SAS Global Communications facilitates OB10’s expansion into Asia-Pacific

London - SAS Global Communications, an international provider of managed and professional network services, today announced it has designed and implemented the complete ICT infrastructure for the new Asia-Pacific office of OB10, the leading global e-Invoicing company. The installation includes a wide area network (WAN) that connects OB10’s new office in Kuala Lumpur to its headquarters in the UK and US, enabling both high-speed data communications and IP telephony (IPT). This network was built to streamline both internal and external communications as well as to support the rapid growth predicted for the Kuala Lumpur office.

OB10’s technology enables businesses to send and receive electronic invoices, thereby dramatically increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the purchase-to-pay process. The company, which already has operations across Europe and the US, was keen to establish a presence in Asia-Pacific in order to capitalise on the growing market for e-Invoicing solutions. However, before financially committing to a permanent office in the region, OB10 wanted to first ascertain the viability of a move into this market. It was therefore decided to set up temporary operations in Kuala Lumpur.

To link this new office to OB10’s other locations, the company needed a fully functional WAN infrastructure to be installed in Kuala Lumpur. SAS was chosen to design and manage the installation, in part, because of its relationship with BT but also because it could offer the skills and flexibility OB10 needed to guarantee that the service levels, operating standards and system settings defined by the company in the UK, would be replicated in the new location. SAS’s global connections also enabled the company to source labour and materials locally to keep costs down, and crucially, it could also offer guarantees that the project would be completed on time, vital as OB10 only had a short window of opportunity to get operations up and running.

During the initial six-month trial period, the Kuala Lumpur office was particularly reliant on phone communications to both support almost continuous contact with the company’s headquarters in the UK and to undertake telesales activities in the local market. It was therefore critical that the company installed the most cost-effective phone system possible.

OB10 decided to run its phone system over the Internet to the temporary office. In order to reduce the overall expense involved, OB10 designed its own solution, combining rented air-time from Regus with its existing soft phones. Unfortunately, the resulting system was not able to deliver the quality of service OB10 required so the company had to resort to fully utilising the more expensive circuit-switched phone system from Regus.

When the decision was made to set up a permanent office, SAS’s expertise was called upon to not only implement the WAN, but to also implement a QoS-enabled IPT system to ensure optimum performance. For OB10, this was the only economically viable option - enabling phone use from Kuala Lumpur to the UK and US for the cost of a local call. SAS had just two months to complete this permanent office project.

A further consideration for OB10 was that with only a small internal IT department, in the UK and US, the company needed its systems integration partner to remotely monitor the network 24/7 to ensure everything continued running smoothly once the project was completed. The time difference and the distance between the UK, US and Kuala Lumpur made this particularly important.

“We quickly realised that the technical complexities of IPT are such that finding an integration partner - in particular one we could trust - would determine the success or failure of the project,” said David Stanley, Head of System Operations at OB10. “Matters were further complicated by the fact we were setting up a new office on the other side of world and the project was predominantly being managed by staff back in the UK. We were impressed with SAS’s dedication to completing our infrastructure to the highest standards and with attention to every detail - its engineers even offered to help move PCs during our physical office move to the new premises. I can emphatically say that without SAS's help, it would be difficult to grow our Malaysian office at the rate we’ve planned.”

“We’re really pleased to be able to help OB10 expand into the lucrative Asia-Pacific market,” said Charles Davis, CEO of SAS Global Communications. “With its new network, the company is ready for future expansion and is keeping call costs down with its IPT system. Setting up a new office infrastructure, especially abroad, requires significant investment so it is understandable when businesses try to improvise to reduce costs. Unfortunately however, cuttings corners and running IPT over the Internet is not a viable inter-company solution because QoS quality of service cannot be guaranteed. OB10 had the experience and technical insight to pilot a solution at the same time it was testing the market, otherwise the outcome could have been very different.”

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