Cloud helps ambitious British businesses reach new heights

Cooker manufacturer, AGA Rangemaster, has teamed up with Star to provide cutting edge on-demand computing. Star delivers and manages AGA’s underlying IT infrastructure to help bring the different business units which include Falcon and Rayburn closer together. Not only have they improved IT performance, but AGA’s head of IT, Imran Hassan, notes that costs have reduced by as much as 40%, while network speeds have increased 20-fold. The consequence has been a vast increase in service availability and performance, as well as a significant reduction in costs, helping his team to concentrate on more strategic matters.

Matt Leighton, head of manufacturing services at Star, explains such transformations are nothing new, “Businesses cannot achieve any of their objectives these days without the underlying technology to support their people and processes. But owning and operating all of the systems themselves can be a needless and expensive distraction, as technology becomes more complex and specialist skills become harder to source and hire. By moving to cloud services, you free up a lot of management time and capital expense, all of which can be focused more strategically in growing the business.”

Star is playing a pivotal role in helping to unlock the full potential of those medium sized British businesses that the CBI has recently described as our ‘Future Champions’. These companies make a tremendous contribution to the UK’s economy, comprising just 1% of firms, yet accounting for 22% of economic revenue, and 16% of total employment.

According to the CBI, “the contribution made by medium sized businesses to the British economy has been overlooked and misunderstood by government and the City. But if the UK could only create the conditions which have allowed medium sized businesses to flourish in other countries, this would enable our own mid-market to play a vital role in transforming UK economic growth over the next ten years, contributing as much as £50 billion to the economy by 2020, and creating job opportunities all over the UK.” Clearly, then, the opportunity to unlock scarce management time and capital expenditure ought to be a welcome opportunity for these British medium-sized manufacturers to realise their ambitions for growth, and compete more effectively in global markets.

And yet, many of these companies are often ill-served by the mainstream IT industry, which see them as too small to really spend enough time to understand them and their challenges in a meaningful way. Without that understanding, serving them becomes difficult, which is why like minded companies of a similar size and culture tend to work better together.

As AGA Rangemaster found, moving to the Cloud helps a business be more flexible and innovative and creates the opportunity to try new ideas in a safe and risk free way. Welcome to the new way of accessing innovation and ideas without risking big but being able to scale up quickly without making large capital investments when the concept has been validated.

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