Bison IT Services AG is an IT infrastructure and cloud solutions provider based in Switzerland. It delivers a range of services to small and medium sized business, including housing, dedicated servers, cloud and managed services. It also sells digital signage. Bison IT Services provides everything from basic server housing to full IT infrastructure management and works in partnership with customers to tailor services to business needs.

In addition to infrastructure services, Bison specialises in business cloud provision. With Bison’s Smart Work, companies of all sizes can outsource their ‘server room’ needs to Bison’s data centre. In effect, this allows businesses to have the kind of IT services that would be cost-prohibitive if brought on-site. The service includes full updates, antivirus protection and regular back-up to Bison’s data centre. Staff have access to apps and ‘SaaS’ software and the business pays monthly on a ‘per user, per usage’ basis.

Bison offers a range of innovative ways to buy IT services for business in addition to the standard, contract based model. Cloud Slider is a means of buying private or public cloud services, space and power on demand. Customers can commission, decommission, increase or reduce the levels of all service at the touch of a button.

One of Bison’s biggest USPs is its in-house repair service, so any malfunctions or problems can be dealt with without needing third party input or equipment leaving the building.

Location

Bison IT Services AG is headquartered in Sursee, Switzerland, with further offices in Basel, Bern and Winterthur. Whilst Bison Group has subsidiaries in Germany, Bison IT Services operates only in Switzerland.

Bison IT own two carrier neutral data centres in the Canton of Lucerne. Data Centre Uno is in Sursee and Data Centre Due is located in Schenken.

UNO was constructed in 2013 and offers a high standard of security, cooling and technology. The data centre was built around hot aisle containment cubes. It is fully redundant and benefits from CCTV and constant video surveillance.   Customers can choose from four carriers, so despite being carrier neutral, it is not a completely open market.

Data Centre DUE is smaller than UNO. Like UNO, it was designed with sustainability in mind, but also offers a similar level of redundancy and security measures.

Energy

Bison IT Services planned its data centres around sustainability from the ground up and has integrated a small number of energy efficient technologies into its data centres, including investment in energy efficient servers. Bison also recommends energy-management applications, such as Cisco Orchestrator, to clients taking up Campus Network solutions.

Funding/business model

Bison IT Services AG operates as an independent company under the Bison Group brand, a brand that is owned by umbrella company Bison Holdings AG. Bison Holdings AG is 100% owned by the Swiss farming cooperative Fenaco, although Bison IT Services is 100% owned by its own (private) shareholders. The two companies, Bison Group and Bison IT Services have different CEOs and shareholders, yet share the same headquarters.  Bison IT Services is a ‘partner’ of Bison Group and offers shared services to clients.

Customers and partners

Bison was awarded Microsoft 2015 Partner of the Year for Switzerland early in 2015. It is also a Cisco Gold partner and Platinum Partner with HP Switzerland and SMS Passcode as of 2014. Bison IT also works in close cooperation with business software developing sister company, Bison Switzerland AG and partner with a wide range of software and network providers.

Bison IT Services has a large number of clients, the majority of which are based in Switzerland or are Swiss subsidiaries of global companies.  Some of the more notable clients include Ziegler Druck- und Verlags-AG, Yamaha Hostettler, Pfister AG and Emmi AG.

Great for SMEs but a gamble for mission critical operations

Bison IT Services ‘products’ are clearly aimed at, and cater for, SMEs based in Switzerland.  The Smart Work package is likely to appeal to a wide selection of small business that wish to outsource IT but don’t really know what to buy for best value.

Bison IT Services has been through a difficult and controversial period since its inception, including legal action, debt and redundancies. Despite the turmoil, Bison has continued to develop and expand its cloud and infrastructure offering and has managed to acquire an impressive range of organisations as customers. Potential customers seeking stability may wish to delve further into the long-term prospects of Bison and its partner companies, but for SMEs seeking a comprehensive off-site IT solution with innovative and tailored ways to buy, Bison offers plenty of choice and flexibility.

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