When Group IT Manager Jacques Yalenghadian reviewed Merit Corporation’s IT environment, he knew things could be improved to better support its staff. The corporation owns CMA CGM, one of the world’s largest shipping businesses, and a group of trucking, logistics, freight forwarding, insurance brokerage, and travel agency companies in Lebanon and around the Middle East.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the IT systems were not homogeneous. As Yalenghadian describes, “There were a lot of siloes, and the systems themselves were saturated, depreciated, and at the limit of capacity and performance. They just weren’t top-notch.”
While CMA CGM is autonomous, the other group companies all relied on Yalenghadian’s small IT team to support their needs.
“We thought carefully about how to improve the platform bearing in mind the multiplicity of activities, how they come together at some points but are mainly different. We also had to consider our geographic locations and how we could serve distributed offices,” Yalenghadian explains. In the end, he says:
“We chose to rebuild from scratch. We designed a new architecture for our servers and for end users. After considerable evaluation, analysis and research, we opted to go for Citrix XenApp to ensure total virtualization for our staff.”
Merit worked with Citrix Gold Solution Advisor Procomix Technology Group to design and implement the solution.
“They do their job without carrying a single document in their laptops”
With businesses across the Middle East, Merit’s staff travel frequently. Improving mobility and security were important goals for the IT refresh.
“People used to take laptops with them carrying all the data and documents they needed,” says Yalenghadian. “Today, they might still take the laptop, but when they land, whichever country they are in, they just connect to our main system using Citrix. All the information they need stays secure in our datacenter. They do their jobs without carrying a single document in their laptops. All data is fully backed up, and we have no risk of confidentiality breaches, accidental loss, or corrupted documents. Our information has become a lot more secure and reliable.”
Cost savings and efficiency
Merit’s move to a virtual and desktop infrastructure has saved significant time and money, too. “Setting up a new employee’s workstation costs half as much as before,” Yalenghadian explains, “and it takes less than 10 percent of the time.”
Merit has also made “considerable savings” by extending the life of older PCs, which now simply act as thin-client terminals for the virtual desktop.
There are operational efficiency gains, too. “It has become a breeze to support the system. Our support team is a lot less stressed,” Yalenghadian says.
Making time for innovation
“Citrix has given us the time to think of new initiatives,” Yalenghadian says. “With a more stable system, we have time to discuss where we can add value for the business. That's a luxury we didn't have a few months ago.” Business analyst Sami Hajal says, “We are exploring marketing automation, robotics and the use of VR and AR technologies to promote the business. And, in the next few months, the IT department will become revenue-generating as we sell our services to other group companies. Whatever they need, we can deliver through Citrix.”