Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, today announced that UAE-based Al Ghurair Investment has implemented networking technology from Aruba that delivers resilient, future-ready infrastructure to accelerate digital transformation. The technology provides a scalable secure network template for consistent deployment and user experience, enables consistent wireless-first workplace with bandwidth to support critical business applications, cuts Wi-Fi deployment times from days to hours and enables Zero Touch deployments across international operations. The deployment also reduces network costs through standardisation and consolidation.
Founded in 1960 in Dubai, Al Ghurair Investment has developed into a major diversified business group with operations spanning more than 20 countries across the globe and employing approximately 28,000 people. “The Al Ghurair family name is synonymous with the development of the region itself. Like the UAE, Al Ghurair Investment has constantly evolved, embracing new ways of doing things in the pursuit of excellence. Our digital transformation is the next exciting part of our development, as we turn to technology to become a more data-driven, efficient and agile business,” says Ms. Marinda Sheahan, Group Vice President – IT, Al Ghurair Investment.
Due to the diversified nature of the business, IT infrastructures have historically been built in-business – with teams embedding individual solutions. With digital transformation a priority in each of Al Ghurair Investment’s business units, the group needed to establish a singular network approach. The company wanted central oversight, tighter integration between business units and the means to graft new applications on to the network.
The cloud-native and service-oriented Aruba Edge Services Platform (ESP) was fully aligned with the company’s vision for its digital future and unique requirements. Aruba Central enables the unified management of wired and wireless infrastructure and delivers AI-powered insights, workflow automation and robust security, all as subscribed services. “Aruba Central reflected our broader cloud strategy and our desire for a cloud-based solution. It gives us visibility, speed of deployment and control,” says Mr. Aaamir Hussain, Network and Data Manager, Al Ghurair Investment.
The engagement establishes consistency across Al Ghurair Investment’s network architecture. It also brings network infrastructure in line with other shared services across the group. “It has made my life considerably easier,” says Mr. Hussain. “Aruba Central means I can now manage 75 branches from one pane of glass.”
The project has strengthened data security. Aruba ClearPass ensures consistent policy-based governance in terms of the types of users and devices that can access each part of the network and gives visibility of network activity. “We have all the security we need in place, from endpoint to cloud,” says Mr. Hussain. “All our perimeters are secured with the flexibility of appropriate role-based and context-oriented policies.”
The network now hosts 3,500 office users using Microsoft Teams and the plan is to roll out to Al Ghurair Investment’s warehouses, factories and production sites. It will also be adopted by the company’s international offices, outside of the Middle East region. The networks enables seamless mobility across all Al Ghurair Investment offices. Employees can work from any office with the network automatically recognising and authenticating them. This improves the ability of teams from different group businesses to meet and collaborate.
Mr. Hussain says the strength of the Aruba network means the company’s workplaces have become wireless-first. “Teams are accessing an increasing range of cloud applications via the wireless network. We’re running video calls wirelessly and the construction design teams are using heavy CAD applications off the Wi-Fi,” Mr. Hussain adds. “The freedom to access your applications and to work from any office can only help the group.” In addition, the network upgrade now allows Al Ghurair Investment to integrate CCTV, building management, access control and parking systems across its facilities.
Ultimately, the Aruba ESP architecture is a key enabler of Al Ghurair Investment’s 2025 strategy. Workplace flexibility and access to the latest productivity apps reinforce the organisation as a modern, progressive employer.
“It is a business that can attract the best talent in the Middle East and where individuals can build exciting careers,” Ms. Sheahan says. “Resources that were previously managing or trouble-shooting network infrastructure across the different business units can now be deployed in more strategic ventures. Our network modernisation is a key enabler of our strategic objectives and provides several benefits. New business will be faster to onboard and thus faster to deliver value; a central control point enables IT to provide a better service to the business and, of course, security is integral to everything we do.”
“Digital transformation is very much about an organisation-wide culture change. We are a purpose-led organisation – driven to enhance life. We have a number of transformation programmes to support our vision including the Fit for Future Leadership programme, a dedicated function to focus on enhancing customer journeys and employee experience and a group-wide ERP modernisation program as well as a culture change programme to embed innovation as part of our DNA. We are a global, diversified business group with a vast array of products and services. The Aruba network provides the very thing that large businesses crave the most: agility,” Ms. Sheahan concludes.
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