Almarai achieves BS7799 certification

Almarai has attained BS7799 certification through a detailed process improvement project. The scheme has encompassed all procedures within the company and has been completed to ensure users get 99.5% uptime.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  October 15, 2003

Almarai has attained BS7799 certification through a detailed process improvement project. The scheme, which began when the Riyadh based food products company started implementing SAP R/3 two and half years ago, has encompassed all practices and procedures within the enterprise. It has been completed to ensure that the Saudi organisation's business systems division is capable of providing 99.5% uptime to its users.

"The business needs [of Almarai] have grown and with our integrated system portfolio, we now [have] to provide a 24x7 operation," says Claude Tonna-Barthet, business systems manager at Almarai. "It is critical to ensure availability of information systems to support [our] complex operations and BS7799 certification proves that our services and processes are of a world class standard," he explains.

Although Almarai's existing procedures were adequate to meet the needs of its users pre-SAP, the company they would be unable to support the business' growing reliance on IT. Furthermore, if changes were not made to user behaviour, then Almarai would struggle to reap maximum benefit from its enterprise resource planning (ERP) application.

"We looked at BS7799 and used it as the benchmark for us to improve our business processes. It wasn't that they were bad, it is just that to go into the new world of systems we were asked to support, we wanted to benchmark our procedures," says Tonna-Barthet.

A key part of the BS7799 project was understanding the risks and vulnerabilities associated with an integrated ERP package, as compared to its existing legacy applications. Once identified, these risks had to be plugged and controls implemented to ensure they did not resurface.

"We were an organisation that was very much driven towards writing code, but we were becoming an organisation that had a lot more computer users supported by an integrated suite of [applications]. If you are moving towards that then you have to be a lot more secure and a lot more disciplined within business systems and in the way that you deliver an IT service," says Tonna-Barthet.

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