Elisa was Valmet’s main partner in the complete renewal project of the company’s global data network, which covers 150 locations. A modern SD-WAN network provides a foundation on which the company can build its operations far into the future.
These days, many companies are thinking about renewing their corporate networks. Valmet, which provides solutions for the pulp, paper and energy industries, faced this situation in 2020. The company needed its data network to better respond to the challenges created by its rapidly changing business operations.
“We wanted a solution that would be more dynamic, flexible and agile,” says Sampo Vörgren, Director, Common IT Platforms and Services at Valmet.
Corporate networks play a very significant role in our increasingly digital world. The operations of global companies such as Valmet are completely reliant on highly functional data networks. In autumn 2020, Valmet selected Elisa and the global data network provider Vodafone as its network development partners. In spite of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the massive project was completed in early 2022.
The entire corporate network was renewed, from firewalls to the local area networks used by the offices. Wide area network that connects the company’s operating locations was designed with an entirely new approach. In Valmet’s next-generation SD-WAN network, physical data connections and the logical structure of the network have been separated. The new corporate network is centrally managed. For users, the new network architecture means reduced delays, as the data connections they need are always routed in the optimal manner. This is particularly beneficial for remote workers and the users of cloud services. For Valmet’s IT function, the improved fault tolerance of the network means increased peace of mind.
“We now have full visibility to how our global network operates,” Vörgren says.
The primary motivation for the network upgrade came from business requirements. A software defined network can be quickly modified and scaled in response to changing needs or geographical focus. Different technologies and connections from different network operators can be connected to it to form a single seamless solution.
“A modern network allows you to focus on the digital transformation and development of its business operations.”
Quick changes are not unusual in the world of business. One example of this is Valmet’s recent acquisition of the industrial valve manufacturer Neles. With a SD-WAN network, adding new business locations or service centres to the network is technically quick and easy due to the efficiency of the processes.
Landscape of using business software is also changing. Software running in a company’s own data centre is being replaced by cloud services or used as Software-as-a-Service via internet.
“Change requires us to have access to next-generation network capabilities.”
The data volumes in Valmet’s corporate network are increasing rapidly. Each year, the network is used to transfer growing amounts of video, speech and data.
“Our previous solution began to limit our data-intensive business operations,” Sampo Vörgren points out.
A SD-network makes it possible to cost-effectively increase data capacity as needed.
“This is also more cost-effective than our previous network solution.”
Excellent results through cooperation
Valmet’s Next Generation Network project started in January 2021. At its peak, the global project organisation included over 150 members representing Valmet, Elisa and Vodafone. It was essential to maintain uninterrupted data connections for Valmet’s organisation consisting of more than 14,000 professionals.
The first step was to migrate Valmet’s existing services and network functions to Elisa’s network management service. The network transition and transform project then began over several stages, with as many as 10 locations upgraded per week.
The challenges experienced during the project included reconciling the schedules of multiple vendors and overcoming the obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Problems were not entirely avoided.
“When problems emerged, Elisa proved worthy of our trust. They quickly provided additional resources,” Vörgren says.
The challenges experienced in autumn 2021 were solved through world-class project coordination. The outcome was Valmet’s new corporate network, which represents an internationally significant example of SD-WAN network implementation.
Sampo Vörgren underscores the critical role that a corporate network plays in the company’s operations.
“For us, this next-generation network provides capabilities on which we can build our operations far into the future.”
The network service partner exceeded Valmet’s expectations.
“Elisa fulfilled their promises completely during the project. Having everyone work together towards the same goal brings world-class results.”
Valmet’s entire global network, starting from the LAN/WLAN services used by the company’s business locations, is now under 24/7 monitoring by Elisa’s NOC (Network Operations Center). Elisa is responsible for Valmet’s network running smoothly across the world. Service requests concerning network connections submitted to Valmet’s own system are automatically forwarded to Elisa’s network administrators, and the status of each service request can be viewed in real time by Valmet’s IT function.
“The network transition and transform project created a robust foundation for future cooperation,” Vörgren concludes.
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