Dimension Data: Managed Network Services Designed For Hybrid IT

Dimension Data: Managed Network Services Designed For Hybrid IT

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Jason Goodall, Group CEO, Dimension DataJason Goodall, Group CEO Traditionally, managed network service providers created a core architecture known as “hub and spoke” to facilitate communications between various branches of an organization and their respective data centers, over a managed network with a centralized firewall. To facilitate mobile workers, enterprises had to find an alternative connectivity method such as VPN; and to accommodate overseas employees, they stitched together multiple Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) providers for creating a global network—an expensive undertaking. Clearly, this type of legacy wide-area network (WAN) isn’t equipped to support today’s cloud-based businesses, hybrid IT environments, and mobile users who need remote network access. Unlike before, when network traffic went to the data center, enterprises have altered their traffic patterns by channeling data streams directly to the cloud. This drastic shift to the cloud has also broken the old networking security model, giving rise to vulnerabilities.

Today, enterprises need a cloud-native managed network services provider that is capable of establishing a private global network comprising of numerous points of presence—where data centers and mobile users can connect seamlessly. Modern day organizations need direct access to a network that is equally capable of peering with public clouds and SaaS applications and fully integrated with best-in-class security, firewall, and IDS/IPS tools. To gain access to such a robust network, enterprises, regardless of size or nature of the business, mustn’t look any further than Dimension Data. Through a globally-standardized managed services platform developed in alignment with ITIL standards to support agile and scalable digital infrastructures, the South African-headquartered company ensures its clients enjoy consistent service availability across legacy and programmable (SDN) infrastructure—from the core to the edge of the network. Dimension Data’s approach to managed network services stems from its proven track record of managing and integrating multi-vendor solutions by bringing together its cross-technology portfolio of managed services, delivered through a single scalable and secure platform.

"Technological transformation journey isn't possible without people. Take your people along with you on the journey"

Dimension Data’s Managed Services Platform, designed to enhance a client’s hybrid IT environment through improved agility, scalability, and availability, offers real-time insights into network performance and availability, and analytical reporting to over 13 million users across the globe. With built-in automations to drive operational efficiencies, the platform empowers enterprises to maximize the capability of their networking environment. Dimension Data’s Global Centers of Excellence leverage best-of-breed management tools and zero-touch operational automation, to support full lifecycle service delivery and proactive network management. The award-winning Manage Center portal provides a comprehensive view of an IT estate’s performance, remotely, on any platform. Most essentially, the platform liberates IT and operations teams, allowing them to focus on strategic and value-add tasks such as maximizing cost efficiencies, exploring emerging technologies, and improving customer experience.

Dimension Data's approach to managed network services stems from its proven track record of managing and integrating multi-vendor solutions by bringing together its cross-technology portfolio of managed services, delivered through a single scalable and secure platform

Earlier this year, Dimension Data announced the launch of its next-generation global managed services to help clients simplify the management and operation of their technology. Dimension Data’s global managed services and the delivery platform has re-engineered the end-to-end client journey, radically simplifying IT operations management and eliminating the pressure of day-to-day operations, while also allowing clients to take advantage of Dimension Data’s relationship with other NTT companies and best-of-breed solution providers.

Managed Services to Fulfill Technological Gaps

As evidenced by ALMA—a scientific data production company— the core reason for hiring a managed network services provider such as Dimension Data has seen a paradigm shift in recent years. Previously, organizations sought the services of managed network services to reduce overheads, achieve revenue benefits, and increase agility. However, with businesses increasingly dependent on complex networking technology to support both internal and external processes, they out-task key functions due to a lack of in-house expertise. “We chose Dimension Data because our main core business is not IT, its scientific data production. We are a small IT team and we need support from a company that has all the expertise that we don’t have. Dimension Data provides us with all the expertise we don’t have—and we don’t need to have,” says Christian Saldias, IT Manager at ALMA. Unlike most managed network services firms that offer merely networking expertise, the breadth of Dimension Data’s services capabilities extends the scope of service management beyond the network to include managed security, data center, collaboration, and customer experience.

