2 page Case Study - Posted 6/30/2011
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Steel Firm Uses Support Services to Align Infrastructure with Business Goals
Leading manufacturing group Al-Tuwairqi Holding Company wanted expert advice and support to improve its IT and infrastructure management. Since 2008, Microsoft Services Premier Support has helped the company build an environment with minimal downtime. The Microsoft Technical Account Manager (TAM) is a key factor in aligning the technology roadmap with the group’s business and cost reduction priorities.
Steel manufacturer Al-Tuwairqi, founded in 1977, is one of the leading business conglomerates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, having grown rapidly by acquisition. It is the second-fastest growing firm and ranked 26 of the top 100 companies in the country. The organisation has expanded from its head office in Dammam to operations in Jeddah and Riyadh, as well as in Pakistan and the United Kingdom (U.K.). This has presented challenges for its in-house IT department.
Over the past three years, Al-Tuwairqi has adopted a new strategy to support its expansion plans. As part of this, the IT department is building a state-of-the-art data centre and disaster recovery site to serve the company’s international needs and future requirements.
Yousef Dhawi Almajnouni, IT General Manager, Al-Tuwairqi Holding, says: “The roadmap includes infrastructure services, messaging, unified communications, monitoring and security solutions, and an enterprise resource planning system. We also wanted to use virtualisation technology to improve the availability of business applications, and ensure a more consistent level of service across the organisation, especially to employees in remote locations or on the move.”
In 2008, Almajnouni and his colleagues identified the need for support on how to use their existing software assets—in particular, unused licences—more effectively, with a view to enhancing productivity and reducing overheads. The group already had a Microsoft Services Enterprise Agreement for low-cost volume licensing of Microsoft products, but required access to end-to-end IT services and support.Solution
Al-Tuwairqi decided to invest in proactive support through Microsoft Services Premier Support, which provided the group with a Technical Account Manager (TAM)—a job assigned to Ahmad Al-Mohamed. He initiated the assignment with a health check and risk assessment programme for the company’s Active Directory service, recommending an upgrade.
Almajnouni wanted to extend the range of consultancy to proactive planning for a move to an IT environment based on Microsoft technologies. This will include the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system, which has virtualisation features and Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning software. The group will drive additional cost cuts with other Microsoft technologies for collaboration, security, and data management.
Close collaboration with Al-Mohamed as the TAM was a key factor in achieving success and rapid return on investment. Following the Premier Service Delivery Methodology (PSDM), Al-Tuwairqi concentrated on improving technology and people knowledge, with process and operational work following.
Al-Tuwairqi has now decided to migrate its existing service desk solution to Microsoft System Center Service Manager 2010, consolidating its provision into a single team. The TAM also recommended that the firm update monitoring and application management with Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 and System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2.
With help from the TAM, Al-Tuwairqi conducts regular health checks and risk assessment programmes to review its core infrastructure technologies. Al-Mohamed says: “Al-Tuwairqi works with Microsoft Services to identify risks and build a prioritised remediation plan for any faults that have been identified.”
The TAM invited the in-house technical team to a Microsoft Operations Framework foundation workshop that improved communication across the team by giving them a common framework and management goals throughout the entire Microsoft product life cycle. Al-Mohamed adds: “We have also introduced an Operations Strategic Review based on the PSDM. It takes an in-depth look at current IT operations and processes, and establishes an improvement roadmap for the future.”Benefits
Support from the Microsoft Services TAM using PSDM is helping Al-Tuwairqi establish a framework for managing its infrastructure with minimal downtime. Through Premier Support, it has a prioritised escalation channel within Microsoft Services to maximise business continuity. Almajnouni says: “Premier Support has shifted the focus of our IT operations—we now take a proactive approach to infrastructure management. Our roadmap is aligned with our business goals and is driving efficiency.”
Knowledge transfer improves self-service capacity. The Al-Tuwairqi IT team now has the required level of knowledge to operate Microsoft technologies effectively without requiring expensive third-party resources.
TAM delivers customer satisfaction. Almajnouni says: “Al-Tuwairqi recognises Microsoft Services as the best support partner of all the vendors with which we work.”
Microsoft Services offers mentoring for staff. Through the assignment of subject experts to Al-Tuwairqi, Microsoft Services mentors the in-house team, giving them valuable experience of technologies.
Customer adopts additional Microsoft products. In the past three years, Microsoft Services has supported Al-Tuwairqi in a modernisation programme for its infrastructure. Almajnouni says: “When we started work with the TAM, important assets such as Active Directory and our messaging system had not been updated for several years. Now, our system is fit for purpose.”
TAM works on future improvements. Al-Tuwairqi is now looking at enhancements it can make to its IT infrastructure, including virtualisation and new professional accreditations for its IT department. Almajnouni says: “With our TAM’s help, we want to gain ISO/IEC 20000 accreditation—the international standard for IT services management. This is through executing a complete Microsoft Operations Framework improvement roadmap driven by our TAM.” This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.