Producing a pure, material advantage for leading companies in the semiconductor and computer science industries is no easy task, but that’s the core purpose of Entegris, a high-tech manufacturing company that develops materials for products like microchips. Delivering on a material advantage requires Entegris to be a technology innovator, and much of that expectation falls to the IT department which provides the foundational infrastructure to support 42+ global locations and manufacturing sites across the USA, Europe, and Asia. CIO Don Knutson leads the team.
When innovation spurred Entegris to initiate an aggressive merger and acquisitions strategy and shift more applications to the cloud, the existing network failed to uphold the new goals. Connectivity outages triggered a spike in service tickets. Latency was an issue too, as critical enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications hosted in the USA were not adequately serving teams in Asia and Europe. That’s when Knutson knew it was time to rethink his network. For the past 15+ years, Entegris had been relying on connectivity from a large, tier-1, legacy provider, so “making a switch was a big decision,” explained Knutson. “We had frequent outages and when we did, we didn’t feel like we were getting the attention that we deserved.”
Seamless global connectivity was among the most basic requirement, and Knutson wanted a strategic partner who could bolster company growth while also driving the agility and advancement of their network. “We’re in a growth industry and needed a partner that was willing to grow with us as we add new sites, being responsive and acting quickly but also making sure that we have high reliability and performance,” he said.
“I was a huge skeptic at first,” said Knutson, explaining that he had doubts because he had never heard of Masergy. “But I needed to come up to speed and understand what Masergy was all about. I got intimately involved in the interviews. I listened and asked the hard questions, and that’s how we ended up selecting Masergy.”
Entegris transitioned from its previous legacy network to Masergy’s fully managed, hybrid network platform with private and public connections that combine MPLS and SD-WAN capabilities. With redundancy built in, the solution now keeps production lines in operation via fault-tolerant connectivity for the entire global footprint. Masergy’s operations team continually monitors performance and bandwidth, with the ability for the Entegris IT team to make real-time adjustments as needed so Entegris’ offices and plants can conduct business 24×7.
With effective failover systems in place, higher network availability reduced the number of internal service tickets to zero during the first half of 2018, boosting IT productivity and reducing end user frustrations. “Outages were our number-one performance metric. With Masergy we have a dynamic network environment with multiple redundant architectures in place,” Knutson said, explaining how Masergy provides managed services and “owns any issues” when it comes to the performance of the network environment.
Today, Knutson views the IT infrastructure as a stable and secure platform for growth. He is able to support the company’s merger and acquisition strategy with rapid scalability and responsiveness. Time-to-connectivity has dramatically decreased, as the Masergy network and team of experts provides fast and reliable access to newly acquired locations—even in remote areas where long-haul communication presents additional challenges. Knutson now describes the revitalized network as a “reliable backbone” for delivering ERP information worldwide that ensures statistical process control and the smoothest plant operations.
Knutson draws correlations between a strong network and the company’s ability to streamline manufacturing processes, maximize profits, and gain technological headway. Furthermore, Entegris is better positioned to continue its digital transformation, migrating more applications to the cloud and standing ready to embrace innovative and emerging technologies. As Entegris requirements become more demanding, the network doesn’t falter. Masergy’s global network platform is flexible and growing with new technologies, “allowing Entegris to leverage it for new innovation and customization,” added Knutson.
The Masergy partnership is also helping Knutson address what he calls “the consumerization of IT” and the rising expectations of his department. “People have smartphones today and receive information and services instantly, so they expect that same speed in the workplace,” said Knutson. Managing those expectations is a key area of focus, and the network underpins its ability to deliver.
Managed network services and outsourced security models are “where the future is going,” Knutson said. As Entegris continues to partner with its customers in delivering ingenuity that keeps society moving forward, he understands that his IT environment must be built on the edge of innovation—as Entegris is a driving force in shaping future technological advancements.