Just like ALMA, scores of enterprises are choosing Dimension Data—the USD 8B global technology integrator and managed service provider—as their network partner. Most recently, Dimension Data aligned itself with one of the world’s most iconic luxury goods conglomerates, taking over the day-to-day management of all their network and connected devices. As part of the project, Dimension Data’s managed network services facilitated the implementation of a central management system of all connected devices across the brand’s stores, distribution centers, workshops, and global offices. The outcome? A holistic view of the client’s network, security, and voice gateway is now available across all its stores across the world.

In the aftermath of the platform implementation, the luxury goods brand’s global network operations migrated to Singapore. Post-migration, the client has significantly improved operational efficiency by freeing up manpower resources, lowering IT costs, and enhancing store productivity with better manageability and reduced device downtime. More crucially, the client is able to provide a better in-store experience to its customers, including reservation of products via online catalogs and faster payment transactions via mobile devices.

Despite managing over 9,000 IP networks across the globe, Team Dimension Data doesn’t believe in taking shortcuts.
It’s why the services offered by Dimension Data are built around a client’s specific needs and their industry-determined governance protocols and practices. While maintaining the highest levels of vendor certification, Dimension Data’s networking experts provide engineering and operational expertise to clients in 46 different countries. From a technological standpoint, Dimension Data partners with global tier-one networking vendors at API level including Cisco, Juniper, HP, Riverbed, F5, Infoblox, Cisco Meraki, and HP Aruba.

Leadership that Inspires Digital Transformation

It’s rather difficult to underline Dimension Data’s success without recognizing the contributions of its leader, Jason Goodall, who has served as Group Chief Executive Officer since 2016. According to Goodall, organizations must follow six key principles before undertaking their digital transformation journey. “First of all, don’t have a Plan B. There shouldn’t be any debates within an organization around the necessity to transform. In order to be successful, it’s not about ‘do we need to transform, but how do we transform.’ That’s the first key thing for all executives to recognize,” he says.

Goodall believes that the second key principle is for an organization to create its North Star. “Starting with the CEO, all the way to the executive team, you need to know exactly what you’re aiming for. Once the CEO understands that it becomes his or her onus to drive that vision passionately. My third key principle is to prioritize your North Star. It’s important to prioritize on few initiatives and not lose focus,” adds Goodall before proceeding to his final three principles.

“Number 4 is the toughest, and I like to call it ‘Perform While You Transform.’ It’s never easy to try and change a mainstream business midflight. However, you can’t stop a business while you transform. So, it’s critical to continue to deliver profitability, while also transforming your business for the future. My fifth key principle is Personal Transformation. For an organization to transform, people within the organization need to transform as well,” stresses Goodall.

And finally, Goodall believes that people drive digital transformation and not technology. “Technological transformation journey isn’t possible without people. Take your people along with you on the journey. It is important that people believe they have a part to play in the transformation,” concludes Goodall.

With over 28,000 employees spread across 47 countries, Dimension Data has successfully mitigated complexities for a ton of high-profile clients. Besides enabling the world’s first cloud-enabled G20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane, Australia, Dimension Data developed an ICT strategy, architecture, and technology roadmap for the World Wide Fund (WWF), in 2017.

The Road Ahead

In the coming years, Dimension Data, a proud member of the NTT Group, will continue to design, optimize, and manage today’s evolving technology environments. Dimension Data will play a critical role in facilitating Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise’s (ALE) Vision 2020 Strategic Plan which entails the global telecommunications giant’s transition to an agile, scalable, and efficient digital infrastructure. As part of the project, Dimension Data will create an additional 300 percent bandwidth availability in ALE’s network, helping ALE adopt a seamless and multi-tenant Cloud environment to support its evolving business. Dimension Data will provide managed software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) services, including the hardware, licenses, technical team of professionals, and managed services. The global control system will be centrally deployed on the Dimension Data Cloud platform, which leverages a Global Delivery Centre to procure, deploy and manage the SD-WAN-based WAN infrastructure.
- Sai Mohan
    April 09, 2019

Dimension Data News

Pluralsight Partners with Dimension Data to Re-Skill Engineers in DevOps and Automation Across 47 Countries Worldwide

SILICON SLOPES-- Pluralsight, Inc. (NASDAQ: PS), the technology skills platform, today announced that Dimension Data, a global systems integrator and managed IT services provider, is using Pluralsight to re-skill its engineers in DevOps and automation, across 47 countries worldwide.

