Pakistan Petroleum, a pioneer of natural gas production in Pakistan, has been a major player in the energy sector since the mid-1950s. The company contributes around 25 per cent of the total natural gas supplies in Pakistan, in addition to producing crude oil, natural gas liquid, and liquefied petroleum gas.
With global demand for hydrocarbons increasing, senior management started a major drive to reduce the overall cost of operations and optimise the infrastructure to increase profits. Anwar Hussain Mirza, Senior Manager IT, Pakistan Petroleum Limited, says: "We were conscious of the need to provide our remote users and desk-based staff with better service availability. As part of our business plan, we had added new services and applications for the desktop - including SAP - which increased pressure on our network."
Until recently, the IT setup at Pakistan Petroleum had limited and largely reactive monitoring capabilities. Critically, it lacked any centralised management tools. Software updates were slow to deploy, resulting in vulnerability to malware. They were often completed manually by sending technicians to three main office locations plus other sites at four of the company's production fields.
Mirza says: "IT teams throughout our dispersed operations were engaged in fire-fighting and trouble-shooting rather than proactive work. We couldn't fully meet all our users' expectations of service, especially those of our geologists out in the field."
In reviewing its options for a maintenance solution for its desktops and servers, Pakistan Petroleum at first considered deploying IBM Tivoli and KACE integrated service management software. But Mirza had reservations. He says: "Having previous experience of IBM Tivoli in another company, I'd found it difficult to source good support for the product in Pakistan. And as we primarily use Microsoft products, we decided to go with Microsoft."
The IT team decided to roll out the Microsoft System Center suite of infrastructure management solutions to introduce proactive monitoring of business-critical systems for the first time. The prior existence of a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement for Volume Licensing with Premier Support was a compelling argument in favour of Microsoft over IBM Tivoli.
Mirza says: "Microsoft is more of a trusted advisor than a vendor. Its consultants provided valuable technical support for our small operational team during the deployment."
In 2010, Pakistan Petroleum upgraded its collaboration software to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. It also rolled out Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 unified communications software to its business users in remote locations, giving them the ability to communicate in real time. The company deployed Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, which is helping employees access information faster and collaborate more effectively.
For the System Center solution, the IT team first deployed Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 for desktop management. It followed this with Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 for proactive data-centre monitoring. And, after a successful pilot programme in the IT department, the IT team now plans to add Microsoft System Center Service Manager 2010 to improve the centralised help-desk operations. It will be the first deployment of the product in Pakistan.
Pakistan Petroleum has been effectively using various capabilities of System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2, including asset management, software updates, and software distribution. This has helped the company achieve standardisation while improving security and compliance. "Microsoft is our strategic technology partner and is supporting us in multiple IT initiatives," says Mirza. "We are proud to have taken the lead in deploying the latest Microsoft technologies, which are helping us achieve our business and IT goals."
In 2010, Pakistan Petroleum implemented Zero Touch Installation functionality - an operating system deployment feature - for System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2. It's also implementing Windows Server 2008 R2 Network Access Protection to help ensure that non-compliant systems are quarantined and then auto-remediated through System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2.
With the Microsoft System Center suite of products, Pakistan Petroleum has automated the management of its infrastructure and worked to give its employees better service availability. Installation time has been significantly reduced - from two hours to 45 minutes.
- Standardized communications platform improves productivity and services.The Microsoft technologies are giving the government of the Punjab a more reliable, scalable, and redundant messaging service. Ghani says: "We're now a major step forward in our vision to make the Punjab a hub of IT in delivering better services to citizens."
- Technology refresh promotes social inclusion with better services at district level.In the past, civil servants working at district level in the province often had inferior communications tools compared to their colleagues working in the main centers of population. Ghani says: "Expanding our services from the center to district level will help promote social inclusion and provide better and more reliable public services."
- Improved manageability helps reduce operating costs. With the System Center suite of products, PITB will significantly reduce operating costs because it will no longer depend on manual intervention for software updates and security. As a result, technicians will be freed for higher value work in developing applications and future proofing the infrastructure in preparation for introducing SharePoint and a Microsoft Citizen Services Platform.
- Partner helps in transferring knowledge to PITB technicians. Ghani says: "Inbox Business Technologies played a vital role in knowledge transfer, as well as offering local support. Microsoft Services first engaged PITB in the envisioning session and design analysis, that was later deployed by Inbox."
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