Summary:Poor interconnection between multiple locations meant Essar Group\u2019s employees had to face productivity issues. Here\u2019s how the company overcame this challenge.The Organization: The Mumbai-based $27 billion (about Rs 1.61 lakh crore) Essar Group started its operations in 1969 and has ever since spread its wings to different geographies such as the USA, France, China, South Korea, and Egypt among others. Today, the conglomerate has diversified interests from steel and energy to infrastructure and services, and caters to a huge list of customers across the globe.The Business Case: While the Essar Group is headquartered at Mahalaxmi, Mumbai, it has offices in Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai; a steel plant in Hazira, Surat; an oil refinery in Vadinar, Gujarat; and a steel plant at Ontario, Canada. Besides these major locations, it also has offices in remote locations across the world. As a result, the workload also increased dramatically along with the number of office locations. \u201cThe group\u2019s requirement kept increasing year on year,\u201d says Jayantha Prabhu, CTO, Essar Group. Moreover, a lot of the group\u2019s important activities take place from their key locations in India: A central Internet gateway at the corporate office in Mumbai, a global datacenter and a central network operation center in Hazira. The dramatic increase in application workloads and number of branches led to additional pressure on the group\u2019s bandwidth requirement. End-users faced the repercussions of this over a period of time. Not just employee productivity, even access to mission-critical data took a beating as the slow network resulted in replication of stagnant data.The Solution: Essar Group zeroed in on WAN optimization, following a six-month-long POC, as the solution to its network challenges. Prabhu and his team evaluated many solutions and finalized a vendor to achieve optimized and throttled performance, and control the sudden high flow of bandwidth. The in-house IT team of seven people at Essar deployed the WAN optimization solution, apart from mobile controller appliances at important locations of the Essar Group. Besides fixing the issues at key locations, the team also installed a mobile software on end-users\u2019 laptops. \u201cIt is beneficial for users in remote locations as they don\u2019t have to install external hardware, but just a small client to access critical apps,\u201d Prabhu says.The Benefits: Essar group benefited tremendously from the deployment. The end-users, who once faced less bandwidth, now have a much better experience and consequently, high productivity. They can also get far better performance from applications. Also, a central management console (CMC) enables central management of all the new appliances deployed. In terms of cost reduction, WAN optimization has proven to be more cost-effective, compared to making additional investments to increase bandwidth. \u201cReduction in bandwidth cost was a substantial gain for us,\u201d says Prabhu.Send feed back to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @Aritra_7Jayantha Prabhu, CTO, Essar Group, has ensured better user productivity through WAN optimization.