The directive from Siam City Cement Public Company Limited (or INSEE) leaders was clear:
- Go digital
- Become more agile
- Use the latest technologies to grow and evolve in the Asia Pacific region
“Even though we are a cement provider in a commoditized industry, we believe technology can help us be a leader in this market,” says Hans Keril Ante, head of IT, security, and compliance for Siam City Cement PCL, one of the largest cement producers in Thailand. “So we reconsidered everything.”
That meant rethinking the core infrastructure, cloud utilization, and endpoint devices, and it included a dedicated pursuit of big data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT). All in an effort to boost operational efficiency, enhance the customer experience, and create differentiation in a mature market.
New data center built from scratch
Based in Bangkok, Siam City Cement PCL has three primary manufacturing plants and 98 smaller mixing plants spread throughout Thailand. A brand new, world-class data center that connects them all recently went live.
“We built it from scratch using the best technology we could find,” explains Ante, the infrastructure lead for the digital transformation project.
- The combination of Intel® Xeon® processor-based Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®), Cisco Nexus® switches, and Cisco® Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI™) are at the heart of the new data center.
- A policy-based automation architecture, Cisco ACI simplifies and accelerates application delivery.
“It’s so easy to interconnect and provision things,” says Ante. “We connected and configured the new data center in only two weeks. And we can provision new services quickly. Not just servers and switches, but entire services. If we want to deploy a new web service or connect to a new cloud service, we can do it very fast.”
Network configurations, firewalls, and security elements are automatically replicated using Cisco ACI policies and service profiles. Ante says his team was able to replicate 30 servers and switches in less than three hours. This speed was a critical factor in stress testing the new environment and preparing SAP HANA for production deployment.
“We got SAP HANA up and running faster than expected, and we’ve seen a 100 percent performance improvement compared to our old SAP installation,” Ante says. “Because it’s so much faster, we can conduct better analytics and run more complicated reports.”
More efficiency, better customer experience
Some 80 percent of Siam City Cement PCL’s orders are placed online through customer and supplier portals that generate a wealth of data. And new sources of data will soon be brought online as part of the company’s IoT strategy. With better integration and visibility of that data, Ante and his team are planning to conduct advanced analytics that lead to business optimization.
“We want to become more operationally efficient,” says Ante. “With our new infrastructure and SAP HANA, we can see the performance of our plants and the performance of our business. And we can see everything with one dashboard.”
Siam City Cement PCL also has the flexibility and agility company leaders requested, and will use them to continuously enhance the way it serves its customers.
“We don’t know what new apps will come that can improve the customer experience or our competitive advantage,” says Ante. “But we know we can implement anything, and we can do it quickly.”
Company leaders can be more creative as they explore opportunities to grow and evolve, he adds. Regardless of which paths they choose, Siam City Cement PCL’s future will be built on its new technology foundation.
“The combination of UCS, Nexus, and ACI was a no brainer,” says Ante. “If we didn’t adopt them, we would be stuck in the past.”