Earlier this week, international brewing giant Heineken announced its pick of Orange Business Services to provide its global communications infrastructure. With 60,000 employees working at over 1,100 sites in 53 countries, Heineken's no minor customer. How does Orange plan to connect such a large and distributed workforce? I spoke to Helmut Reisinger, senior vice president of Orange Business Services Europe, Russia, and CIS, to find out.
The B2B branch of France Telecom-Orange, one of the top three telecom players in Europe, Orange Business Services "focuses exclusively on multinational customers," Reisinger told me. The Orange Business Services global network relies on approximately 432,000 kilometers of submarine cables in which Orange owns capacity—more than 600 POPs—and four major service centers, one each in Cairo, Mumbai, Rio, and Mauritius, creating a network that spans 220 countries and territories. Heineken stands to benefit from that network.
Infrastructure and services
Orange Business Services will provide Heineken with a global IP VPN solution; a fully secured, cloud-based, virtualized network infrastructure; dedicated, premise-built solutions where needed; and voice and audioconferencing services to round out the package, Reisinger said. Voice, he told me, is particularly vital. "We have a Business Talk Global (BTG) product that gives VoIP-type rates with carrier-grade service," enabling enterprise-class call quality for Heineken's widely distributed team.
Also crucial to Heineken? Reliable remote access to its dedicated WAN over the Orange Business Services IP VPN. Bandwidth in certain fast-growing markets, Reisinger told me, can be less than abundant. "In areas like Ethiopia and other hard-to-reach locations, bandwidth can be a scarcity," he said. "We had to really concentrate on delivering bandwidth for critical applications." To this end, Orange Business Services goes beyond optimizing design by employing acceleration technologies. "We're one of the biggest global integrators of Riverbed," he pointed out. "Their acceleration devices give you more perceived bandwidth through caching mechanisms, improving user experience."
Service harmonization and global governance
Fully connecting and leveraging the size and scope of Heineken's workforce creates other vital needs, too. As Reisinger told me when I asked him what pain points Orange Business Services will help Heineken address, "One of the big things Heineken wanted to do is achieve service harmonization and service monitoring. Heineken wants to establish a real global governance" over its network, a daunting endeavor that Reisinger believes Orange Business Services is uniquely equipped to handle. In 2009, Orange Business Services migrated 950 Siemens WAN sites globally over to the Orange converged network in 10 months, an achievement Reisinger cited during our interview.
For Heineken, Orange Business Services will provide not only network connectivity, remote access, network optimization, audioconferencing, and voice services, but also that global governance and harmonization, "a single homogenous service wrapped around the globe," Reisinger said. No matter where in the world an incident happens, Orange Business Services and Heineken will be able to provide "the same incident management approach. If a person calls from a brewery in Belarus or Russia or Brazil, and whether the call is taken in Rio or Mumbai or Cairo, they will get the same service from the Orange dedicated service desk." That seamless globalization, Reisinger indicated, can help Heineken foster innovation and "bottom-up drive" without unnecessary technical hang-ups or red tape.
All of this is just the start for Heineken and Orange Business Services' multimillion-euro, five-year contract. Orange Business Services also plans to deliver video conferencing and telepresence services—part of what Reisinger refers to as "transformational services"—to Heineken in the near future. And more transformation is sure to result from this alliance of two major corporations.
Jude Chao is Executive Editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Follow her on Twitter @judechao.