the issue: a spamming PC without anti-virus.

Seamus Hogan says: “A large part of our business is over email and we were unable to send emails for a period of about four to five days. Year-round, we communicate with buyers in Germany and China to buy for Christmas, so we can’t afford to be down for any period of time. “Before partnering with Fastcom, we didn’t have any visibility or control of the network; it just wasn’t there. Fastcom allows us to connect the dots all the way through: they are our network protectors. Very quickly we can see where a specific problem impacts, how it impacts and how it connects.

The Fastcom solution gives the IT Department in Smyths a complete view of their entire network, almost 5,000 connected devices spread over 86 stores across Ireland and the UK. It also allows its IT department to locate problems down to the very device they are coming from. Smyths has found that simple but detrimental faults, such as a device that was mistakenly unplugged, can now be detected remotely within seconds – without requiring anyone to go on-site. Such a solution is unique in the Irish market and could revolutionise the way IT departments of multi-site businesses operate.

“Trade is highly reliant on LAN & WAN connectivity; credit, gift and loyalty card transactions – they all rely heavily on network availability. On a busy day, a small outage can have significant impact.", Hogan continued, "Now, if something is down in the store, we’re able to use the Auditor Core to very quickly troubleshoot where the problem is and hone in on that. The days of guessing, speculating and wasting valuable time is gone. The real time information presented to us enables us to either prevent problems from happening in the first place or help find the solution. As a result the whole network is in a much better place than it was. We’re getting control of our network again.”

Founded in 2004, Fastcom’s software allows businesses to view their entire network and connected devices from one location. Real-time analysis and alerts allow businesses to have complete confidence in, and understanding of, their network – ensuring fast diagnosis and improved security. Threats are detected before they can cause any harm, while the time wasted searching for even the most basic issue is significantly reduced.

Ross Palmer, Managing Director, Fastcom, says: “IT departments are attempting the impossible. They want complete control of their networks, yet they don’t have the resources. Instead, they find themselves wasting time and money on trying to find the root cause of basic problems while their expertise could be utilised elsewhere. Through Fastcom, they can get a complete and detailed view of their entire network from one location; cutting costs and time. “Smyths Toys is known and loved across Ireland and the UK and it is important to them that they retain their positive image amongst both suppliers and customers. We have seen how security breaches and IT outages can have a disastrous effect on a company’s good name, so we work closely with Smyths on a daily basis and alert them to any unusual activity on the network. The IT department can then quickly diagnose problems before they become an issue. For any company to be able to stand over its network with such confidence is invaluable.”

source: Fastcom, Smyths