Business vocabulary had firmly embraced terms like “holding” and “international project” long ago. Yet, can we picture how big projects work and how their “quality” has changed with arrival of new IT technologies, including the cloud ones?

Let’s find the answers on the example of Hatch Canadian holding: one of the engineering and project management leaders in mineral extraction, mining metallurgy and energetics.

Features of international projects

Hatch has 65 branches around the world and more than 8.000 employees; the combined value of all the projects it manages exceeds USD 60 billion. There are many corporations like this; we have selected Hatch as the composite character, whose example can reveal specifics of such companies’ IT infrastructure creation and operations. It is obvious that IT infrastructure of large holdings is more complex than of a small enterprise. The example of Hatch defines the following features of international projects’ management:

  • The company is present around the world.
  • Operations continue round-the-clock.
  • There is the firm hierarchical system of subordination to the Canadian Headquarters.

Till a specific moment in IT infrastructure modification and cloud usage these features had disadvantages: that were making projects less profitable, and their execution more complex. Huge travel expenses of the main participants (to Canada and remote locations of the customers) were leading to choosing local, and usually less profitable, projects. Danger of internal processes’ bureaucratization, lack of flexibility and scalability in an access to resources, as well as communication issues between the branches were leading to the loss of clients.

Andrey Sirach, the head of Hatch office in Russian Federation:

«As the head of Hatch office in Russia, I face many issues examining a potential project, including:

  1. How to use every working hour of the branch and the entire holding the most efficient way?
  2. How to lower losses of time and resources on all stages of the project, to provide proper data access and security – using primarily contemporary IT technologies and cloud computing systems?

How to enhance life quality of the employees, to prevent their professional burnout and to provide more time for their families and friends?»

Hatch international project

To answer these questions, let’s examine the aspects of Hatch’s recent project: «Designing an ore mining facility in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) for one of the largest gold processing companies of Russia».

To solve both the mentioned and other issues, related to a large company development, the last 5 years Hatch was both developing its own infrastructure and renting cloud capacities.

As holding operations include processing and storage of large data volumes, Hatch placed its own computing landscape at a private Data Center in Toronto, Canada, and also at rented Data Centers

throughout the world. Branches are connected to the cloud via MPLS technology, provided by AT&T. The part of remote offices is connected to the main Data Center via VPN, complied via Internet on the company’s own equipment. On business trips to clients’ locations employees access data via special Big IP VPN Client software. An access to the office is also possible with Mobilepass+ token. Among many cloud services the company uses OneDrive, which is available with Office365 subscription.

Round-the-clock operations

Efficiency management assumes solving several interconnected tasks that form a cycle: data collection — planning — analysis of created plans — control — corrections — reporting. The diagram below shows the example of operations: with processes in several (geographically remote) branches synchronized and maximum efficiency of working hours’ usage at each location.

Such model allows round-the-clock (and around-the-globe) work of a group of specialists with allocated functions on the same project. While narrow specialization principle allows solicitation of competent employees from a specific branch, disregarding their geographical location.

As the holding has the firm hierarchical system of subordination to the Canadian Headquarters, all steps of project operations are designed and negotiated vertically: from a manager in a specific country to the entire holding’s CEO or Deputy. Routine processes are automated via Workflow system.

Implementation of the described model of operations with the use of contemporary IT infrastructure provided the holding with:

  • lowering resource expenses by 50% (via multi-level planning, partial reduction of travel expenses and lowering of various project risks);
  • operations efficiency increase (via maximum effective usage of working hours in one full day and involvement of all company’s resources, regardless of the distance);
  • reaching all project goals (via precise distribution of roles and responsibility zones, enhanced quality of communication of all participants, as well as flexibility and scalability).

Such model of project operations is one of the most optimal for international companies’ successful performance today. Its efficient implementation is directly connected with the usage of contemporary IT systems and IaaS cloud infrastructure.

Renting a computing capacity from a cloud provider allows creation of an IT infrastructure accessible from any world location, and easily scalable for growing demands of any size company – including a large international holding.

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