Teknion leverages SD-WAN to become an IoT disruptor

“We were looking for a network without borders and we found exactly that with Masergy!”

John Comacchio
Senior Vice President and CIO at Teknion

How Teknion has become a disruptive and dominating force in the office furniture industry is a story of transformation that starts with CIO, John Comacchio. As a former principal at KPMG, Comacchio is no stranger to building a culture around innovation. Making waves at Teknion, he enacted cloud and IoT strategies that are leading the company in a new era of analytics-based business models and offerings. But to understand how Teknion got to this point is to journey into Teknion’s IT infrastructure.

In 2006, Teknion launched a company-wide initiative to bring all global offices closer together. Designed to bulldoze roadblocks worldwide, the OneTeknion initiative aimed to unite all global operations. The first priority was to leverage a suite of global business applications and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to build a backbone for integration and innovation. The only problem: the company’s existing network. Comacchio soon learned that Teknion’s IT infrastructure couldn’t support global application delivery for 30 locations worldwide. It’s here that Masergy enters the story.

Recognized results

  • Increased application performance/user experience
  • Streamlined cloud migration/digital transformation
  • Increased network reliability/efficiency
  • Simplified IT complexity

“Prior to Masergy, we had great difficulty managing multiple network providers, frequent network outages, and communication infrastructure gaps,” explained Comacchio. So, he went in search of a global networking partner that could reinvigorate the company’s IT infrastructure and help him lay a foundation for digital transformation. His dream: globally consistent and high-quality connectivity from a partner who provided a single platform with simplified billing, clear pricing, and easy to understand SLAs. But more than a wishlist, Comacchio described his desire as a need to deliver a “single source of truth” for worldwide reliable connectivity from a central location.

After evaluating legacy, Tier-1 and next-generation providers, Comacchio selected Masergy to establish a software-defined networking strategy. He leveraged Masergy’s Managed SD-WAN to deliver a combination of private links for guaranteed service (including 100 percent in-sequence packet delivery, jitter values of less than 1ms) and application reliability key locations while strategically leveraging lower-cost broadband connectivity for a secure external portal serving its global customers, partners, and vendors. Better still, Comacchio and his team made OneTeknion possible without significantly increasing costs.

“What Masergy gave us was one single reliable delivery network. All of our sites are interconnected through the Masergy network, which is a reliable connection and a single point of delivery. It’s just there for us all the time,” he said.

Solution: stop worrying about the WAN and focus on innovation

Empowered to drive innovation, Comacchio could now stop worrying about running the WAN and focus on the next chapter in Teknion’s digital evolution—cloud migration. Again, Teknion’s network laid the groundwork. The new agile IT infrastructure paved Comacchio’s way to the cloud, effectively maintaining a high-quality user experience even as more and more systems transitioned to software as a service. Accelerating the migration, Comacchio reports Teknion’s cloud strategy is mature today. All applicable systems have migrated to the cloud, and the cloud-first approach applies only as needed when new capabilities are added. Now, his team can focus on strategic revenue-generating activities rather than IT maintenance.

More confident than ever in his network infrastructure, Comacchio found that he could again lift his sights to the horizon, this time reaching for a larger digital innovation goal—enabling IoT. He knew this next move would be instrumental in driving strategic differentiators to leapfrog the competition, and indeed, what the company is achieving today is truly disruptive.

Result: enabling IoT and developing new analytics-based digital services

Teknion’s manufacturing process generates massive amounts of data alongside fresh office decor, and with that data comes immense potential. Again, turning opportunity into innovation starts with Comacchio and the network.

Operating with an agile network, Teknion’s IT department responsively manages bandwidth, dynamically assigning resources and power right where IoT initiatives need it. Global plants collect massive amounts of data from manufacturing machines, analyze it, and create dashboards to help managers make informed decisions about machine repairs and usage. Moreover, Comacchio leverages the Masergy software-defined network to create an unlimited number of virtual private network environments where R&D and manufacturing facilities can safely test and prove the latest technologies and ideas. Quickening its speed-to-delivery, this is Teknion’s innovation incubator.

Backed by network agility, Teknion becomes a co-creator with its clients, custom designing solutions aligned with unique business needs. For example, Teknion is exploring IoT office occupancy sensors and creating big-data services that help clients maximize productivity. It’s also responding to large customer requests for B2B ecommerce platforms, experimenting with cloud solutions and today’s open API economy. When you combine network flexibility with the fact that Teknion still makes what they sell, their secret to market domination becomes clear: Teknion can deeply control every step in both the IT and manufacturing process. This is what allows it to adapt, adjust, re-tool, and build fresh solutions on the edge of digital innovation. This is what enables Teknion to be a creative collaborator operating at the speed of next.

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