Networking

Charting a new course

Secure, scalable infrastructure supports the first 3G operator in the Middle East during exponential growth, whilst delivering innovative services to distributors and clients alike.

Imagine launching a company into immediate exponential growth. Whilst undoubtedly the dream of potential CEOs the world over, the challenges faced in providing a world class service to every client during such growth cannot be underestimated. And indeed, may lead to the collapse of an organization not prepared for such immediate success.

The challenge

Yet since 2005 this is the environment in which Mobily, launched as the second mobile operator in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the first provider of 3G services in the Middle East, have found themselves.

With the mission to provide the best standard of mobile services and products to the Saudi people, and brand values based on service dependability and simplicity, they have grown in just three years into an organization with 15 million customers, a network spanning the Middle East, and plans to extend into Asia and beyond.

And with an ever growing network of distributors and a diversifying portfolio of service options, Mobily need to guarantee absolute security and 24/7 access to their back end systems in order for distributors and engineers to deliver on their brand values, whilst coping with literally millions of new contracts per year.

But Mobily were prepared for this. Prior to launch they worked with BETA, the regional implementation experts to deploy Citrix Enterprise Presentation Server to ensure rapid scalability via server virtualization, and Citrix Access Gateway to deliver the secure remote access needed by distributors and engineers.

The combination of these, they were confident, would provide the security and reliability their customers expected, whilst delivering the necessary business agility to cope with rapid growth and changing customer demands.

Systems scalability

Having grown from a fledgling telecoms provider into one of the fastest growing telecoms companies in the world in just over three years, the scalability delivered by Enterprise Presentation Server has proven to be mission critical to Mobily’s business.

“As we have grown, we continue to deploy new tariffs and services, and with the deployment of 4G our portfolio will grow again,” said Emad Mohammed Abushab, Senior Systems Engineer in Mobily’s Data Network Department.

“Citrix Enterprise Presentation Server allows us to virtualize our infrastructure, meaning that we maximize the performance and utilization of our resources, and can deploy, test and launch new services whilst guaranteeing complete business continuity with no downtime,” he continued. “Furthermore, planned maintenance can be undertaken by migrating services to other servers, which means there is no service interruption. This is critical in our business, where clients rightly expect complete service reliability at all times.”

With a large network of distributors spread across the Kingdom, and confidential personal data being integral to each new account, the ability for distributors to activate and deactivate services in complete security is crucial to Mobily.

“All our branches, regardless of where they are in the Kingdom, use Citrix, and only Citrix, to serve our customers requirements. Through Access Gateway they can log on to our back end systems to activate and deactivate the full suite of services. We find this to be very fast and secure,” said Abushab.

Remote Access

Mobily’s team of more than one thousand engineers can remotely access back end systems through Access Gateway, using their Blackberry devices, again allowing Mobily to benefit from resource efficiency for systems administration. And building on the benefits of remote access from around the Kingdom and further afield, Mobily are currently implementing Voice over IP (VoIP) with video streaming for their engineers.

“Although many of our engineers operate remotely, we are a team, and with VoIP and video streaming all our engineers will be able to participate in presentations and conferences taking place in our head offices and abroad. This will become increasingly important as we continue to grow, and make sure that we continue to work closely together, and learn from each other,” remarked Abushab.

Future plans

Mobily continue to grow and to offer a wider portfolio of services to their customer base. And as they grow, they continue to look for ways to deliver the service dependability and simplicity that their brand is based on.

“We are currently investigating mobile self services as a future offering. By that I mean allowing our customers to access our back end systems through their own mobile devices, to activate and deactivate services whenever they choose, without having to go through our Customer Services team. Although this as a service is still in discussion, with Citrix in place it is a real possibility. And I see it fits our mission perfectly,” stated Abushab.

Photo Caption in the homepage: Emad Mohammed Abushab, Senior Systems Engineer, Data Network Department, Mobily (second from left) with the IT team

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