Rapid growth at Saudi Electricity Company-the main electricity provider in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-meant the organization needed a versatile and easy-to-manage messaging environment. It chose to upgrade its Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 solution to take advantage of the enhancements in Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. Since the implementation, the organization has achieved many of its goals, including a more streamlined messaging infrastructure. This has resulted in a reduction in server numbers from 43 to 25 and operating savings of 40 percent. Most importantly, all 27,000 employees can access a consistent, reliable, and more efficient email and messaging service-whether they’re in one of the 400 offices or on the road. This helps them meet personal goals and dramatically improve customer service.
Saudi Electricity Company generates, transmits, and distributes electricity across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 2003, the organization underwent a transformation, which saw the merger of all Saudi electricity companies to form a single joint-stock firm.
Today, it’s the main electricity provider in Saudi Arabia, employing 27,000 members of staff across 400 offices-including 66 power plants and 225 customer service offices. All IT operations are supported by four separately located data centers-one in Riyadh at the head office, and the other three in Jeddah, Dammam, and Abha.
Sulayman Al Sugair, ICT Network Operations Department Manager at Saudi Electricity Company, oversees the technical resources that support the organization’s messaging solutions. He explains that managing the IT needs of so many employees in hundreds of disparate offices from multiple data centers has become increasingly difficult. In particular, keeping users connected at any time, from any location and while travelling is a huge challenge. Al Sugair says: "To provide the best possible service to our customers, our business relies on the efficient flow of information among employees. They often have to travel for meetings, but they’re still expected to respond to email queries and approve documents quickly."
Saudi Electricity Company needed to improve mobile access to its messaging system so that all employees, including those in the field, received a consistent email service to help them work more efficiently. At the time, the organization used Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 for email, calendar, and contacts. While this provided a reliable solution for many years, Al Sugair knew that there were significant enhancements in Exchange Server technology that could benefit the company.
Saudi Electricity Company also needed to ease its operational management burden. Yahya Abdulrahman, Chief Information Officer at Saudi Electricity Company, says: "We wanted to merge our four data centers, a project that would require a major reduction in the number of servers we use. To meet our target for streamlining the business, we also hoped to reduce total cost of ownership through a reduction in licenses and administrative needs."
Exchange Server 2010 builds on the features of earlier release Microsoft Exchange Server technology to enhance the messaging experience. Users can access email, calendar, and contacts on their computers, mobile devices, and web browsers. For Saudi Electricity Company, the advanced security features are critical.
Ziyad Abdulrahman Al-Majid, Email Service Manager at Saudi Electricity Company, says: "Strict government guidelines specify language and words that are not to be used in messages, so we set security measures to block some of these words. Exchange Server 2010 offers the business greater control over policy support and can allow, block, or quarantine information, while exceptions can be set for individual users if needed. Saudi Electricity Company can also protect valuable business data with features that include automatic encryption and spam filtering.
Abdulhakeem M Bukhari, Manager of Network Services Division and Unified Communications Group Leader, Saudi Electricity Company, says: "Today, around 70 percent of employees at Saudi Electricity Company access Exchange Server 2010 applications on a mixture of devices. The technology synchronizes with hundreds of mobile device types, so all employees can use the technology, whether they have a Windows Phone, an iPhone, or an Android device."
Employees in the office and on the road use Microsoft Lync Server 2010 for unified communications. Users can keep track of their contacts’ availability, send instant messages, and initiate or take part in audio, video, or web conferences. Lync Server 2010 integrates closely with Exchange Server 2010, so users can access these features through their Microsoft Outlook 2010 messaging and collaboration client.
Since upgrading its messaging solution to Exchange Server 2010, Saudi Electricity Company has reduced the hardware supporting its operations and refined its IT management needs. Most importantly, the new technology gives employees the tools to work more efficiently when travelling. Abdulrahman says: "The Chief Executive Officer, our executive directors, and all our key members of staff use this service. Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 has become so valuable in helping us provide a better service that it is now central to our company’s operations."
Data Centers Can Be Consolidated as Server Numbers AreCutfrom 43 to 25
Improvements in Exchange Server 2010 make it far more cost-effective for Saudi Electricity Company than its previous solution. Increased virtual address space means that each server can potentially support up to 100 databases and up to 4,000 mailboxes. Al-Majid says: "We have decreased the number of servers from 43 to just 25. This makes a vast difference to our management needs, and it is now possible to look at reducing the size of our data centers. It’s great that we’ve achieved these goals so easily."
Lower Licensing and Storage Requirements Cut Costs by 40 Percent
Al Sugair says the company has seen dramatic savings through more efficient use of servers, the subsequent reduction in hardware, and the need for fewer Exchange Server and security licenses. "We believe that all of these factors have contributed to an operating cost reduction of at least 40 percent," he says. "We expect to see further savings because employees can communicate more efficiently from any location. For example, they no longer need to travel so frequently and this will help to cut transport costs and increase their time for valuable work."
Customer Service Is Enhanced with Faster, More Reliable Mobile Access
The technology has helped the business improve mobile access for employees, and, in turn, they can deliver a better service to customers. Bukhari says: "If a customer is disconnected from the power supply, for example, they contact the distribution office. In the past, the customer services employee may have had difficulty reaching the relevant colleague to resolve the problem. Today, with Exchange Server 2010 and its integration with Microsoft Lync Server 2010, users can be confident of reaching the right contact quickly so customer issues can be resolved promptly."
IT Staff Manage 50 Percent Fewer Servers, Easing Administration Burden
IT administrators at Saudi Electricity Company can configure mailbox databases in Exchange Server 2010 to ensure the highest availability. This way, they lower the cost and effort involved in ensuring that users experience an always-on, resilient messaging solution. The organization is in the process of reducing its data centers, and through this technology, it is also streamlining management and administrative needs.
Al-Majid says: "The IT email team now manages just 25 servers instead of 43, and spends less time overseeing our messaging environment. Administrators can work proactively, focusing on the delivery of new solutions to support the business and employees in the future."
Yahya Abdulrahman, Chief Information Officer, Saudi Electricity Company
Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
For more information about the Microsoft server product portfolio, go to:
For more information about Microsoft Exchange Server, go to:
For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
For more information about Microsoft Services products and services, call or visit the website at:www.microsoft.com/microsoftservices/
For more information about Saudi Electricity Company products and services, call or visit the website at:www.se.com.sa
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.