Scalable Alloy Navigator 5 Serves Leo Burnett Growth
22 May 2006
Yesterday and Today
In 1999, Bassem Aboukhater joined Leo Burnett Dubai as IT director, when the company had just 75 employees. By 2006, the company could boast a total of 700 end-users from Leo Burnett Group and Starcom MediaVest Group, both part of the second largest communications group in the world: Publicis Groupe holding company. Approximately half of these end-users, collectively supported by eight staff members from the IT department, are located in Dubai. The rest are geographically distributed throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including Saudi Arabia, Beirut, Cairo, and Morocco.
With hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure and real estate projects, it should come as no surprise that the booming urban metropolis of Dubai is where the Leo Burnett communications network would establish a strategic foothold. Since its inception, the Leo Burnett company has taken well-deserved credit for some of the world's most memorable advertising campaigns, including:
- Tony the Tiger (for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes)
- The Dependability People (for Maytag appliances)
- Morris the Cat (for 9 Lives cat food)
- Fly the Friendly Skies (for United Airlines)
- Charlie the Tuna (for Star-Kist)
Home to approximately 17 percent of the world's construction cranes as well as The Palm Islands, the three largest man-made islands in the world, Dubai's newest ambition includes plans to build the world's largest airport. To service the business needs resulting from such colossal expansion, the Leo Burnett Group has grown accordingly to include 7 companies that encompass advertising, media, public relations, and digital Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
By the time 90 new employees were added to Leo Burnett Group in the year 2005 alone, Aboukhater had already realized the critical need for a Service Management and Asset Management solution that could effectively handle the company's skyrocketing growth rate.
Implementing Alloy Navigator
When Aboukhater first began his association with Leo Burnett Dubai, the company had been growing steadily year after year. However, despite this continual growth, there was no Service Management or Asset Management solution in place — that is, until Aboukhater discovered Alloy Software's Asset Navigator Version 3.0 on the web.
Over the years, he continued to upgrade all the way to Asset Navigator V4.5. In the process, he identified two new pressing requirements:
- The ability to audit end-users' Macintosh machines, since these are used heavily in the advertising field
- To implement a fully integrated solution that would help LBG handle their staggering growth rate
When Aboukhater contacted Alloy about these issues, Alloy responded in kind about its impending Alloy Navigator 5 solution. When Alloy released Alloy Navigator 5 in January 2006, Aboukhater immediately upgraded. "Version 5 would answer all my questions," he states.
Thanks for all the help and support. You've been of great assistance in getting us up and running as quickly as possible. We're very impressed with what we've seen so far, and I'm sure we still have lots of great features to be discovered. The whole team at Alloy Software has done an excellent job.
After installing Alloy Navigator 5, they created a new blank database, then used the Active Directory Import tool to automatically import persons from the Active Directory. Next, they used the Network Inventory module to automatically repopulate the new production database with all of their infrastructure assets. Aboukhater tested the new system for about three to four weeks before officially implementing it. "All in all," he reports, "it's been a good experience."
"Alloy Navigator has tons of features," Aboukhater states, "and we're not even scratching the surface yet." These features include the Library, Reports, and Business Logic. About the Business Logic function, Aboukhater says, "I've done some rules, and I can see the potential for supporting specific applications."
What I really like about your software is how intuitive it is and how simple it is to use. It has a lot of functionality in a very elegant way. Alloy Navigator 5 has one of the best user interfaces I have ever seen.
For example, emails can be sent to a specific mailbox, then be automatically converted into support tickets, and then be automatically assigned to a specific technician group.
He says, "This is really, really powerful, and I like the way it works."
One element of Alloy Navigator that Aboukhater truly appreciates is the design of its user interface. He says, "What I really like about your software is how intuitive it is, and how simple it is to use. It has a lot of functionality in a very elegant way. Alloy Navigator has one of the best user interfaces I have ever seen." He adds, "It's really simple, and doesn't require a lot of training and reading to use the product."
Streamlining More Processes
Several other service-related processes that Aboukhater says have benefited from their implementation of Alloy Navigator 5 include:
- Change Management - Using Alloy Navigator's Change Request tickets to officially authorize changes to their infrastructure
- Knowledge Management - Using the Knowledge Base to publish "how-to" articles that can answer end-users' questions about such common applications as Word and Excel
- Facilities Management - Including setting up phones and other tasks relevant to a constantly changing work environment
Leo Burnett Dubai is also using Alloy Navigator 5 to help ensure its compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, known informally as "SOX."
One of the major provisions of SOX is that public corporations furnish independent annual reports to verify to auditors that internal control and structure exists for ensuring accurate financial reporting.
IT has a major role in these internal controls, since financial reporting is driven by IT systems.
Aboukhater states, "We need it for SOX compliance. It's a great tool to keep track of everything. SOX mandates a lot of things, makes you responsible for things. SOX compliance puts a lot of pressure on IT for compliance. There are lots of controls and procedures, and we need to prove authorization. The tracking in Alloy Navigator is excellent. Whenever you need to prove these things, the Alloy Navigator requests and Work Orders are a big help."
He continues, "SOX mandates that you should be able to prove what you say you're doing." Aboukhater cites the hiring of new employees to illustrate a specific example: Whenever a new employee is hired, a representative from their Human Resources department submits a request to the IT department that a new person is coming on board. To submit their requests, Aboukhater provides all LBG end-users with the option to use any one of three support channels:
- Self-Service Portal
- Email (sent to a Help Desk account and automatically converted to Incident tickets)
Once the IT department receives this request, they'll create a new network account for this person. Their Active Directory is synchronized with Alloy Navigator's database; that is, whenever the Active Directory Import tool is run by Alloy Navigator's Automation Server, a new user account for this person will automatically be created in the database.
If 90 new employees were hired in a given year, according to Aboukhater, the SOX auditor would want to see documentation about all these new hires.
In this case, he can go right back to the Alloy Navigator database and show the initial requests to order and install new computer systems for these new employees.
He can also use the activity logs in Incident and Work Order tickets to easily demonstrate an accurate trail of all the tasks related to getting new employees up and running.
Fully Scalable for Future Growth
In this way, Aboukhater is not only using Alloy Navigator 5 for service support and asset management, he's also using it to "trace their business processes," he says. He states, "It's helping us manage the growth, the support, and the assets. Alloy Navigator is making life a lot easier, keeping track of what's going on."
In fact, one of Aboukhater's many current projects includes a total re-working of one of his company's floors, which currently houses between 50 and 60 end-users. This requires a tremendous amount of help from the IT group, including temporarily shifting all of these employees around.
And Aboukhater has a steady flow of new employees coming in each week. He says, "This is not an average workload, and it has been this way for over a year!"
Aboukhater can clearly count on Alloy Software's scalable Alloy Navigator solution to successfully manage the unprecedented amount of work generated from such a rapid expansion rate. By using Alloy Navigator to streamline their service processes, the IT group can deliver highly efficient support, which further enhances business productivity and drives continuous revenue growth.
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