To keep pace with growing business, Hansgrohe was looking to expand its network capacity and turned to longstanding partner, GTT, to provide a Managed SD‑WAN solution. The aim was to fully embrace the capabilities of the cloud while also expanding its network capabilities to support business-to-consumer communication along with business-to-business activities. Matthias Goetz, Head of Infrastructure and Operations at Hansgrohe SE, discusses the benefits of the project in more detail.
GTT’s managed Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD‑WAN) services deliver secure and fast worldwide connectivity to Hansgrohe, a global provider of high-quality kitchen and bathroom fixtures based in Schiltach, Germany. GTT’s SD‑WAN service is improving efficiency and performance for Hansgrohe by prioritising the most critical network traffic and supporting its move to hybrid working.
With its brands, AXOR and Hansgrohe, the Hansgrohe group enjoys a reputation as a leader in innovation, design and quality within the bath and kitchen industry. Founded in 1901 in the Black Forest, the company gives water form and function with its faucets, showerheads and shower systems. The group’s high-quality standards are ensured by seven wholly-owned production facilities: four in Germany and one each in France, the US and China. In 2021, the Hansgrohe Group generated a turnover of €1.365 billion. It employs around 5,400 people worldwide, about 60% of whom work in Germany.
Its mission is to provide a social benefit for all people around the world. “Water is life and our passion,” said Matthias Goetz, Head of Infrastructure and Operations at Hansgrohe. “Our designs produce fixtures that are functional, beautiful and eco-friendly. That is our work and why we exist.”
In 2017, GTT delivered one of Europe’s first-wave SD‑WAN deployments for Hansgrohe. Through collaboration and a strong partnership, the companies have been able to achieve continuous improvement in network performance and efficiency.
Hansgrohe extended its work with GTT early in 2021 to upgrade and streamline the network in support of the company’s Digital Transformation initiatives. Its objective was to embrace the capabilities of the cloud fully and securely while also expanding its network capacity to support business-to-consumer communication along with business-to-business activities.
Managed SD‑WAN to unite a global enterprise
In addition to its headquarters in Germany, Hansgrohe operates seven manufacturing sites worldwide with 34 subsidiaries. It has a total of 40 locations connected via SD‑WAN across Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas. To maintain its stature as the world’s leading provider of bathroom and kitchen fixtures, Hansgrohe analyses massive amounts of data to monitor consumer trends, supply chain information and administrative operations.
Recognising that its previous technology configuration could not keep pace with its growing business, Hansgrohe turned to longstanding partner, GTT, to provide a Managed SD‑WAN solution to transform the company’s network for future business growth. The service instantly accommodated the company’s growing need for bandwidth and faster access to data. The ability of the service to prioritise the network traffic ensures that Hansgrohe’s employees around the world have immediate, reliable and secure access to the information and applications they need, whether working remotely, in the office or on the road.
The GTT Managed SD‑WAN solution enables seamless global communication and has accelerated the modernisation of legacy hardware, providing access to data lakes that support the development of new products and give employees the ability to obtain deeper insight into customer trends. By increasing access to data, Hansgrohe has boosted collaboration and encouraged the creation of cross-functional teams.
To enable its network transformation, Hansgrohe migrated from MPLS to an Internet-based underlay, leveraging GTT’s global Tier 1 IP network to provide greater network assurance, flexibility and speed. GTT Managed SD‑WAN was selected to automate the operation and management of Hansgrohe’s global network, improving visibility and control of the network and increasing efficiency and reliability.
Secure connectivity around the globe
The GTT Managed SD‑WAN solution also supported the company’s move to Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint and Teams. These cloud‑based tools proved even more valuable as Hansgrohe migrated to a remote work model following the emergence of COVID-19. Hansgrohe completed its migration shortly before the pandemic struck, allowing the company to quickly adjust to the realities of the new remote work era.
The GTT solution provides safe and secure connectivity with enhanced end-to-end encryption and the ability to allow remote sites to connect directly to the company’s secure Microsoft Office 365 cloud, and to redirect traffic, when necessary, through a secure gateway when users attempt to access less trusted destinations on the global Internet.
