Remote hands & Shipping Case Study for Digicert

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Introduction

Digicert is a CA (Certificate Authority) provider that provides services in multiple global markets, like Switzerland, Japan, Australia, South Africa and more. 

As Digicert’s global presence continues to grow, even more demand is placed on their engineers and networking teams. With their limited resources, they have to not only do their full time job of engineering, they have to juggle internal and external parties before they can start their job. They’re responsible for buying the hardware, getting it where it needs to go, and in the past, having to fly to the international site to do installation. During the COVID pandemic, this has made it harder for them to do their jobs with disjointed supply-chain issues and health risks.

Problem

In the peak of the COVID pandemic, Digicert needed to get additional networking into their pre-existing DC environment in Switzerland to support their operations. The local VARs in Switzerland didn’t have any supply and lead times were months out but Digicert needed the hardware there ASAP. 

They also needed to get the equipment installed and didn’t want to use the datacenter’s remote hands because they had a poor experience with them in the past.

“We have a smaller team, we don’t have the resources to send things out. It’s not a matter of cost, it’s a matter of time. Especially during the pandemic it would almost be impossible for us to fly into Switzerland, yet it was still a need for our business to increase our profits in that part of the world.”

(Network Engineer)

Solution & Execution

  • FGX worked with Digicert’s US-based VAR to procure the hardware in the states 6 weeks quicker than what the VAR in Switzerland could provide (and cheaper at that).
  • FGX prepared all shipment paperwork in advance so we could ship out as soon as everything arrived.
  • FGX ensured that Digicert would be able to reclaim the import VAT paid.
  • FGX worked with Digicert in order to create a scope of work and work plan for the installation.

Result

After the gear arrived at FGX’s facility, FGX shipped everything to the Switzerland datacenter, had it meet FGX’s local resources, and installed it per the work plan. The busy Digicert team cut down their lead time by using the FGX platform to manage logistics and power-on.

We asked Digicert a few questions after the project wrapped up.

Q1: What about the FGX product was most valuable to you?

“We’ve gone through many methods of getting equipment somewhere or using someone as a shipper and remote hands solution and unfortunately, it’s either very specific in which regions they support or their shipping methods are limited. FGX has been very helpful getting it where we need it to in a reasonable amount of time, knowing the hoops to run through and ultimately, with the remote hands, the capability helped us achieve what we needed to do.

(Network Engineer)

“Being able to have a partner that we can reach out to and be a single source of ‘hey we need this on the ground in this place’ and having that partnership is important to Digicert for all of the reasons I stated.”

(Network Engineer)

Q2: What role did FGX play in Digicert’s pandemic management playbook?

“With the pandemic, it complicates things for us, especially when we talk about other regions of the world that we would have to fly out ourselves to manage installation. With FGX, we’re able to stage, configure, and install everything remotely. To be honest with you, most of our team, if not all of our team, isn’t used to working this way—it’s a change of mindset and we have to learn to appreciate what FGX has done for us in Switzerland.”

(Network Engineer)

Q3: What would you do if you hadn’t found FGX?

“We would have to work through local VARs to help us, but with FGX, we have one place for all of these entities. We would also have to use the remote hands at the datacenter, and that usually doesn’t go well. FGX does the hard stuff for us so we can use our resources to engineer and maintain other things and other projects that we’re working on.”

(Network Engineer)

Conclusion

Digicert’s networking team and engineers are similar to many teams around the world that have to do a lot with a little. In this case study, FGX was able to be a force multiplier by taking away a lot of the task management work that Digicert normally would have to do. This included working with the VAR partner for managing inbound inventory, delivering everything without end-user involvement, and providing remote-hands installation. FGX made sure to execute to project the way they needed it done, by their deadline, while giving them all of the necessary updates.

Ultimately, the Digicert team had more time to focus on what they really needed to do and could allocate more of their resources to tasks that needed their expertise and attention.