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Solvay Cuts Costs With BT, Ipanema

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LONDON -- Solvay, a global chemical company headquartered in Belgium with employees in 55 countries around the world, has been able, after a global WAN RFP in 2011, to reduce its telecom costs by 30% by dynamically controlling application performance over a hybrid network thanks to BT Connect Optimization, a BT managed service based on Ipanema Technologies’ solutions.

Following the sale of Solvay’s pharmaceutical division in 2009, employees and sites were reduced by 30%. In 2011 however, Solvay acquired Rhodia, which resulted in their employee base doubling from 15,000 to 30,000. The IT department was subsequently tasked with optimizing the Quality of Service (QoS) delivered for business applications while reducing telecom costs by 30%.

They reached this goal by:

  • Using both the MPLS network and Internet resources as a single unified network to increase the Quality of Service delivered to end-users
  • Moving business applications including Gmail, Google apps and SalesForce.com to the cloud with confidence that performance would not be affected
  • Moving the telepresence dedicated network into a new multimedia network with confidence that performance would not be affected
  • Increasingly using the Internet as a business network while keeping the MPLS network for bandwidth hungry applications such as SAP, VoIP and video only.

    The IT department had to reduce costs while combining Solvay and Rhodia’s networks, and supporting more sites, applications and users with the same network resource. Using the visibility aspect of Ipanema’s technology, they identified that only 30% of their current bandwidth was being used by critical business applications running over the private network; the remaining business and non-critical applications were running over the Internet.

    This increasing use of the Internet offered Solvay the opportunity to maximize its IT flexibility and avoid MPLS capacity increases by moving to applications such as Gmail, Google apps and SalesForce.com in the cloud. This meant they could reserve the MPLS network resource for critical business applications such as SAP, VoIP and Video.

    Commenting on how Solvay decided on its approach, Vincent Best, Global WAN Manager, says, “We looked at several solutions including WAN Optimization and Classes of Service. Ultimately, we opted for BT Connect Optimization based on Ipanema Technologies because it could give us full control of our application performance over the global network, protecting applications according to their business criticality and dynamically using all resources of the hybrid network to maximize business continuity. Thanks to BT Connect Optimization, we can now easily adapt to changes in network traffic that might occur due to our IT transformations. From 2011 to 2013, our comparable telecom costs have been reduced by 30%.”

    Keith Langridge, Vice-President, Network Services at BT Global Services, said, “We’re pleased to have been able to help Solvay reduce costs whilst improving productivity. New services that can help improve efficiency and speed up decision making, such as unified communications and video, are bandwidth hungry and so need a dynamic solution to secure optimal performance. The high level of control delivered by Ipanema Technologies is much appreciated by forward-thinking, cost conscious IT departments and we’re proud to be able to offer the technology as part of our managed service.”

    BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)

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