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Dhiraagu - Maldives Forges Strategic Partnership with Microsoft Sri Lanka

Dhiraagu - Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun Private Limited, the leading telecommunications service provider in the Maldives, has entered into a strategic partnership with Microsoft by opting for the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, which is Microsoft’s most preferred offering to its corporate customers. By forging this significant alliance, Microsoft Sri Lanka further consolidates its growing business influence in the Maldives.

A globally respected national telecommunication company, Dhiraagu owns and operates a fully digital communications network reaching every island and tourist resort in the Maldives. Dhiraagu is a major owner of infrastructure in the Maldives and invests heavily in developing and enhancing the telecommunications of the country, delivering world-class communication services to its customers. One of the prime motivating factors for Dhiraagu to enter into the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement was to achieve enhanced internal effectiveness via a strong messaging and directory services platform, resulting in strengthened relationships with its customers based on the versatility of Microsoft solutions.

Commenting on this landmark agreement, Mr Ismail Rasheed, Chief Executive of Dhiraagu, said: “Collaborating among different business entities and customers spanning across multiple islands in the Maldives has not only been a major challenge for us, but also a critical success factor for our business. Hence, the stability of our messaging and collaboration infrastructure is key to the success of our business. We trust the Microsoft Exchange will provide us with a messaging platform that is reliable, scalable and secure, and provides us with a high level of collaboration and knowledge management capability which is key to our business performance. In addition we hope, Microsoft’s unified communications capability, will be a clear differentiator for our distributed business entities.”

There are a myriad reasons why medium to large sized organisations are opting to sign up for the agreement, rather than running blindly from one software supplier to the next, resulting in solutions that are not streamlined and easy to upscale. Microsoft’s Enterprise Agreement can help to simplify software asset management, make software costs easier to manage, streamline software procurement and maximize software investments over time. The Enterprise Agreement is Microsoft’s most preferred offering for its corporate clients, ensuring that the enterprise partner receives a retinue of value-added benefits coupled with genuine Microsoft software. For example, this agreement provides Dhiraagu with the latest software products of Microsoft such as Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003 for Infrastructure and Directory Services; Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 for Messaging; Microsoft Office 2007 System for personal productivity and Windows Vista for desktop environment.

Software Assurance, which is guaranteed under the Enterprise Agreement, provides a combination of benefits such as automatic new version rights and many other advantages including technical support, software tools, employee training via e-learning and training vouchers and updates on the latest technology. The agreement also works hard for the company by simplifying license administrations and budgeting, removing the liability of administrative burden.

Dhiraagu also plans to implement Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003, which will enable the company to better manage software and hardware assets, improve security and enhance productivity using automated software deployment technologies. The company has implemented a standardized directory service platform based on Windows Server 2003 and a messaging system based on Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 communication and collaboration servers, enabling its employees to communicate more efficiently whilst enhancing productivity significantly.

Commending Dhiraagu for its giant step forward, Sriyan de Silva Wijeyratne, Country Manager of Microsoft Sri Lanka, said: “We have been supporting our customers in Maldives for some time now, but this partnership enables us to take our engagement in Maldives to another level. This agreement has not only provided Dhiraagu with the cutting edge technology that Microsoft provides, but also affirms that Dhiraagu has become a leader in corporate governance by becoming compliant in their IT assets. We are fully committed to supporting Dhiraagu in its current and future ICT requirements as well assisting the company in differentiating its service offering to customers.”

Dhiraagu plans to implement office Communication Server 2007, which is a unified communications solution from Microsoft that helps people communicate seamlessly with others in multiple locations using a range of different communication options, including Instant Messaging (IM), voice and video. Users can start an IM session and add audio and video as the situation demands. Switching between different modes of communication and bringing more people into the conversation is easy through the intuitive interface, one-click actions and presence information. Due to the unique geography of the Maldives, the network backbone is primarily based on a microwave radio system.

To facilitate document sharing and version control among users, Dhiraagu is planning to implement Microsoft SharePoint server, which provides integrated document management and version control capability. Further, the company will be utilizing SharePoint Portal services to create a dash board to share internal business information and indexes.

Applauding the partnership, Channa de Silva, Microsoft’s Enterprise Leader for Sri Lanka, said: “Dhiraagu has been a pioneer in bringing state of the art technologies and innovation to the telecommunications industry in Maldives. Microsoft has a clear vision for the telecommunications industry worldwide and has developed and delivered revolutionized solutions to major telecom providers worldwide. While the telecom companies have concentrated on their core business, Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in research and development to support and enhance their businesses. We are extremely honoured to partner Dhiraagu and provide a competitive advantage via our latest technologies - not only to provide a better TCO for their ICT investments, but also to enable them to generate additional business via a multitude of value-added service offerings.”

Dhiraagu also plans to carry out a comprehensive security assessment of its IT infrastructure with the assistance of Microsoft Sri Lanka in order to enhance the infrastructure security of its existing network. This assessment will provide Dhiraagu with a high level overview of the security of its existing infrastructure and recommendations for its further enhancement.

Since beginning operations in 1988 as the national telecommunications carrier of the Maldives, Dhiraagu has rapidly built a sound, financially strong business based on a commitment to providing innovative products and services and a philosophy that places high value on customer satisfaction. Dhiraagu maintains one of the world’s longest microwave links over water extending over 65kms. The diverse geographical structure and topology of the Maldives makes telecoms services an extremely valuable asset. The Company’s latest venture involved the provision of broadband Internet services to the Atolls, and the linking of the Maldives to the global information highway, with the help of a state-of-the-art fibre-optic submarine cable network. Dhiraagu owns and operates the largest fibre optic submarine cable network in the Maldives with one international link and three domestic links.

Dhiraagu has established operational and support centres in 9 regions across the country, so as to provide fast, reliable and quality service and has a proven record in providing corporate customers with reliable network solutions and superior account support in the rapidly changing marketplace. By deploying Microsoft Sri Lanka’s expertise, Dhiraagu reflects its commitment to its customers to bring them nothing but the best.

More and more corporates in Sri Lanka are opting for the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement once they realise the enormous value this agreement adds to their businesses. In the past, companies that were weak in IT deployment would adopt generic system solutions which would prove to be unreliable, outdated and expensive in the long run. This is where the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement has created the most impact, stepping forward to offer medium to large scale companies the assured comfort of genuine Microsoft products preferred by leading global firms for its robust and reliable software.

Microsoft’s enterprise-ready solutions have proven to be quick to implement with minimum down-time during implementation. The independent nature of its solutions offers individual functioning with the unique option of inter-linking functions according to the needs of the organisation for a seamless fit. The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement is storming corporate corridors globally and is emerging as one of Microsoft’s key offerings, bringing multi-fold benefits to leading companies in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.