Bubbling up

Not every enterprise needs a staff of hundreds to be successful. Masafi instituted a successful revamp of its IT infrastructure without having an IT department at all – and with the sole help of an integrator.

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By  Imthishan Giado Published  November 9, 2008

Not every enterprise needs a staff of hundreds to be successful. Masafi instituted a successful revamp of its IT infrastructure without having an IT department at all - and with the sole help of an integrator.

For most Middle Eastern enterprises, it's a struggle to solve IT issues with a full team of experienced IT professionals on call, 24 hours a day. For UAE-based water bottler and refreshments distributor Masafi, the pain of resolving technological hiccups must be absolutely unimaginable - as it doesn't have a single IT staffer on its payroll.

George Bachmayer, Masafi's finance manager reveals however that the firm has a secret weapon in the form of Raqmiyat to which it has outsourced its complete IT infrastructure management and support.

The integrator now handles the complete management of Masafi's IT systems, and has recently completed the installation of a new call centre system from Avaya. As Bachmayer explains, the situation seems to have worked in the firm's favour.

"We have about six dedicated employees provided by Raqmiyat but who are working 100% for Masafi. We hold weekly and monthly meetings where I get updates and follow up on time schedules, in addition to our regular projects which have to be looked at. I get recommendations from Raqmiyat on which is the best solution and which the next best step is. I also get feedback from my employees - where we have issues and what has to be done in the next iteration," he says.

The new call centre Masafi has installed has an unusual impetus behind it - the desire to break into the nascent market for four gallon water bottles. He admits that the new product required a proper feedback mechanism before the firm could aggressively attack the segment.

"The project was based on our idea to come up with a new product, which was the four gallon business. We were not in this segment before, so together with this product we thought about how to reach our customers and how our competitors act in this business. That was the first time we thought about installing a call centre, in April 2007 as we wanted to get closer in touch with our customers," he explains.

"In the four gallon business, it was planned that 60% of the consumers will be households and 20% will be direct distribution. 5% to 10% would be corporate customers. So how do we reach households? The only solution was to install a call centre," states Bachmayer.

The implementation took four months to complete, going live in September 2007. Bachmayer says the complete system cost US$136,000 - and had a strict set of requirements in place before purchase.

"We expected that the software has to be easy to handle for our employees. It also has to be linked later with our existing Oracle system. The information we get out of the system had to be as per our requirements, especially order, customer, complaints and suggestion management. All these elements of the wishlist had to be fulfilled. What I have been told by the call centre manager is that it is 100% fulfilled," he notes.

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