ELARABY Group is a developer and manufacturer of consumer electronics and home appliances in Egypt, Middle East and Africa. The company’s products are widely accepted in more than 60 countries. The group recently collaborated with Riverbed to boost worker user experience and data optimisation. Medhat ElAraby, Vice President, ELARABY Group, tells Intelligent CIO Africa, why it was important for the company to implement this project.
ELARABY is a household name in Egypt. It has retail outlets throughout the country and is a major employer. The group manufactures home electronics under its own brand and sells a number of market-leading, global brands in its stores.
The business is also increasingly international. It has a growing retail presence in 22 countries, from South Africa to the United Arab Emirates and to remain competitive, it must operate to the best global standards. The business has more than 40,000 employees, 16 commercial and industrial enterprises, over 3,000 sales partners, 17 trade stores across Egypt and approximately 600 after-sales service centres. From an IT perspective, it prizes efficiency, agility and scalability.
ELARABY wants to ensure all locations and all employees are connected. It has migrated to Microsoft Office 365 and favours a cloud-first strategy: ideally, all applications will be hosted in the cloud.
“Our use of the cloud is growing. We have already migrated one of our data centres to Azure and we are leveraging both PaaS and SaaS,” said Medhat ElAraby, Vice President, ELARABY Group.
Inevitably, this has a huge impact on the amount of data moving between sites. For ELARABY, the challenge is to reduce data transfer costs and optimise speed.
ElAraby added that: “We have a huge amount of data from Exchange and SAP transferring between our data centres and our sites. Latency impacts many aspects of the business, from direct sales and production, to store management and marketing.”
There was also an impact on users. After investing heavily in Office 365, ELARABY found many users suffered slow loading times or unresponsive features due to inherent network issues, which wasn’t supporting the organisation’s vision of more connected, collaborative working.
Riverbed SaaS Accelerator and Cloud Accelerator
With the help of Riverbed partner, Global Brands Group, ELARABY investigated solutions that would enhance the performance of Microsoft collaboration suites from any network. A trusted Microsoft specialist in Egypt, the Global Brands team was also ideally suited to advise on which solutions would work best with Office 365 and ELARABY’s existing Microsoft Exchange server.
“We needed to provide ELARABY with a solution that would ensure it had the connectivity and secure performance it needed to maintain its reputation as a reliable and trusted retailer,” said Ahmed El Missiry, Global Brands’ Digital Transformation Advisor. “It quickly became clear that Riverbed was the right choice for these needs.”
Microsoft and Riverbed’s long-standing global partnership has also helped ELARABY due to the strong level of collaboration between the local sales and technical teams.
“With its workforce spread across a vast geography and its focus on a cloud-first IT strategy, ELARABY has benefitted greatly from the joint value proposition of Microsoft Office 365 and the Riverbed acceleration solutions,” said Mirna Arif, Country General Manager, Microsoft Egypt. “This has ultimately translated to a robust solution that enables ELARABY to offer its employees a consistent and impressive user experience across their collaboration and productivity applications.”
ELARABY has recently extended Riverbed SteelHead with the addition of six new appliances and one software instance in Azure. In addition, the company has deployed 3,500 licenses of Riverbed SaaS Accelerator, as well as Riverbed Cloud Accelerator.
“We wanted a solution that could compress data before sending it between sites. We could see immediately how Riverbed’s technology could address latency,” said ElAraby.
SteelHead is the industry’s number one optimisation solution for accelerated delivery of any application across the hybrid WAN. Leveraging SteelHead’s unmatched data, transport and application streamlining technologies, ELARABY can significantly improve control and business agility.
Riverbed’s SaaS Accelerator solution spins up in the cloud and works with any SteelHead appliance or software-based Client Accelerator agent. It enables ELARABY to determine which applications to accelerate based on business priorities and to get started with a single click.
Connecting a regional workforce
In total, 6,000 users at ELARABY now have access to Office 365 and the improved performance across email, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service and Field Service, and SAP, and its had a direct and very positive impact on retail and production.
The effect has been transformative. ELARABY has reduced data transmission between sites by 60%, which on average, results in 900GB less data per day. The group is now far more efficient in the way data is consumed. This is delivering cost savings and improving connectivity and collaboration between sites and teams. Data is also better managed.
ElAraby added that: “The encryption of data is very important to us because all the data transferred in the organisation has value – whether its sales figures, product designs or customer insights. Securing our data helps us maintain our competitive advantage.”
There is also the impact on users. With quick speeds and responsive features, ELARABY is getting full value out of its Office 365 investment. Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Stream and file sharing are now common workplace tools. “Riverbed optimises and compresses the SaaS data perfectly. We see it accelerating the data between Office 365 and the end-user,” said ElAraby.Click below to share this article