Streamlined Euromedia

The overhauled IT platform has provided Euromedia not only with the much needed performance boost, but created a paperless working environment as well.

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By  Sarah Gain Published  March 23, 2005

In a bid to streamline its operations, Dubai-based Euromedia, which is a provider of business services such as public relations, marketing, web design and artist management, has overhauled its IT infrastructure. Euromedia has deployed application server, Citrix servers and remote access, mail and back -up severs from Samtek. Its Centrino and Pentium 4 notebooks and desktop computers are from Intel. Moojtaba Shaban Trading managed the five-week project, which cost US$135,000. Since the company works with international organisations, there was a need to introduce more streamlined business practices. Euromedia needed a paperless and wireless working environment in order to efficiently manage its growing clientele base in the Middle East and around the globe. While Euromedia had been able to get by with low-tech solutions in the past, dependence on hardcopies was proving slow and inefficient. Better communication was urgently required. “Euromedia wanted more than a paperless office, we wanted a series of wireless offices,” says Alex Golzari, managing director of Euromedia. As one of the leading entertainment and communications conglomerates in the region, Euromedia has been growing its operations and activities, while competing fiercely with other players in the market place. In this milieu, it is important that both staff and clients alike are able to access and secure information easily and effectively. “In an ideal world, date books, calendars, letters, memos, newspapers, purchase orders and almost anything else that now comes on paper should be delivered electronically,” says Golzari. “Apart from the obvious environmental benefits, a paperless office — or its nearest equivalent— is considerably cheaper to maintain and offers better productivity across all levels. In all terms, it is cheaper to transport in segments,” he adds. Euromedia also wanted an easy access to corporate data. It says data plays a crucial role in gaining competitive business advantage. “The ability to communicate information at will could well be one of the determining factors on how well Euromedia performs in a competitive marketplace,” Golzari explains. With its growing client base of international artists, demands for management, marketing and distribution were also increasing. Hence, Euromedia sought efficient, effortless and economic solutions that could link its geographically spread branch offices and teams members. For Euromedia executives, deploying a series of Intel Xeon based server and turning to faster network switches meant better performance, increased stability, faster access to data and maximum connectivity. A combination of high-end desktops and notebooks based on Intel Centrino technology is also improving connectivity across all its offices. Powerful mail management systems mean that remote access and mobility is possible throughout the enterprise. The systems offer dependability, compatibility, scalability and an advanced architecture ideal for Euromedia’s multiprocessing environments. Mail messaging and its management were also crucial for Euromedia, which is increasing headcount and branches operations rapidly. Data back-up, electronic archiving and reducing paper build-up were deemed essential to modernise the organisation’s business processes. The final phase of the project entailed company executives who travel frequently being offered mobility with their work. The executives were provided with access to business-critical information regardless of their global location. Once the deployment was complete, Euromedia executives embraced the concept of the paperless office with optimism and felt that automated operations would be the inevitable way of future-proofing the business. The updated system has improved the usability of Euromedia’s IT facilities, simplifying filing, faxing, word processing, document retrieval, analysis and basic communication and dramatically reduced the reliance on old fashioned ‘pen and paper’ business practices. Furthermore, Euromedia has also replaced its peer-to-peer network of ten computers that lacked security and adaptability. The capacity for adding additional users or upgrading software was inadequate. The reliance on separate networks in each of the branch offices meant that harmonisation and management of activities company-wide was restricted. All desktop PCs, which were used by designers, have been replaced with high-end workstations. Other employees have been provided with Pentium 4 systems complete with hyper threading technology. The company’s high-ranking executives now have wireless notebooks based on Intel Centrino technology. “The total IT structure of the company has changed. It is a totally new environment with latest servers, workstations and other supporting devices,” says Golzari. Although businesses in the UAE and other nations in the region have encountered impediments in their migration to a paperless office, Euromedia’s deployment went relatively smoothly. Golzari attributes the success to the proficiency of both the Euromedia IT department and the implementation team from Moojtaba Shaban. “Both companies have skilled engineers with considerable expertise in handling this type of project,” he says. Euromedia did encounter some challenges with the migration from the previous peer-to-peer network, which was prone to frequent break down because of outdated network devices. However, the trouble-prone system was immediately redesigned by Moojtaba Shaban to provide a more advanced and powerful server environment. Today, an Intel Xeon processor, which runs on a Microsoft Exchange server, is dedicated to mail messaging and management. A back-up server, which is supported by Intel Raid controller and a tape drive, has been installed to provide total data back-up. The company also needed to replace all the existing servers with stable and reliable Intel Xeon based servers, in order to have a robust IT infrastructure. The existing networks of all Euromedia's branch offices have been updated and connected securely to its headquarters, which is based at Dubai Media City (DIC). Its paperwork data was replaced with electronic soft copies. The deployment was done over a short period of time and Euromedia was able to use the strengthened infrastructure immediately. In addition, MST has trained Euromedia staff, who now have the capability to work in a technology savvy environment. The integrator will also provide 24/7 support. “Our partner has trained our 50-strong IT department to handle any problems. They now have a thorough knowledge of the more advanced technology,” states Golzari. Euromedia now has a centralised data and is benefiting from improved security, manageability and compatibility. All the branch offices are directly connected to the main server, enabling data to be updated immediately. According to Golzari, both the cost savings and the productivity benefits are tremendous. “Many of our clients are busy people for whom time means money. The quicker we deliver results the more profitable it is for them. On the other hand, the performance of our team members is often dictated by deadlines. Now, they can download documents prior to meetings and have the ability to work remotely. The increase in our efficiency levels is enormous.” The PCs are already lowering the risk of security threats. The hyper threading (HT) technology allows Euromedia’s IT staff to run continuous virus scanning and file encryption programmes in the background with minimal end user disruption. The company has also seen an increase in productivity. Previously, the growing demands on foreground and background processing meant less efficiency. Now, the new processors are providing the level of performance required by Euromedia. The HT technology, which is deployed on both desktop and notebook PCs, enables a simultaneous processing of two sets of tasks, which are producing performance gains of about 25%. Euromedia is hoping that its investment in the new solutions will prove beneficial in the long term as well. It is confident that migrating to the new technology will produce significant cost savings and ultimately show a considerable return on investment (ROI). It also believes there will be no further environmental complexity and the need to invest in future large-scale upgrades will be avoided. Wireless mobility will provide novel opportunities for productivity and efficiency both in and out of the office, as the Euromedia’s business and its needs continue to grow in the years to come. The new hardware, running more up-to-date operating systems and applications will incur a lower spend on maintenance and repair, as well as offering stability and accessibility that Euromedia can leverage as its requirements necessitate. “The new systems are extremely reliable and give us high levels of power, performance and scalability we need to be able to operate efficiently,” Golzari enthuses.

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