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Case Study: Network Strategy and Procurement

AS Watson - Superdrug, The Perfume Shop, and Savers

AS Watson’s 1,500 stores in the UK are connected via a mix of xDSL and FTTC services.  Additionally, the 15 corporate office locations and various distribution centres across the UK and Ireland connected via MPLS, with centralised Internet breakout and security

The Client

Established in Hong Kong in 1841, A.S. Watson Group is the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer with 16,100 stores in 27 markets. Every year, over 5.9 billion customers and members shopped with their 12 retail brands in stores and online.

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The Chellenge

Like many retailers AS Watson’s 1,500 stores in the UK are connected via a mix of xDSL and FTTC services.  Additionally, the 15 corporate office locations and various distribution centres across the UK and Ireland connected via MPLS, with centralised Internet breakout and security.

 

As Watson are aware of the switch off by BT Openreach of the PSTN network in 2025 and they wished to review their network services and security across all locations.

The Project

The project was split into two phases, these were:

Phase 1 – Network and UC Strategy

To have a defined Unified Communications and Network strategy that will support the business over the next 5+ years.  This includes understating the business strategy and how services need to align to support the wider objectives. The strategy included a set of costed options, including pros and cons of each to achieve the objectives, and critically a step-by-step strategy to achieve the business goals and implement best practice.

 

Phase 2 – Procurement

This phase focused on Network Services and Telephony procurement.  This included:

  • Requirements Gathering – To gather requirements for Superdrug, Savers and The Perfume Shop based on both functional and non-functional needs.

  • Request for Proposal (RFP) - Creation of the RFP documents based on requirements identified with the business.

  • Procurement Process Management – Assistance with management of the RFP process including supplier questions and responses throughout.

  • Evaluation of Supplier Responses – Complete the evaluation of supplier RFP responses and make a recommendation to short-list to a final two-four suppliers.

  • Supplier Demonstrations – Facilitate and attend supplier presentation and demonstrations with all short-listed suppliers.

  • Commercial Negotiation – Assistance with the commercial negotiation in relation to the RFP responses.

  • Recommendation – Make a final recommendation on a preferred partner and reasons for selection.

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The Solution

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Soniza created a comprehensive Network Services strategy, which included:

  • Overall solution structure and architecture

  • Site Categorisation

  • Summary of High-Level Requirements

  • Summary of network affective business strategy objectives

  • Future modelling of network utilisation

  • Technology recommendations

  • A full budget for all recommendations

  • Return on investment

  • Effectiveness of strategy

  • Prioritisation of recommendations

  • Procurement strategy

Following the agreement on the strategy, Soniza ran a network procurement exercise which encompassed WAN, LAN and Wi-Fi. 

The procurement reviewed the market and enabled the client to deploy an SD-WAN solution across all sites, and secure edge connectivity.

 

The procurement not only delivered on the technical aspects but also include a cost saving over the lifetime of the contract. 

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