Logistics giant Toll Holdings is in the final throes of a global network rollout and data centre refresh, in an effort to improve information services to its geographically-diverse operations.
The ASX-listed company has acquired 88 logistics companies since 1989 - including brands such as Brambles, IPEC, Patrick Corporation, and the transport divisions of Wesfarmers, BHP and Virgin Blue - growing into a regional transport giant with $6.9 billion in annual revenues.
Toll’s expansion has gradually moved offshore in recent years due to regulatory concerns about its market strength at home. This explosion of new and geographically dispersed entities coming under the Toll umbrella has created many challenges from an IT perspective.
Entities in each territory tended to operate their own independent WANs (wide area networks) and data centres using different standards, making it difficult for the company to roll out enterprise applications on a global basis without risking traversal of the public internet.
Warwick Marcakis, group network manager at Toll Holdings was among the crack team the company has hired over the last two years to bind these IT resources together.
Toll CIO Wayne Gordon called for Toll Global Information Services (IS) to operate like a “commercial grade service provider” to business units, pulling together what was previously a "fractured" IT infrastructure, with "no governance or strategy behind it."
Marcakis, who had previously worked on similar projects for the ANZ Bank, France Telecom and BHP, told iTnews the IS operation has since embarked on three key projects: the roll-out of a global backbone network, a refresh of kit in its Australian data centres (with a data centre consolidation project in tow), and the signing of a new agreement with Optus and Alphawest to provide connectivity to its Australian sites.
A global network
About 15 months ago, Toll put to tender the job of connecting the wide area networks of its international operations to a single global backbone.
Some nine global suppliers responded, and Toll chose SingTel – a company it had previously worked with in Singapore and Australia (via Optus) under a three-year deal.
Marcakis said the project should deliver a single, company-wide email domain and active directory identity for every Toll employee to access a single ‘cloud’ of applications, effectively “[bringing] Toll together as one organisation.”
The company is now looking at WAN optimisation/acceleration technologies to boost the performance of applications operating on this network.
Read on to page 2 for Toll's data centre refresh and implementation of the Optus Evolve network.