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Case Study: KapStone Maximizes Performance and ROI with Peak 10


KapStone Paper (NYSE: KS) is an industry leader in unbleached paper and packaging, offering its customers quality products, sound environmental practices, engaged employees and a strong financial portfolio. The company offers more than 300 unbleached and bleached grade types of kraft paper that offer best-in-class printability, strength, coatings and specialized performance characteristics. Headquartered in Northbrook, Ill. and employing approximately 1,600 people, KapStone Kraft Paper Corporation operates two paper mills in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., and North Charleston, S.C. that are capable of producing approx. 1.3 million tons of various paper.

The Challenge

In 2006, International Paper sold part of its business to KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation, a company designed to buy pulp and paper assets. This acquisition was the first for KapStone and was the catalyst for seeking a reliable IT partner. With no previous IT infrastructure in place, KapStone utilized International Paper’s legacy infrastructure through a transitional services agreement while it began planning its own infrastructure. KapStone assessed its IT and data center needs and decided that the complex, multiple-site network requirements of its business and planned growth warranted outsourcing.

The decision to outsource was also based on the acceptance that a new IT infrastructure would have to be built from the ground up, and the sheer volume of work that would be needed to automate and maintain KapStone’s financial and human resources applications, IT systems, etc. was significant. KapStone was clearly in need of a partner that could design and deliver reliable, scalable IT infrastructure services and support the fast-growing business for years to come.

“After learning of Peak 10, we visited its local team and data center and were impressed by the senior managers and network administrators we met,” said Danny Tomlinson, the director of IT infrastructure and security at KapStone. “They were clearly proud of their company and their facility, which had all of the state-of-the art components we were looking for. Our experience at Peak 10 and the level of comfort we felt after meeting its experts made our choice an easy one. We knew we could trust them as an extension of our own internal team.”

The Peak 10 Solution

Alongside KapStone’s internal IT team, Peak 10 began working to build the company’s intricate IT infrastructure to support its Enterprise Resource Planning system and production environment, which serves as the backbone of the company’s operations. Peak 10 implemented network management and support services to ensure the system’s redundancy, as well as managed security solutions such as intrusion detection to protect its integrity. The team worked around the clock to ensure KapStone’s implementation was seamless and all migration deadlines were met.

After engaging Peak 10, KapStone continued its track record of expansion through a major strategic acquisition, which required that the company migrate the new company’s IT environment into KapStone’s. This called for infrastructure and bandwidth upgrades that were readily performed by Peak 10’s 24/7 staff.

To further safeguard its mission-critical data and protect the longevity of the company, KapStone leveraged Peak 10’s geographic footprint and redundant network by implementing a disaster recovery site within one of the facilities on its Charlotte, N.C. campus. This secondary location, where KapStone stores regular data backups, serves as a failover site to prevent an interruption should its production environment experience an anomaly.

Peak 10 is currently managing more than 50 servers for KapStone, along with ongoing services such as intrusion detection, network management and strategic IT consulting. Peak 10’s corporate managed services team continues to participate in developing and maximizing KapStone’s IT infrastructure to ensure business continuity, data protection and on-demand scalability.

The Results

KapStone has grown through acquisition since signing with Peak 10 and was recently named 5th on Fortune magazine’s annual list of the 100 fastest growing companies. To support the growth, KapStone has grown into a dedicated footprint in Peak 10’s Raleigh data center. It has experienced significant cost savings by relying on Peak 10’s experts, thus eliminating the need to hire additional IT staff during its periods of expansion. The company now has a clear, organized plan in place in the event of an unforeseen disruption or disaster, giving its entire team priceless peace of mind.

After three years, KapStone’s contract came up for renewal and as the company assessed its relationship with Peak 10, Tomlinson stated “The Peak 10 team understands our business. A lot of companies say they will work as an extension of your IT team, but Peak 10 demonstrates its commitment to our business with its actions. Its team has consistently been proactive by monitoring our IT systems, providing suggestions for streamlining our infrastructure and creating a more efficient, redundant production network. We are more than happy to continue growing with Peak 10.”

KapStone is positioned for significant future development and is working with Peak 10 to implement virtualization solutions and additional application support as they gain momentum. This relationship is an excellent example of an outsourced IT partner bringing tremendous value to an organization.

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About Peak 10

"Our values are the foundation for everything we do at Peak 10, and are ultimately what enable us to earn our customers' business and their trust."
David H. Jones,
Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest