IL&P phones BT for voice and data network upgrade

23 Nov 2006

Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) has signed a five-year deal with BT Ireland to upgrade and support its voice and data network to handle new customer relationship management and financial software across the group’s IT infrastructure.

BT was awarded the contract following an audit of IL&P’s IT systems and a competitive tender process. Under the terms of the deal, BT will provide voice telephony services, data networks including network support and network management services.

The data network will consist of wide area network (WAN) links across more than 200 of the group’s disparate sites. The major IL&P sites are to be linked using broadband local area network (LAN) Inter-connect (BLI), which provides a high-speed link between LANs. An important part of the project will involve ensuring high availability of Open24, the group’s Permanent tsb’s internet banking website.

BT Ireland will also be implementing MPLS technology across the WAN links to ensure optimal network performance between its four key sites — in Dublin, Cork, Dundalk and Blackrock — and its other sites around the country.

Gerry Ebbs, head of Group Procurement at the financial provider, commented: “A network upgrade such as this requires a high level of technical support to ensure a fast and reliable network and BT Ireland has demonstrated it can provide the level of support we require.”

Brendan Healy, IL&P’s group CIO, added: “Every system implemented within our organisation needs to have the resilience and flexibility required to support our business. BT was able to offer the best technical solution and combine it with a competitive price proposition.”

IL&P has significantly overhauled many of its IT systems over the past number of months, with various projects being announced. It implemented Citrix Presentation Server 4.0, a virtualisation system that provides users with secure access to client/server applications from anywhere using any device or connection. This also lets the bank’s IT personnel centrally deploy and manage line-of-business applications.

It also implemented a new storage management system from Sun as part of a long-term backup and disaster recovery strategy. This centralises the management of the financial provider’s backup operations, reduces its storage management costs and supports the company’s disaster recovery plans.

IL&P chose the system as it had been planning a group-wide consolidation and rationalisation of its technology and services infrastructure.

By Gordon Smith