A comprehensive, enterprise-level approach to disaster recovery planning leads to an innovative architecture design and greater ability to meet business needs.
Sargent and Lundy's systems all experienced reduced downtime and better performance, resulting in a fast return on their IT investment.

Sargent & Lundy has provided comprehensive consulting, engineering, design, and analysis for electric power generation and power delivery projects worldwide for more than 118 years. It has designed more than 900 power plants in the Americas, Asia, and the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region.

Ready to build a disaster recovery site.
Sargent & Lundy’s management team realized that its organization relied more and more on technology systems to deliver services to the firm’s clients. Operating without key applications such as e-mail, project management, computer aided design (CAD), and computer aided engineering (CAE) programs was no longer an option. Losing these systems could put a halt to operations, resulting in delivery delays and lost revenue.

Sargent & Lundy already had the first key element of a disaster recovery strategy in place: space. The company owned a facility that included data centergrade floor space not currently in use. The IT management team had plans to use this space as a disaster recovery site for business critical systems; however, implementation had not progressed beyond the planning stage. As Sargent & Lundy considered its alternatives for maintaining service during the worst of events, the space remained unused.

With the company’s IT staff busy ensuring system availability, supporting end users, and making upgrades to enable business operations, Sargent & Lundy needed a partner that could facilitate the process of designing and implementing a comprehensive disaster recovery solution—a partner that could understand its  environment and business needs. For assistance, the firm turned to West Monroe Partners.

Collaborating to deliver results.
Used to handing its initiatives internally, Sargent & Lundy had little prior experience with external IT partners. This effort, however, involved concepts and technologies that were new to the company’s IT environment. West Monroe Partners offered extensive experience with disaster recovery planning and technology strategies—skills and expertise that could help Sargent & Lundy achieve its business continuity goals.

Sargent and Lundy wanted to move quickly, as its management team realized the project would have a significant impact on its future plans. West Monroe Partners began its work by developing a comprehensive understanding of Sargent & Lundy’s operations, determining the IT components that were most important to operations, and evaluating current system implementation and configuration.

Defining the solution and the path ahead.
West Monroe Partners utilized a proven methodology to understand Sargent & Lundy’s requirements and to design a solution that fit the firm’s needs.

Project initiation.
To initiate the project, West Monroe Partners conducted a kick-off meeting with all key stakeholders. This provided an opportunity for the IT staff to meet the West Monroe Partners team and understand their own responsibilities for ensuring a successful project.

Requirements gathering.
West Monroe Partners identified and documented the firm’s business requirements—a necessary step in order to prioritize systems and technical requirements. Disaster recovery architectures can come in many varieties; the key is to build an approach that makes sense for the business. For example, an environment of “almost zero” down time is often achievable, but for some organizations it might not be necessary.

Disaster recovery architecture.
After identifying business and technology requirements, West Monroe Partners began to design the components for the disaster recovery site. The architecture had to account for all aspects of the infrastructure—from networks to hardware to software. During this phase, the project team researched various options including custom, internally developed solutions as well as vendor-provided alternatives.

Road map creation.
West Monroe Partners presented Sargent & Lundy with a comprehensive plan to implement the disaster recovery architecture. This plan was in the form of a road map that illustrated the order in which pieces of the architecture must be completed to achieve the desired solution. In addition, because each new system to be installed at the site had a defined disaster recovery architecture, this approach would enable Sargent &

Lundy to realize interim results of its multi-year project—within months of each stage of work.

Disaster recovery that fits.
Sargent & Lundy now has a clear plan that will enable it to keep employees productive and to serve its clients should the firm’s primary systems go offline. This plan places priority on critical business systems and gives the firm the architecture necessary to fully utilize what was dormant data center space. In addition:

  • The new architecture’s disaster recovery capabilities reduced the downtime for all systems, compared to the firm’s previous disaster recovery approach.
  • It utilizes new technology solutions that not only enable the disaster recovery plan but also improve performance across the enterprise network.
  • The disaster recovery architecture addressed critical systems (directory services and e-mail) that utilized technology already existing in the environment. This enabled Sargent & Lundy to realize a quick return on investment in the early phases of implementation.