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Shawston International Ltd

Client Profile

Customer Shawston International Limited
Location United Kingdom
Staff 120 Employees
Solution IT Infrastructure Support

Shawston International Limited is one of the UK’s largest privately owned distributors of steel tubes, fittings, valves and pipe supports for mechanical engineering applications and fire protection systems, with close to 50 years’ experience. Its products are used in the construction of hotels, schools, homes and public works across the country. Crossrail is just one major project to which it supplies

A critical need for joined-up support

A critical need for joined-up support

From the company’s headquarters in Hyde, Cheshire, Shawston’s Managing Director Mark Dyer explains, “With continued expansion, we required a provider with the size, scale and expertise to support the extensive IT infrastructure on which the smooth-running of our business depends. Our customers work to tight timescales: an order placed at 16.00 might be needed on site in London by 9.00 the next morning.”

This was the driver for upscaling the level of support on the company’s IT infrastructure. Sage Platinum Reseller Pinnacle had been providing support on Shawston’s Sage 200 system since 2011, but until a couple of years ago an alternative IT maintenance consultancy had been looking after the hardware side.

A major business decision

A major business decision

Mark recalls the lightbulb moment when Pinnacle introduced its IT Support Division: “Given the complexity of today’s IT estates, there were clear advantages to bringing support for all aspects of our IT infrastructure, not just Sage 200, but our servers, networks, third-party software… under one roof, with a single point of accountability. We were looking for help not just to keep our IT ticking over but to develop an infrastructure that would add value to our business.”

With Pinnacle having a local presence across the UK and Ireland, its organisation aligned with Shawston’s own expanding network of distribution centres and sales offices

Disaster averted

Mark’s growing confidence in Pinnacle has proved well-founded. Today, the smooth flow of business data means that staff can quickly access key information, which accelerates business processes, notably across the sales cycle.

Mark highlights one potentially catastrophic incident that demonstrates Pinnacle’s ability to stop an issue turning into a crisis: “When a failure in a junction box affected the network, Pinnacle was able to recover our data on the duplicate server it had installed in our High Wycombe office. Without this built-in safeguard, we would have lost a week’s sales; that’s equivalent to £300,000.”

A one-stop shop for support

A one-stop shop for support

Shawston is about to bring its Sage CRM (customer relationship management) system under Pinnacle’s wing, but importantly, support goes beyond the Sage portfolio to cover products ranging from third-party document management and credit control software by Draycir to anti-virus software by Sophos.

Mark cites Microsoft Office as a good example of Pinnacle’s added value: “Pinnacle brought us into the 21st century by migrating day-to-day Office tools over to the Office 365 cloud service. Automatic updates in the cloud keep all our users ‘on the same page’, so no time is wasted on software updates or compatibility issues within the sales cycle.”

New users can simply be added in the cloud, so Shawston has no need to buy a new software package every time a new member of staff comes on board.

The Pinnacle team are also a source of desktop support for everyday user problems and can supply new hardware, such as laptops, when required.

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