Only a few months ago, the recommendation to move entire workforces to a work from home model came as a challenge to even the most leading-edge IT teams. The IT staff at North American Höganäs Co, a leading global industrial manufacturer of iron and metal powders, were no different. They were asked to quickly support their team of engineers and their applications that had diverse needs and were spread across dispersed geographies – and to do so securely.

“Some companies in a similar situation as ours had to scramble for resources,” said Michael Rhoades, IT manager for North American Höganäs Co. “However, we didn’t have that issue. Throughout the last several years we have been adding Cisco solutions that are constantly improving our users’ experience, so we were prepared. This includes the backbone of our data center Cisco HyperFlex, Cisco Office extend AP’s, Cisco IP phones, and many other necessary solutions. All we had to do was help people pack up their desks and they were on their way to work from home.”

Several years ago, Höganäs’ chose Cisco’s HyperFlex hyperconverged solution to give its users a safe way to connect to their virtual desktops and applications, while delivering on-prem performance. As a result when the company had to make the move to remote work, the company’s engineers were able to use CAD applications right away without any latency issues, while also providing the IT team reassurance that everything was safely stored in the datacenter and eliminating any concern about data loss.

During this challenging time, Höganäs also relied heavily on Cisco’s management tools, like Intersight, to make the switch from their IT team working directly in the data center to working remotely. “Having the ability to manage the data center remotely during this time was a game changer for our small IT team. The performance and capacity of HyperFlex made creating virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) easy too.”

Agility without complexity

In years past, it was easy for staff at Höganäs and other companies to think of IT as more of a  required expense – something they had to have but didn’t understand why. But now, given how quickly employees were up and running, and how smoothly the transition to working from home went, people working remotely have realized how easy it can be with the right resources in the data center. “Many of our employees have told us how nice their work from home experience has been compared to that of their spouses, significant others, and friends. Getting such a huge project done in record time has enabled us to reduce stress – throughout the company and our IT staff – given we now know this is something we can do without complexity.”

What’s next?

Using Cisco HyperFlex and Intersight technologies as the foundation in the data center puts the company in the enviable position of being ready to expand whenever necessary. Its execs vow to continue with this mentality as much as possible.

“With Cisco’s help, we scaled a graphic intensive VDI infrastructure to support a wide range of compute needs to hundreds of remote workers in less than 24 hours,” said Rhodes. “Moving forward, we’ll continue to advance our datacenter tools and strategy with Intersight so we’re prepared if this ever happens again.”

Learn more about Höganäs journey to remote work with Cisco in this Newsroom article.

Discover the Cisco quick ship HyperFlex bundles to get you up and ready quickly with VDI.


Elorie Widmer

Product and Solutions Marketing Manager

Data Center