Whitbread unifies its businesses' networks

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The former brewery, whose businesses include TGI Fridays, Travel Inn and Costa Coffee, has outsourced the work to Fujitsu Services in a five-year, multimillion-pound agreement. The supplier will build and manage the network and take control of all of Whitbread's voice and data services. The outsourcing agreement includes the management of network links, from ISDN to Megastream Ethernet, to more than 1,100 locations in the UK. Derek Risk, Whitbread's director of group systems, said an important aspect of the agreement was Fujitsu's guaranteed savings profile, which he said offered Whitbread "built-in decreases over five years and fixed annual pricing that allows our brands budgeting certainty". The consolidation is expected to save Whitbread 20% a year on the cost of running the previous network infrastructure. In the past, each business operated by Whitbread ran its own network. Kenny King, IT procurement manager at Whitbread, said, "Now we will have one shared network across all our businesses." By the end of 2005, the network will be handling the company's voice traffic using voice over IP, replacing the existing SMDS (Switched Multimegabit Data Service) and telephone networks. Whitbread will use Fujitsu's MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) core data network - a design that aims to maintain quality of service on the network by preventing different pieces of network traffic from interfering with one another. Whitbread is consolidating the separate networks used by its various businesses into a single, group-wide infrastructure.

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