Alcan Aluminium Limited (Alcan) occupies the second position as a producer of aluminium products in the world. Headquartered in Montreal, Canada it has business operations in 61 countries and employs 68,000 people. The annual revenues of the company are generated from four major business groups in which the company operates…
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Advantages and Disadvantages of the current Alcon technology infrastructure
When Robert Ouellette joined Alcan as the Vice President - Corporate IT, the company was found to spend 80 % of its annual IT budget on external consulting and outsourcing services and also on hardware equipment and software. The annual budget for technology infrastructure was estimated to be around $76 million. Alcan had a complex technology infrastructure to support its diverse business operations. This consisted of 400 network sites and six main data processing centres. Under this regime, Alcan also used extensive hardware equipment including 3,000 servers, 31,500 personal computers and about 9,000 laptops. In addition, the IT employees had to manage information in 30,000 voicemail boxes and also answer 3,700 calls per month. To facilitate the smooth functioning of such technology infrastructures, Alcan had forged partnerships with numerous IT firms. Thus the current technology infrastructure included a range of diverse equipments.
The company’s network was extremely complex in nature. Alcan had developed clusters of interdependent sites through a period of continuous acquisitions. Different suppliers provided service on these networks: it included big suppliers like MCI, Equant, Bell, Videotron as well as small local suppliers. In order to access the central network one had to go through many of these interdependent sites which were linked to a master site which in turn was linked to another master site that was finally connected to the main network of the company. So, a person wanting to access the company network had to go through a number of sites before that. As Alcan increased its acquisitions and sales, the clusters of these sites also multiplied in number. Gradually the whole system became so complicated that it started giving rise to instabilities within the network. It was hard to predict the after effects of removing even one single link, but it could be safely presumed that the consequences would be difficult to manage. (Dube, Bernier, Roy 2009, p8) Alcan had contracts with six different companies till 2009 for managing its six main data processing centres. They included the Hewlett Packard and the T-Systems in Germany, the T-Systems in Paris, the IBM in Toronto, the CGI in Montreal and the CGI in Saguenay. Thus, a lot of time and resources were spent in managing these different contracts. Gradually, the responsibility of simultaneously managing the six data processing centres required a greater amount of technical expertise than that which was already available within Alcan. (Dube, Bernier, Roy 2009, p8) Advantages and Disadvantages of the new Alcon technology infrastructure Alcan started implementing an infrastructure standardization plan in 2003 after it had acquired Pechiney. Under the regime of the new technology infrastructure, an Infrastructure Shared Service Centre was first set up for bringing the networks, servers and workstations to a common platform and thus decrease the complexity of the existing technological installations. Though the operations of the different business groups varied widely from each other, their technology infras
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