Think of a network that’s over a decade old, and the first words that come to mind probably aren’t “flexible” or “scalable.”
Yet when Jason James was hired by PRGX Global Inc. three years ago, those two qualities were at the top of his to-do list. On joining the Atlanta-based company as vice president of global IT infrastructure support and operations, James was assigned the task of finding a network solution that was, well, both flexible and scalable. The company’s then-current networks and infrastructure, he quickly discovered, were anything but.
“We’d been with one of our service providers for probably 14 years,” James says now. “We wanted solutions that made us a lot more flexible and scalable. But with the traditional providers we had, that really wasn’t an option.”
For PRGX, flexibility and scalability are both vital. The company is the world’s leading provider of accounts payable recovery audit services. Its customers — which include more than three quarters of the top 20 retailers — turn to PRGX for help recovering profits, buying smarter, and managing risk. PRGX, in turn, needs a global reach, with more than 1,400 employees serving clients in some 30 countries. Scalability is vital, too, because PRGX’s work involves massive data volumes that approach nearly 8 petabytes.
“Without the foundation of a strong, robust, flexible network, we don’t have anything,” James says. “We can’t get to our data. We can’t get to our clients. We can’t get to our other locations throughout the world.”
Bandwidth on Demand
So about a year ago, James brought in Masergy to manage his company’s global multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network. Masergy’s global network connects PRGX’s larger sites, both in the U.S. and elsewhere.
James wanted Masergy to give PRGX the ability to swap circuits with little to no business interruption; be very cost-effective; and be highly scalable, giving PRGX the ability to burst on demand. “As you can imagine,” James explains, “we consume quite a bit of data. That data fluctuates — the amount of gigs we get may vary from month to month. And in certain cases, we have very stringent deadlines.”
Despite these challenging requirements, Masergy’s work has gone smoothly. “Now we have the ability to burst on demand as needed,” James says. “That was never the case before.”
James and his team have also conducted several tests of the new Masergy setup, with rewarding results. “In a couple of our test-case scenarios, we’ve been able to increase demand bandwidth, getting data to specific sites of ours and then really drive the data back down,” he explains. “Had that been with the previous provider, it would have taken much longer for the data to actually reach its intended source or business unit.”
The new services have also has helped PRGX launch a big data analytics service for its recovery audit business. The company’s big data platform accelerates audits, moving them closer, or even prior, to payment dates. “We’ve been able to take distributed computing with Hadoop and actually process data significantly faster,” James says. “It’s been extremely impactful to the business.”
This work also earned PRGX a ranking spot on the 2015 InformationWeek Elite 100 list. To qualify, an organization must demonstrate a pattern of technological, procedural and organizational innovation, as judged by InformationWeek’s editors.
Live support is yet another benefit PRGX has gotten from working with Masergy. Unlike many competing service providers, Masergy offers 24x7 live support from a company technician. “The very few issues we’ve had, we’ve been able to get on the phone and talk to a qualified network engineer,” James says. “We didn’t get stuck in an internal queue of hell. That’s been extremely positive.”
James also gives high marks to the Masergy team for their project management and other implementation services. “The team has been very much on top of things,” he says.
For a company that prioritizes both flexibility and scalability, that’s welcome news.
This article was originally posted “Big Data analytics benefits from high-performance network” from Cloud Strategy Magazine.