Global companies face enormous challenges in moving data and information to the point of decision. For an international freight forwarding and logistics company like JAS Worldwide, there’s also a need to manage the business in real time. The privately owned Atlanta firm operates in 80 countries, has more than 250 offices and facilities, and employs upward of 4,000 workers.
“In the past, the company did not have an adequate global networking infrastructure in place,” reports CIO Mark Baker. “There was a need to unify our business processes on a global scale and tie together transportation management and accounting systems.”
As a result of the inadequate infrastructure, the company couldn’t provide up-to-the-second information to customers about the status or location of a shipment. It also couldn’t optimize business processes and workflows. “We weren’t able to operate in the most strategic way possible,” Baker says.
JAS Worldwide recognized that a change was needed, so it re-evaluated its IT systems and network with a goal of being able to compete faster and better. “In the past, we had developed some of our own internal software,” he notes. “But a key issue was that the company is not in the software development business, and we recognized that ownership is moving toward a third-party model.”
However, the company faced a formidable challenge: It required a technology platform that would accommodate a single instance of an enterprise transactional database across the organization.
In addition, “We had to make sure the WAN [wide area network] could handle local bandwidth issues and network limitations, but deliver a robust user experience along with the necessary security,” Baker explains. The goal was to provide “the bandwidth we require globally without having to build out, manage, and maintain a private and proprietary WAN MPLS [Multiprotocol Label Switching] network.”
The company turned to WAN-as-a-service vendor Aryaka to develop and deploy a software-as-a-service-based WAN optimization solution that would span the company’s locations, including 47 subsidiaries. The system, which went live in January 2014, has resulted in speed increases as great as 300 percent and compression rates up to 95 times higher. The speed bump is particularly important in places such as South Africa, South America and parts of the Middle East, where Internet limitations can introduce formidable connectivity and performance challenges.
The platform also helped the firm slash networking costs by about 52 percent overall, and upward of 60 percent at specific locations. The cost saving is particularly significant because JAS Worldwide grew from a disparate network of independent companies.
“We have been able to shift expenses and administration from the local subsidiaries and consolidate them under the Aryaka network,” Baker explains. “The benefit at the local subsidiary level is that we have been able to remove many domestic MPLS services while dramatically improving performance.”
In addition, the enterprise IT team is able to devote greater attention to more strategic tasks. “We have enjoyed a very high level of user acceptance, and, in many cases, have witnessed significant changes in the way people work,” Baker says. “We are now far more aligned as a company.”