Case Studies

Raising the bar

The UAE-based Landmark Group is one of the largest retail and hospitality conglomerates in the Middle East and India, operating over 1000 outlets across 15 countries. Ever since its inception in 1973, the Group has created a diverse portfolio of retail and hospitality brands, with a turnover in excess of $ 3.8 billion with around 32,000 employees.

The Landmark Group was founded in 1973 by Micky Jagtiani. He is the Chairman of Landmark Group and the driving force behind the Group’s phenomenal growth and success. Over the last 35 years, Micky has charted the Group’s journey from a single store in Bahrain in mid 70’s to its current market presence.

The Landmark Group has aggressive expansion plans, growing at a CAGR of 28 percent. This kind of growth often means the IT systems have to scale up to cater to the growing demands of the business, and that is exactly the challenge that faces the Group.

The Group has undertaken many projects to ensure that the IT infrastructure remains up-to-date. A dedicated IT team of 70 professionals maintains the whole technology infrastructure of the Group. Landmark Group’s network supports around 3,500 IT users, spread across various geographical locations. The mission-critical applications running on the network include ERP, HRMS and CRM systems from Oracle, all centrally hosted in a data centre facility located at the Group’s headquarters in Dubai.

In addition to enabling business growth, the IT team also supports Landmark Group’s environment initiative, in an endeavour to reduce the Group’s carbon footprint.

As part of this initiative, the Group’s data centre has been re-engineered recently to make it more energy efficient by moving from precision cooling systems to a hot aisle/cold isle model, to contain heat, which is expected to reduce power consumption by 25 percent.

The Landmark Group’s 66 sq. meter data centre, which houses over 100 servers, is equipped with environmental monitoring systems and FM-200 gas-based fire suppression systems. It is also backed up by a generator which can run for 24 hours in the case of an outage.

Kirit Shah, CIO, Landmark Group

Virtualisation is another major area of focus for the Landmark Group, which has contributed directly to the energy-efficiency programme of the company. The virtualisation project started with a pilot of 10 servers, which used VMware on IBM blade servers, to be consolidated into two, and the plan is to have around 50 percent of the servers virtualised.

Landmark Group is one of the biggest users of the wireless technologies in the region. As part of its roll out of Oracle retail systems, which warrant wireless systems, the Group is now in the process of extending wireless infrastructure across its GCC-wide outlets.  All of the Group’s 16 warehouses are on wireless connectivity, with around 200 access points in the headquarters alone, managed by a central wireless controller.

The campus network, which supports around 1600 users, runs on a fibre-optic network and is 10 Gig enabled. A link aggregation technology is used to manage bandwidth. On the connectivity front, a mix of both VPN and MPLS for wide area network is used. The passive infrastructure is based on Cat 6 A systems and uses LSOH (environment friendly) cabling from 3M and management solutions from Panduit.

Security is also a top priority for Landmarks Group’s IT organisation, which has already implemented multiple layers of security mechanism to safeguard data.  As many locations connect to the data centre, the company is using a firewall with multi-linking feature at the gateway level to segregate various application traffic to maintain and increase performance. This is in addition to an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) and Sophos for end-point protection.

With the ever evolving and competitive nature of IT, the Landmark Group is committed towards continuous research and development in this field, and will continue to dedicate time and resources towards strengthening its IT infrastructure.

 

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