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CASAIS, one of Portugal?s largest construction companies, operates in 60 locations across Europe and Africa. When CASAIS planned to rollout SAP, a key application, to its locations in Africa, the challenge was to maintain the centralized IT strategy with a private cloud, even over the wide area network (WAN).


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Construction

Challenges

  • Employees unable to access mission critical applications over the WAN resulting in reduced productivity

Solution

  • Riverbed Steelhead appliances
  • Riverbed Steelhead Mobile Client software
  • Riverbed Steelhead Mobile Controller

Benefits

  • Up to 50x improvement in average response time for SAP
  • Up to 90% reduction in bandwidth utilization
  • Avoided bandwidth upgrade costs estimated at€50,000 per year
  • Workers able to access applications in remote locations
  • Improved employee productivity
  • Return on investment (ROI) in two months

CASAIS

Riverbed Steelhead appliances accelerate critical applications, eliminate need for a costly bandwidth upgrade and improve employee productivity for construction company

CASAIS (www.casais.pt) is one of Portugal’s largest construction companies and its business interests also encompass real estate, engineering, tourism, environment and energy. It has 3000 employees and an annual turnover of € 290 million.

Challenge: Employees unable to access mission-critical applications over the WAN

CASAIS has 60 locations across Europe and Africa. The company has a centralized IT infrastructure and employees access files and applications such as SAP, Microsoft SharePoint, Office and Outlook from the company’s data center in Portugal, via a wide area network (WAN).

When CASAIS planned to rollout SAP to Africa, the challenge was to maintain the centralized IT strategy with a private cloud. In particular there was concern that the poor network connectivity in Africa would jeopardize this strategy.

CASAIS also has more than 100 remote workers who often work at construction sites. These sites usually have poor network facilities making it difficult for employees to access files and data from the private cloud. The company wanted a solution that could improve access to mission- critical applications for workers at these remote sites as well.

Solution: Riverbed WAN optimization solution results in up to 90% reduction in bandwidth utilization and up to 50x improvement in SAP average response times

CASAIS decided to explore a WAN optimization solution after hearing about the suite of products offered by Riverbed Technology. “We selected a shortlist of two potential WAN optimization vendors including Riverbed” explains Guilherme Teixeira, IT manager at CASAIS. “We ran a pilot between our data center in Portugal and the Angolan office.

The results of the pilot were conclusive. The other solution didn’t reach more than a 15% reduction in bandwidth utilization, but with the Riverbed Steelhead appliance, the reduction was between 40% and 90%,” says Teixeira, “and the average response time for SAP R3 was improved by 2 to 50-fold when using Riverbed.”

“Other factors also played a part in our decision to opt for Riverbed,” says Teixeira. “We calculated that by using Riverbed we would make considerable savings, because we would not have to invest in additional leased lines in order to increase bandwidth. We were also impressed with the technical support we received from Riverbed.”

Benefits: Access to critical applications and employee productivity improved, avoided costly bandwidth upgrade and ROI delivered in two months

Riverbed Steelhead appliances were deployed at CASAIS data center in Portugal and the Angolan office. With the average response time for SAP improved, employee productivity has increased as a result. “The employees in our Angolan office are very pleased with the results and now use SAP R3 with no problems,” says Teixeira. “In fact, it would have been impossible to rollout SAP R3 to Africa without Riverbed.”

Significant cost savings have been achieved too. “The return on investment (ROI) was almost immediate,” explains Teixeira. “If we hadn’t used Riverbed, we would have been forced to lease more lines to increase bandwidth. Riverbed saved us around € 75,000 ($99,000) in bandwidth costs in its first year of deployment and we’ll save around € 50,000 ($66,000) each year thereafter. Based on these costs we experienced an ROI within two months of deploying Riverbed.”

Remote workers are also reaping the benefits as CASAIS invested in the Riverbed Steelhead Mobile software client, a solution that provides remote workers with improved access and performance, regardless of where they are located. “Many construction projects are in remote locations with poor network facilities. Often users experience poor application download speeds, causing a lot of frustration as they wait to access files and data. Steelhead Mobile helps us resolve this issue,” says Teixeira.

Riverbed Professional Services assisted with the installation and integration of the WAN optimization solution. “We have a complex network setup within CASAIS but we experienced no problems with installation. In addition, the technology from Riverbed is transparent – it works quietly and effectively in the background,” says Teixeira.

“As a company we have been so pleased with the results obtained by deploying the Riverbed solution that we’re now considering further deployments in other countries where employees are experiencing poor application performance. Without Riverbed the alternatives would have been costly,” concludes Teixeira.

SUMMARY

When CASAIS rolled out SAP R3, one of its key applications, it found that its branch office in Angola could not use this mission-critical application. The company also wanted to improve application performance for its remote workers, maintaining the strategy of rolling out the main applications in a private cloud basis.

After testing potential WAN optimization solutions, CASAIS selected Riverbed Steelhead appliances and Riverbed Steelhead Mobile. The result is up to 50x improvement in file response times for SAP, increased productivity, a 90% reduction in bandwidth utilization, significant cost savings, and remote workers can now access applications regardless of where they are based.

“It would have been impossible to rollout SAP R3 to Africa without Riverbed”

“Riverbed saved us around €75,000 ($99,000) in bandwidth costs in its first year of deployment.”

“Without Riverbed the alternatives would have been costly and probably not as successful.”

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