7619

Colruyt group

Colruyt Group extends efficiency vision to IT

Optimisation in maintenance, operational processes and time thanks to SecureLink and Infoblox

Background

The Colruyt Group has been around for more than 80 years already and has grown from a family business to a family of businesses. Colruyt, DreamBaby, DreamLand, Bio-Planet and Spar are but a few of the companies belonging to the group. Managing a worldwide network with some 800 sites on every continent but centred in Belgium and 30,000 employees is no sinecure. One team in the 1000 strong IT department is not only responsible for the network management in all shops, but also in the distribution centres, administrative buildings and data centres in the Colruyt Group – 800 sites in all spread over Belgium, France, Luxembourg, India, Hong Kong and the French islands. So the small team of some 20 network engineers have their hands full.

The Colruyt Group keeps growing every day, and so does its IT environment. For the automated processes, developed and managed by the network engineers, this continuous change was far from obvious.  Minor glitches often had to be attended to whereby an automated process that normally lasts 30 seconds, easily took 30 minutes. This inefficient manner of working did not however fit in with the Colruyt Group’s lowest price strategy.

Want to know which technology
we used for this customer case?

See technology

Download this customer case.
And enjoy you reading offline.

Download PDF

Challenge

From complex to complete

We have always organised our network management ourselves, but over time, this simply got too extensive, too complex and too fragmented. If we wanted to keep on doing this, we had to hire 2 or 3 more people without fail. Furthermore, there are enough tools available for network management nowadays,explains Michel Deneyer, Team Lead Network Solutions at Colruyt Group Services.

The Colruyt Group had proposed two important criteria that the solution had to meet. First, flexibility, because the Colruyt Group itself already has very extensive experience with automation. Secondly, compatibility, because it wants to be free to choose the hardware on which the network is to run. In the end, Infoblox, an external tool for network configurations and network management, seemed to fit the bill. At the end of February 2015, the Colruyt Group started on the implementation of Infobox NetMRI together with SecureLink.

SecureLink provided us with very good advice and support during our search,explains Joris Beckers, network engineer. “Even now, after implementation. SecureLink has extensive knowledge of the Infoblox products and always reacts promptly and correctly when questions or problems arise. When something is a little beyond them, they do not hesitate to pass a problem onto Infoblox. Where others first try to solve the problem themselves and you thus have to wait for weeks, SecureLink has the right expertise to assess the scope of the problem correctly.

Today, efficiency is at the heart of the Colruyt Group for the management and the automation of all processes. If conflicts arise, the tool indicates this immediately so that the network managers can carry out adjustments before issues emerge. Infoblox NetMRI is deployed for the management of no fewer than 1,000 servers, 4,000 switches, 1,000 routers and 6,000 access points. To this end, the Colruyt Group uses 11,000 licences, which makes it at once the biggest project for Infoblox NetMRI in Europe. The Colruyt Group will use Trinzic DDI – also from Infoblox – for the Domain Name System (DNS) management.

Technology used

Solution

Time for innovation

Now that the Colruyt Group has been working with Infoblox NetMRI for some months, the first positive results are clearly noticeable. “Thanks to our good view of the status of our network, we discovered, among other things, that certain ports were not being used. By simply deactivating them, we save in terms of operational load, maintenance… and time, Michel Deneyer explains.

The latter aspect is one of the most important benefits for Joris Beckers. “As all automated processes are running smoothly, we now have more time again for business-oriented projects. At the Colruyt Group, IT actually plays a clear business supporting role. There’s a good reason why the IT department is called “Business Processes and Systems”.”

One of these business supporting projects is the recently implemented mobile payment system, thanks to which customers can pay for their purchases with an app, in the shop and online – a first in Belgium. The Colruyt Group is also working on optimising its internal operability. Thus, the team is ready to facilitate BYOD (bring your own device) in the organisation.

Self-service in the shop and in IT

“Our ideal network management is to be able to automate all processes in such a way that when a new point of sale is opened, store managers can connect to our network at the push of a button. Everything managed from a distance: self-service IT!”, concludes Joris Beckers.

Projects such as these ensure a pleasant shopping experience for customers and a better work experience for staff. More time will be made free for such future-oriented projects up ahead, when our colleagues in India (half of the network engineers work from the Colruyt Group’s site in Hyderabad, India) assume full control of Infoblox NetMRI.

Want to know which technology
we used for this customer case?

See technology

Download this customer case.
And enjoy you reading offline.

Download PDF