“As an early adopter of SD‑WAN starting in 2017, we have learned a lot,” said Goetz. “We saw the move to cloud coming and the need for more bandwidth and performance to handle all the data supporting the growth of our business. Now, the GTT Managed SD‑WAN gives us the additional flexibility and bandwidth we need and the ability to prioritise our most critical communication over other less critical connections to ensure our people can collaborate efficiently.”
As a result of the efficiencies achieved so far, the company is looking at moving even more of its applications into the cloud.
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, GTT transitioned Hansgrohe to its new Managed SD‑WAN on time and with no technical issues, downtime or outages.
The connected future
Hansgrohe is continuing to evaluate which additional applications and services to move to the cloud in the future – with an eye towards migrating a high percentage of its applications to the cloud within the next two years with GTT’s continued support. Hansgrohe is also planning the expansion of its SD‑WAN to its new facility in Serbia.
Matthias Goetz, Head of Infrastructure and Operations at Hansgrohe SE, discusses the collaboration in depth.
How does GTT enable you to remain a leader in innovation, design and quality within the bath and kitchen industry?
Our company designs bathroom and kitchen fixtures that are functional, beautiful and eco-friendly. Our GTT Managed SD‑WAN solution enables seamless global communication and has accelerated our path to modernising legacy hardware and supported our move to Microsoft Office 365 and Teams.
As an example, our global network has been able to support us as we create and connect data lakes that help us with the development of new products and offer our employees much deeper insight into customer trends. Better, more reliable connectivity to support our adoption of cloud-based tools has also meant a boost in employee collaboration and we have many cross-functional teams. With GTT, our employees enjoy fast and secure access to the data and applications they need, whether working remotely or in the office.
How do you ensure continuous improvement in network performance and efficiency and where does GTT come into play?
When we first started working with GTT back in 2017, we were just buying wire lines. We decided to be an early adopter of SD-WAN as we recognised the benefits of the technology, and we worked with GTT to implement one of the first waves of European SD-WAN deployments. In 2021, we decided to further upgrade and streamline our network to support our Digital Transformation initiatives. As our Managed SD‑WAN partner, GTT has taken on full responsibility for the service offering and not just delivering a piece of hardware.
GTT Managed SD‑WAN gives us extra flexibility and bandwidth as we can prioritise our most critical communication over other less critical connections. We also have increased visibility and control across our network. Taken together, this is key to how we manage the growth in available data and cloud utilisation that supports our business goals, balancing bandwidth, performance and cost effectiveness. Working with GTT, we have increased bandwidth by 187% but at the same time decreased cost per Mb by 10%.
How do you fully embrace the cloud and what business benefits does this bring?
Collaboration is the heartbeat of a design and innovation-focused business such as ours. One of the most powerful examples of the benefit of our cloud adoption – and having a network to support it – became clear when we needed to switch to a remote work model after the emergence of COVID-19. We had just completed our network upgrade shortly before the pandemic, but with the flexibility of our service from GTT, we were able to quickly adjust to the new realities of remote working and ensure our employees could continue to collaborate. We have enhanced end-to-end encryption and we can allow remote sites to connect directly and securely to our Microsoft Office 365 cloud. If our users attempt to access less trusted destinations on the global Internet, we can also ensure the traffic is redirected through a secure gateway.
How do you intend to continue working with GTT to achieve a connected future?
Looking to the future, we’re continuing to evaluate and migrate relevant applications to the cloud and grow our business internationally, for example, with our latest facility in Serbia. GTT’s services support us with that strategy, working hand in hand with our team. Keeping up the pace of innovation, we will be leveraging GTT’s experience with voice to further transform our global collaboration using Microsoft Teams by enabling telephony with GTT SIP trunking. We also value our in-depth discussions with GTT experts about the potential synergies of bringing SD-WAN and security into one global platform. GTT is a great partner for us, we are both focused on exploring new possibilities and bringing them to life to make things easier.Click below to share this article