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Growth Enabler: Telecom upgrade helps PLG meet changing market requirements

June 01, 2012

Established in 1988, the Punj Lloyd Group (PLG) is a diversified international conglomerate offering engineering, procurement and construction services in the energy and infrastructure sectors. It also has engineering and manufacturing capabilities in the defence sector.

In the energy sector, the company serves the oil and gas, power and renewable energy segments. In the infrastructure space, PLG has been involved in developing projects such as multi-storey buildings and airports. In the defence space, the company’s focus has been on developing land systems as well as designing and engineering aviation defence equipment, etc.

The company also operates in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, etc.

With business growth, PLG realised the importance of upgrading its basic communications infrastructure to one that helped ensure business continuity.

tele.net takes a look at the evolution of the construction major’s telecom set-up...

The legacy system

According to Atul Kumar, chief information officer, PLG, the company has upgraded its communications infrastructure regularly as per its business requirements.

Initially, PLG used email and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. “In 1998, the legacy system was upgraded to the Oracle ERP, Lotus Note email and cloud-based Google applications. These were used by employees across the globe,” Kumar says.

The company shifted to its current infrastructure set-up in 2007. “We implemented another upgradation process as per the business needs. These needs were impacted by the company’s organic and inorganic growth after the acquisition of new organisations in Singapore and the UK,” says Kumar.

Current set-up

Kumar says that PLG’s new infrastructure has been developed and upgraded to enable its business users working in different geographic locations and time zones to seamlessly connect to the Punj Lloyd corporate network.

To achieve this, several connectivity mediums have been used, including an optic fibre network, a person-to-person network, an IP-SEC tunnel, an international MPLS set-up and a secure virtual private network for mobile users.

“This multi-tiered infrastructure provides our employees faster access to business applications, expedites the process of procurement and provides real-time information on financial transactions,” Kumar says.

Users at remote project sites connect to the company’s main network via VSAT (satellite) connectivity, which is ideal for areas where internet and MPLS connectivity is not available.

PLG uses several other applications and platforms as well. These include the Oracle Business Suite for ERP, the Oracle Human Resources Management System, Google Applications on Cloud for email, the Primevara platform for project management and BlackBerry and other business phones for mobility. The company also uses the Enterprise Content Management platform, the “Candy” system for estimating and project control, the Frango application for corporate financial management, and control and engineering applications like AutoCad, StadPro and Offpipe.

Network security is a key priority and the applications and platforms being used to ensure this include the McAfee antivirus management solution, Websense’s data leak prevention platform, Checkpoint’s unified threat management solution and the active directory for authentication and security.

PLG has availed of communication services provided by companies such as Bharti Airtel, Tata Communications, Vodafone India, HECL and Spectranet.

Over the years, PLG has spent over Rs 150 million per annum to build, maintain and support its IT infrastructure and applications. Currently, over 7,000 employees across the globe have access to the company’s network.

Challenges and benefitS

The company faced several challenges during the shift. “Diverse business needs and the feasibility of establishing communications infrastructure in remote areas was a major issue. Also, selecting the right technology – which was flexible and scalable, reduced operational expenses, met future demand and had the ability to carry all types of voice, video and data traffic – was difficult,” Kumar says.

However, the benefits far outweighed the challenges and the shift was worth it. The new set-up has driven the company’s growth. It provides secured and improved access to business applications, faster data access and customer satisfaction.

“Most importantly, the shift was worth it, as our entire group working in 21 countries communicates, interacts and works through this infrastructure,” Kumar says.

Conclusion

Investments in communications infrastructure have helped PLG meet changing market requirements and consolidate its position.


 

 
 

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