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Case Study: Barlean’s Organic Oils Modernizes, Outsources Technology to Conscious Networks, Reducing Costs, Gaining Efficiencies, and Freeing Employees to Focus on Customers

Introduction: A leading brand in health food stores, and with a growing online business, Barlean’s provides the finest and freshest organic flaxseed oil, Fresh Catch Fish Oil, green food supplements, and other premium essential fatty acid products. The company has enjoyed numerous health food retailer of the year and health food manufacturer of the year, and similar accolades from various health food industry organizations. Barlean’s products have met international acclaim with leading nutrition authorities, doctors, and health practitioners.

Issues to Be Resolved: A new chief information officer, Michael Flittie, was hired from outside the firm and was very concerned with the company’s technology, which was causing problems in everything from manufacturing to distribution to e-commerce to marketing to sales to accounting. Located in a rural area, the company didn’t have access to the kind of technology personnel needed, both at the employee and contractor levels. The CIO found himself personally putting out fires instead of acting strategically. The company’s on-premise infrastructure was in a non-secure, non-redundant environment. Legacy technology systems didn’t perform well, interact well, and many were significantly out of date.

First Date: Conscious Networks was both fortunate and deserving to earn a Barlean’s engagement. The company’s new CIO arrived at Barlean’s from a company that was a Conscious Network’s customer, where he had previously chosen Conscious Networks after a thorough review of available options, relied on their expertise, outsourced many of his previous employer’s technology operations, and continued to expand the successful relationship. The CIO wanted to replicate the successful and productive experience that he enjoyed previously with Conscious Networks.

Solutions: With the depth of issues Barlean’s needed to take on, Conscious Networks suggested the following, all of which were successfully implemented.

  • Boots on the Ground to Define Needs: Despite being three time zones away, Conscious Networks partner Cory Horn, along with a Tier 1 engineer, spent significant time on-site over a 90-day span addressing issues for Barlean’s in order to identify pain points and develop the proper long-term solutions.
  • Help Desk Established: The first order of business was to remove the CIO from mundane daily support tasks. Conscious Networks established and operates a dedicated help desk using both on-site and remote resources, allowing the CIO to operate more strategically.
  • Virtualization and Redundancy: 15 platforms were virtualized onto a single physical box. Another box was put in place for automatic synchronization between the two. Instant recovery is now available and any problem or outage now results in less than 10 seconds of downtime.
  • Modernized and Outsourced Legacy Platforms and Applications: Barlean’s moved onto Exchange and a new ERP platform. These are among the platforms and applications that were then migrated out of the local environment into Conscious Network’s data center. The data center migration reduced power costs and greatly enhanced security, reliability, availability, and performance.
  • Desktop as a Service: A cutting edge Desktop as a Service solution will have Conscious Networks eventually replacing 100 PC’s on-site with thin clients connected to the cloud. This will save significantly on hardware purchases and on-site support while improving reliability and reducing operational costs. Instead of spending a day replacing a PC, reconfiguring, loading software, etc. it can now take place in the cloud with little-to-no downtime.
  • A Unified Solution: Barlean’s and Conscious Networks are well on their way to a complete unified solution that takes Barlean’s out of the technology business, freeing the company to focus on the things that truly grow their business, delivering products and solutions to optimize the health and well-being of their customers.

Executive Quote: “When I arrived at Barlean’s there was an immense amount of work to be done, without the internal expertise to make the improvements the company needed. Fortunately, I had an established relationship with an expert, accomplished partner. Leveraging that previous success, the detailed processes and hard work of Conscious Networks have assisted us in every way as we have successfully made monumental changes to the company’s IT infrastructure and networks. The performance and reliability has been outstanding. The frustrations our employees previously had with their technology are being eliminated. As a result of our engagement with Conscious Networks, everyone no longer has to worry about tech. Barlean’s team members are now free to focus on providing solutions and great service to our customers and partners.” (Michael Flittie, CIO)

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