Founded in 1983, Dimension Data brings its market-leading expertise in internal IT, technology installation and configuration, and public and private cloud management, to multinational enterprises around the world. To maintain its competitiveness, it’s critical that it has the talent at its disposal to uphold its reputation and continue to deliver the technology innovation that its customers demand.

“The technology landscape is actually moving faster than any sole person can keep up with. Being able to rapidly up-skill for client requests is crucial,” said Anthony Shaw, Group Director, Talent and Talent Management at Dimension Data. “With Pluralsight, we’re able to do that, which is why we’ve chosen them as our skill development partner.”

Pluralsight enables Dimension Data to quickly see skills gaps across teams in different geographies. The technology skills platform also enables Dimension Data to swiftly bring together virtual teams across different countries, to address immediate client needs. Before Pluralsight, identifying skills was limited to certifications and accreditations that were listed in HR documents. In a tech world where certifications are becoming increasingly irrelevant, understanding people’s true skills and where they are geographically, has been critical to Dimension Data’s success.

Since using Pluralsight, Dimension Data is also increasingly seeing engineers demonstrate skills that directly deliver to a client and can further enhance their business.

“We measure the worth of Pluralsight by demonstrated client value. There is nothing more important than the value you deliver to a client and the meaningful interactions that employees have as they deploy products,” added Shaw. “I have lots of testimonials of engineers who've used the skills they’ve learned at Pluralsight as leverage to deliver value for clients. And I keep on hearing those stories.”

Pluralsight has become so critical for Dimension Data, the company now has a self-registration process for access to the Pluralsight platform so anyone can register on the internal portal. By shifting the spending model, Dimension Data has moved its instructor-led training budget into an online technology skills platform and is now able to serve all of its technical staff as opposed to a small percentage of it, with significant cost savings as a result.

“Before Pluralsight, we were spending about 75% of our training on external classroom training, but only training about 13% of our staff,” said Shaw. “So the savings and skills that come from using Pluralsight are exponential. We can train our entire staff faster and more cost effectively.”

Dimension Data Signs AI Data Centre Partner Deal With NVIDIA

NVIDIA is rapidly becoming a major player in the data centre market and is now signing partnership deals globally to extend its reach in the growing AI/machine learning market.

Dimension Data has been awarded Preferred Partner status within the NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA) Partner Network, with the MSP and system integrator using the accreditation to promote its ability to deliver artificial intelligence solutions in data centres.

The company will base those solutions on NVIDIA Graphic Processing Units (GPUs). Headquartered in Johannesburg, Dimension Data employs 28,000 people across 47 countries, and is part of the NTT Group.

“As our customers begin to adopt AI, the high-performance computing power required to perform complex analysis on large volumes of unstructured data is becoming more prevalent in our daily conversations,” said John Taylor, go-to-market leader for digital infrastructure at Dimension Data UK&I.

He said: “NVIDIA perfectly complements our existing ecosystem of data centre partners, which includes Cisco, Dell EMC and NetApp, and will enable us to design, deploy and manage data centre infrastructure solutions for the most demanding HPC and hyperscale workloads.”

Dimension Data already provides AI/machine learning data technology solutions to the organisers of the Tour de France.

“A significant investment in this technology will likely come from our clients in financial services, insurance and legal, who are already investigating how they can take advantage of AI and machine learning to innovate and create new services for their customers,” said Taylor.

Alan Rogers, enterprise partner business manager for NEMEA at NVIDIA, said: “Dimension Data’s technical expertise, combined with its data centre, networking and cybersecurity capabilities, make it a ‘go-to’ systems integrator for HPC and AI solutions.”

Earlier this year, NVIDIA launched its DGX-Ready data centre programme with colocation partners to make the deployment of AI-based data centres less complex.

Last month, NVIDIA agreed a deal to acquire data centre interconnectivity systems player Mellanox for a total enterprise value of around $6.9bn, with both Microsoft and Intel having been interested in capturing the company.