Aljazeera Ford
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Business Challenge

Aljazeera Vehicles is one of the biggest Saudi leading car reseller companies. headquarters located in Riyadh and it has three main branches around KSA – and other small branches, showrooms and workshops.

Aljazeera Vehicles has always invested heavily in communications technology to support its business as the IP data network, based on Cisco solutions which provides the means for employees to keep a constant check on vehicles. Inter-office communications are another essential part of its success because of the continual need to check the availability of vehicles in different locations before confirming a sell.

As part of its ongoing drive to improve customer service and reduce costs, Aljazeera Vehicles wanted to replace its legacy private branch exchanges (PBXs). and its analogue telephone systems were not flexible enough to cope with that amount of need. Aljazeera telephone bills were also escalating because high volumes of inter-office calls were carried over the public switched telephone network (PSTN) at normal rates. Looking ahead, Aljazeera would need a telephony platform that was capable of supporting new applications such as unified communications, IP call centre, videoconferencing and video telephony.

“We were encouraged to find alternative solutions to traditional technology by the need to equip the Group with a modern, effective telephone management system,” explains Mr. Abdelaziz Fadel, head of the Administration division at Aljazeera Group. “From the start we considered Voice over IP as the only technology that seemed able to offer efficient cost control.”

Network Solution

Aljazeera carried out comparative evaluations of IP telephony solutions from all the main vendors. One of those vendors, Cisco, offered Aljazeera a value-added service that provided an important differentiator during the selection phase.

The solution is based on Cisco Unified Communications Manager software, which provides call processing to all sites from a centralized location over the company's existing Cisco data network. This means that, unlike the legacy PBXs, the Cisco solution is easy and cost effective to manage. Inter-office calls can now be transported over the internal network instead of the PSTN. The built-in scalability of Cisco Unified Communications Manager means that there are no current capacity problems and it will be simple to accommodate future growth.

The roll-out was completed very quickly. aljazeera initiated the start-up process in January 2008. The central office in Riyadh was integrated into the project in June 2008 and, within a month, the entire installation was complete and operational.

The compressed timeframe for the implementation was a great advantage in business terms. The other critical difference between the Cisco system and those of other vendors was the simplicity of installation. Our IT staff ran the operation remotely from headquarters; telephones were delivered by courier and installed; and an innovative network was ready to use.

Business Results

The pilot demonstrated a strong business case for Cisco IP Telephony due to the increased efficiency of the system, which streamlines the IT organization, and to the ability to transport inter-office calls over the company's internal network at virtually no cost. “Our telephone bills have fallen by 40 per cent since we transferred the calls made to co-ordinate production work between operators in our regional offices and sales outlets to IP,” Customer explains.

The increased performance and capacity of Cisco Unified Communications Manager have enabled Aljazeera to manage customer calls more effectively, improving service and satisfaction levels. According to Customer, for example, calls are now answered more quickly and the amount of time that customers spend 'on hold' has dropped.

The company has also succeeded in reducing the number of lost calls to zero, thereby helping to ensure that potential customers do not take their business to competitors. Although Aljazeera is continuing to use its existing call centre system because it is planning a staged Aljazeera to IP, the parallel introduction of Cisco Unified Communications Manager has also enhanced the call centre operation. The IT staff at Aljazeera particularly value the Cisco solution's flexibility and ease of use, which allow them to respond to changes in the business both quickly and cost effectively. When employees move to different offices, for example, there is no need for an engineer to visit either site; moves and changes are managed remotely from the headquarters. Entire offices can also be opened or closed much more easily than before. This capability ensures there is minimal disruption to the business, which boosts productivity, and it significantly reduces Aljazeera's operating costs.

The increased simplicity of a centrally managed system has also reduced the burden on the IT department. “A network linking several offices and sales outlets is constantly on the move,” says Customer. “That mobility used to produce a great deal of work for the IT department, with consequent delays in system availability. Since we introduced the Cisco solution, there are no more costly delays.” Another benefit is that all Aljazeera employees are now using exactly the same system, with access to the same features and information. This consistency improves internal communications and reduces the need for retraining when staff move offices. The Cisco solution also provides a standardized platform on which Aljazeera can continue to introduce new applications and services, such as videoconferencing, without incurring the cost of replacing the core elements. This protects the company's investment and enables it to better support future business growth and to position Aljazeera as an innovative, responsive organization.

Next Steps

The integration of voice and data on one network has already helped Aljazeera to eliminate lost calls and improve customer service. In future, the company plans to build on this integration by deploying applications such as Cisco Unified Contact Center. This is a centralized application that can be extended beyond the physical call centre in Riyadh to any other location, which would create a 'virtual' call centre in which any Aljazeera employee could act as an agent. This would give the company a competitive edge by enhancing its customer service capability.

Integrated voice and data will also help Aljazeera to integrate more effectively the different channels that are used for customer services – for example, fax, Web and telephone. Better integration is likely to improve efficiency still further and to increase satisfaction levels by offering customers even better service.

Technical Implementation

The Cisco solution was deployed over a Cisco multiservice network that connects each regional office and branches outlet to Aljazeera's headquarters, giving complete control over the whole of the Saudi network, including branches in cities. The solution is based on two redundant Cisco Unified Communications Manager call processing applications. Aljazeera is using around 1500 Cisco Unified IP Phones 7900 Series, including 7911 and 7942 models on employees' desktops, 7970 models on Managers Desktops, the 7937 model for audio conferencing, and 7960 and 7914 models as consoles for switchboard operators.

Product List

  • Voice and Unified Communications
  • Cisco Unified Communications Manager
  • Cisco Unity Unified Messaging
  • Cisco Unified Contact Center.
  • Cisco Unified IP Phones 7900 Series
  • Cisco Routing & PoE Switches.

Who we are?

alfanar IT is a Saudi leader in systems integration consulting resulting from decades of experience helping some of the leading Saudi organizations, our skilled people, a profound understanding of technology and our industrialized approach. alfanar IT (Systems Integration Consulting) helps clients solve business challenges, accelerate business innovation and create opportunities to drive high performance.

We work with our clients to understand their goals and we have a clear vision of how to seamlessly integrate an accelerated solution to help meet those goals. Whether using emerging technologies, our custom development capability or established packaged software from market leaders such as IBM, Cisco and ULTIMUS, we solve industry-specific or shared enterprise problems. We help organizations cross into the realm of high performance at an accelerated pace.

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