New high-tech office for Alexander Forbes

JOHANNESBURG (03/09/2004) - Alexander Forbes Risk Services, part of the Alexander Forbes Group (Pty) Ltd., recently signed a multi-million Rand deal with Dimension Data to facilitate its move to new premises in Sandton, South Africa. The move to the new location, says the company, presented Alexander Forbes with the opportunity to utilize the latest technology in creating an office of the future.

It says that the move will also allow Alexander Forbes to upgrade its facility requirements and to consolidate its server environment.

Alexander Forbes chose to implement an Internet Protocol (IP) telephony and communication solution, together with wireless network connectivity. It says that by making use of the IP network, the company will be able to stream its announcements/presentations, as well as other programming to its business center, the main reception area, and across the Alexander Forbes network.

"Alexander Forbes has created an end-to-end enterprise-wide IP communication infrastructure and the Risk Services move to new premises allowed us to add IP telephony and capitalize on the benefits associated with this," says Brad Eliot, Alexander Forbes Group ICT director,

Eliot adds, "The significant savings from a server consolidation and cabling point of view, along with buy-backs on existing PBX equipment, made for a convincing financial case."

One of the benefits associated with IP telephony is the cost savings that are realized in terms of having a single cabling infrastructure for both data and voice.

The Gartner Group predicts that the adoption of IP telephony will accelerate in 2004, while industry analysts and commentators predict that IP will become the universal communication carrier of the future.

Once the move is completed, Alexander Forbes Risk Services says it will enjoy state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment in its auditoriums, meeting rooms and business center. This includes plasma screens, drop-down audiovisual equipment in the training rooms as well as remote controlled sound and lighting.

Dimension Data will continue to manage Alexander Forbes Risk Services' entire ICT infrastructure. This includes the set-up and maintenance of facilities such as computer rooms, critical electrical reticulation, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and generators.

Business infrastructure management reflects a new trend in the management of infrastructure. Nick Shaw, solutions manager at Dimension Data, believes that the traditionally distinct departments of facilities management and ICT need to be seen as a single entity.

"Historically viewed as separate line functions, these are becoming inextricably linked and are moving closer together," concludes Shaw.

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