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Outsourcing to focus

F.Y. Teng | Feb. 10, 2012
How an advanced global ICT hub can be built quickly with the right partner.

Elematec Corporation, the Tokyo-based specialised trader of high-tech parts for electronics manufacturers, operates 54 branches across the world and has been expanding its operations across the globe continually for years now. In 2008, as part of its growth plans to meet the ever-increasing demands of its partners and customers, the company designated its branch office in Hong Kong SAR, Elematec Hong Kong Limited, the management centre and host of its ICT infrastructure for all of its 34 offices in Asia (excluding Japan), Europe and the Americas. The Elematec senior management’s choice to locate its ICT hub in Hong Kong was due in part to its best position as a gateway to China.

Once the directive came down from Tokyo, Hiroshi Adachi, IT Manager, Information Strategy Department, Elematec Hong Kong, acted swiftly—he itemised the challenges facing his team and chose the technologies and the partner in a matter of months, and within a couple years, he had put together the one stop shop of all ICT resources that his bosses had asked for.

By the end of 2011, Elematec Hong Kong’s capabilities included the provision of a fully redundant data centre for business continuity, managed services, value-added security protection and world-class network connectivity for stability and speed, to Elematec facilities across Asia, Europe and the Americas, including the company’s new operations in India and Poland. Supplementing that were enhanced global management of those services and 24 by 7 local support for the various customised Elematec systems, which had been integrated earlier as part of the ICT hub’s construction. The new setup was also especially well protected against DDOS attacks, attributable to Elematec’s partner NTT Communication’s proactive connectivity services.

“Today, we manage 34 overseas offices and are continuously expanding into new markets. All of our critical IT infrastructure and services are centrally managed in Hong Kong,” Adachi says.

Putting IT Together
Adachi faced huge challenges from the onset, but he also saw great benefits that could be realised if he succeeded in double time. He had only a small team of IT professionals based in Hong Kong to manage the ICT infrastructure and maintenance of Elematec’s growing number of overseas offices. At the same time, there was constantly growing demand for IT resources and manpower support. Immediately, he considered outsourcing and consolidating Elematec’s global IT infrastructure, which would help reduce IT operation overheads along with the associated internal workloads foisted on his IT team.

He also saw the myriad virtues–or rather, absolute necessity–of having an ICT infrastructure that offers high-speed, reliable global network connectivity with low latency for Elematec’s business, which really needs assured smooth running of its enterprise resource planning, accounting and other critical applications at all times. And in any case, Elematec needed to outsource to a reliable data centre to co-locate the servers running these critical applications.

The choice was clear, as far as Adachi’s concerned. With all these requirements in mind, “it was essential for us to find a reliable partner capable of providing a full suite of ICT solutions, including a highly reliable and secure data centre, coupled with a world-class quality network and proactive managed services,” he says. “The partner also needed to have an extensive global presence, robust financial capability and high scalability that could grow with us wherever we go.”

The Suite Approach
Adachi chose to run with NTT Communications as their ICT partner after doing the due diligence, running by more than a few global service providers available on the market, sifting through their documentation, and evaluating their various grades and spreads of offerings. The decision, according to sources at Elematec Hong Kong was a fairly easy one to make since NTT Communications delivered the “all-round services that fulfilled the company’s needs at one stop.”

These, they say, include: a fully redundant data centre for business continuity; extensive coverage not only in Asia Pacific, but also in Europe and the Americas; world-class network connectivity that comes with high stability and speeds; a proven outstanding managed services history and portfolio; and, “value-added security protection.”

Having a fully redundant data centre for business continuity to rely on was essential for Elematec, given the pace of its growth. That was why Elematec was among the first premier enterprise customers at Tier III+ in NTT Communications’ Hong Kong Data Centre in 2008. And that was why it chose to extend the relationship further. The continually enhanced purpose-built, fully redundant data centre now delivers the reliability, scalability and flexibility required to ensure Elematec’s undisrupted business operations for critical enterprise applications, and also accommodate the company’s future growth around the world.

Elematec was equally wowed by NTT Communications’ comprehensive set of connectivity services. At present, Elematec uses NTT Communications’ Arcstar Global IP-VPN–reputedly one of the world’s largest MPLS IP-VPN networks–to connect its regional offices in Asia, Europe and America with its Hong Kong ICT hub. Elematec has also adopted vIP-Net, which is HKNet’s premium Internet service backed by NTT Communications’ Global Tier-I IP backbone.

To date, the relationship with NTT Communications has eased the workloads on Adachi’s team immensely, since it includes a slew of managed professional services on a global scale to see to the provision of round-the-clock consulting, monitoring and IT support services to Elematec’s 34 overseas offices. At the same time, NTT Communications’ managed services organisation sends out regular network and hardware performance reports to Adachi and his team to further help them review and prioritise their IT resources, and proactively plan for future growth more effectively.

Going with NTT Communications as a partner also gave Elematec the level of security it was comfortable with. In fact, it reported experienced improvements in network security after the deployment of NTT Communications’ Samurai Traffic Analysis System, which proactively detects and alerts the network administrator of anomaly traffic from DDOS attacks. Since the system’s deployment in 2010, the number of DDOS attacks on Elematec’s servers has been substantially reduced.

Speed Essentials
Adachi and his team appear to be more than satisfied with their choice of outsourcing the key aspects of their critical infrastructure. For one, it means ensured service levels. “NTT Communications understands Elematec’s business and IT needs for a fast, reliable and stable network to serve our overseas international offices,” says Adachi. “Thanks to its global management and local support, both our ICT hub in Hong Kong and our new establishments in India or Poland etc have benefited from its world-class services.”

For another, assured constant infrastructure enhancements and raised security levels that does not incur a strain on internal IT resources. Adachi says that by partnering with “the best-in-class network provider,” his company’s systems “were integrated seamlessly no matter where the regional offices were located” and that his company “was particularly impressed by NTT Communications’ proactive service enhancement initiatives,” which he says “could not be found elsewhere among local service providers.”

Of course, the most important value the outsourcing relationship has delivered to Adachi’s team and their business, is that it frees their time and resources, by taking the day-to-day running of ICT, for devotion to business-building activities. “At the first sign of a technical glitch, NTT Communications has always moved quickly to identify the issue and dispatch engineers to help,” says Adachi. “Whether the issue is overall network monitoring, or small matters such as hardware detection errors, a loose cable, or even a printer failure, NTT Communications has acted quickly and effectively. The team virtually offloads a significant burden from Elematec’s shoulders and allows us to focus on our core expansion plans in Asia and beyond.”

And that next step beyond is what Adachi and his team are working on as you read this.

 

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