Heavy Lifting

An upgraded IT/UC setup makes light of Zaker Trading’s communication needs

Tags: Alcatel-LucentUnified communicationZaker Trading (www.zakerdubai.com)
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Heavy Lifting Jesudason: New ICt system fulfills our needs.
By  David Ndichu Published  February 28, 2016

With brand new headquarters, it was only fitting that Zaker trading had a new and upgraded IT and communications set-up to match.

That is exactly what Charles Jesudason, group general manager at Zaker Trading, had in mind, embarking on a comprehensive IT infrastructure deployment for the new offices and warehouses, at DIP.

Zaker Trading is a major supplier of engineering equipment to the region’s safety, welding and lifting industries. The company earlier this year moved to new custom-made headquarters at Dubai Investment Park, underpinned by a 50,000 Sq. Ft. warehouse.

The company had for a long time made do with an analogue telephony system, explains Jesudason. Required was a brand new ICT infrastructure that could improve efficiency and provide the company with the technology and scale to cater for current and future needs.

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

The previous architecture in place was more than 10 years old, with the attendant technical limitations of a system that aged. Jesudason says the company lacked an integrated communication system to effectively communicate between staff, branches as well as their customers.

Towards this end, Zaker Trading reached out to Alcatel Lucent and their SI to deploy the new infrastructure.

Through System Integrators Al Futtaim technologies, Zaker Trading deployed Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Enterprise Communication Server; Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 6450 Stackable LAN Switch; OmniSwitch 6850 Stackable LAN Switch; Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess 4504XM switch/controller; Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess Access Points for wireless access for staff, guests and in warehouses; as well as the Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess 5850 Enterprise Services Router Modular Router.

The telephone systems include the entry level 8012 series DeskPhones, as well as 8068 premium DeskPhones. Staff in the warehouse have been equipped with wireless handsets for communication on the move.

Today, the company has in place new servers, new desktops the new telephony system as well as an upgraded firewall system in place. “We were looking for the added benefit of ease in communications as well as increased effectiveness and efficiency of the staff both office-based and those out in the field,” says Jesudason.

As part of the upgrade, Zaker Trading also implemented a new ERP system, now fully supported by the new IT infrastructure.

“So this was a natural progression for the organisation, as we upgraded both out IT infrastructure both in terms of ERP as well as telephony,” Jesudason says.

The implementation took place at the new headquarters at Dubai Investment Park with plans to connect other offices and locations. With ambitious expansion plans to expand including into North Africa, expansion of the system is in the offing. The larger ICT implementation cost AED 1 Million, Jesudason reveals.

The choice of Alcatel Lucent springs partly from Jesudason positive experience with the brand and the system integrators Al Futtaim Technologies. Jesudason says he has the experience of multiple IT systems in the past. For this implementation, the company sent out RFQs to all the leading players with the solutions package mooted by Alcatel Lucent and Al Futtaim Technologies ticking all the right boxes as far as Zaker’s needs were concerned, says Jesudason. “The combination of both the technologies and solutions from Alcatel Lucent for an organisation our size met our particular needs,” he adds.

Jesudason says he and his team held discussions on the scope and scale to which the company planned to expand over the coming three to five years. The vendor was able to avail a solution that was just right for the company’s future objectives as well. “The solution had all the features that we were looking for and from a budget point of view it was just on that sweet spot. That was what made us go with the brand,” he explains, adding. “I also happened to have dealt with the system integrator AFT in a previous organisation and was very comfortable dealing with them.”

There were some delays with the implementation, Jesudason concedes, primarily brought on by delays in moving to the new building then under construction.

The products were handed in November of 2014 year but Zaker Trading was unable to deploy them until a good four months later due to those delays. During the time, Jesudason says, the team from Al Futtaim Technologies were very understanding and when the site finally became ready, there was no hesitation from their end to get the implementation going. The implementation went live in May 2015, Jesudason explains.
The arrangement worked very well, Jesudason says, with a new system to go with a brand new building. The system has also worked satisfactorily so far, he adds.

BUSINESS BENEFIT

Jesudason observes that Zaker Trading has benefitted from 10% more efficiency and reduction in call and communication charges with the new system. “But there has been tremendous improvements in non-tangible aspects of our business. The touch points for both clients and our own staff is a lot better now,” he adds.

With a fairly large facility, the new system’s communication and conferencing capabilities has also lessened time wasted by reducing the need for constant movement.

In planning for RoI, the company anticipated not just direct cost savings but also improvements in efficiency in the way that employees communicate internally and between the company’s branches, Jesudason says.

The deployment has also lessened the need for extra IT personnel. “One of the reasons we chose this particular system is that it’s advanced and yet simple to use,” says Jesudason. “We have only two people in IT to oversee the system, primarily managing the ERP system,” he adds.

In the near future, Zaker Trading is set to integrate video conferencing modules into the system, in a further enhancement of the company’s communication capabilities, Jesudason reveals. Further considerations include integrating the system with other locations and facilities here and abroad. Zaker Trading is also exploring ways to reduce communications costs reduce with help from Alcatel Lucent solutions.

To protect its infrastructure, Zaker Trading further deployed Fortinet firewall appliances as part of the new implementation as well.

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