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Watts Water Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:WTS) is a world leader in the manufacture of innovative products to control the efficiency, safety and quality of water within residential, commercial and institutional applications. Headquartered in North Andover, Mass., Watts has annual sales of more than $1.2 billion, 5,900 employees and operates more than 70 facilities across North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
A corporate strategy of growth by acquisition enabled a rapid international expansion of Watts’ business, but also left it with a complex patchwork of enterprise resource planning (ERP), messaging and collaboration systems, supported by an assortment of IT teams with varied skill sets.
Watts had worked with Logicalis on a variety of server, storage and network projects since 2004 and was aware of Logicalis’ managed services offering, but its longstanding tradition of handling IT itself caused it to keep systems management in-house.
With demands from users increasing and his budget tightening, by 2008 Watts’ director of global IT shared services, Ty Muscat, decided it was time to call Logicalis account executive Jim Hennessey and give managed services from Logicalis another look.
That decision was the catalyst for a new dimension in the relationship between Watts and Logicalis and increasingly has shifted system management responsibilities to Logicalis and freed the Watts IT team to focus on core competencies that support and advance its business objectives.
In its first year as a managed services client, Watts was able to do more for less—logging a 10 percent return on investment (ROI). More importantly, the first year as a managed services client demonstrated the true potential of a partnership with Logicalis, which the two companies have been growing into ever since.
The following year, Watts added significantly to its managed services contract with Logicalis, including the dedication of a Logicalis solutions architect to help it begin the long process of consolidating and optimizing its global IT environment. Logicalis managed services expert Dan Pellegrini worked closely with Watts on the design of a flexible package of services tailored to Watts’ specific objectives.
For all the technology involved, Muscat says it has been the Logicalis people who have made the partnership with Watts so rewarding. "Normally when you look at outsourcing, you just become another customer to a large organization, and you never know who you are working with," Muscat says. "It’s different with Logicalis because you really do get to know all the people you are working with. And that’s important. That’s when everyone can actually start acting like a part of your team."
The ERP application at the heart of Watts’ business is QAD. Rolling out the newest version of QAD Enterprise Edition presented an opportunity to realize the vision of One Watts: a unified, centrally managed global IT environment that would extend QAD to Watts’ entire community of users and provide a single global messaging platform.
"Our goal is to have one single ERP for all of Watts," Muscat says. "It’s a Herculean task because we have so many different systems today."
A giant first step toward the One Watts goal is rolling out a standard infrastructure to support the deployment of QAD through Watts’ operations.
"I don’t think we would have been able to keep the project moving forward as well as we have without Logicalis," Muscat says. "We needed very quick turnarounds. We needed the project management experience they brought to the table. Logicalis also had the understanding of our existing environment and support structure, so they were able to build an infrastructure to support the project that fit right into our current structure."
Logicalis also uses the ServiceNow ITSM framework that enables Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices across the global infrastructure. Watts and Logicalis are also working together to consolidate the 14 messaging environments serving its users into a single unified global messaging platform that will provide email, instant messaging, SharePoint and other services.
Through the years Watts has worked with Logicalis, Muscat says, "Logicalis has consistently distinguished itself by its willingness to work with my team to develop a solution that adds value and fits our needs as a customer. Each project has been a joint effort that we implement together as a team and support as a team—with Logicalis taking on some responsibility and Watts taking on some responsibility. There is tremendous flexibility in the range of services Logicalis can offer."
Muscat says the quarterly reviews that are part of its managed services agreement with Logicalis have enriched the relationship and opened opportunities for expanding services. "The periodic reviews are very important for building that close working relationship we have developed over the years. During the reviews, we are able to meet and talk to the people who are actually managing our environment. Meeting face to face like that makes everything we’re doing real for everyone involved.
"Logicalis is really an extension of our IT department," Muscat adds. "It’s not a vendor/customer relationship. It’s a partnership. We’ve been growing closer together over the last couple of years. Right now it’s the best it’s ever been, and our users notice the benefits. Of course the users want more, as users always do. That’s where Logicalis comes in to help us implement that next great idea."
As an active member of Logicalis’ Managed Services Advisory Council, Muscat also contributes to Logicalis’ ongoing expansion and refinement of its managed services offerings.
"Being on the advisory committee has helped me understand where managed services is going," Muscat says. "I’ve also been able to provide input on Watts’ direction and where I want Logicalis to go to provide the services we need. Logicalis really wants to provide value, and they continue to develop and improve all the time. It has been a very good experience for both companies. We’re both learning and getting better at what we do."