Intelligent CIO Middle East Issue 84 | Page 56


With a successful history spanning more than four decades , Oriental Weavers has grown to become one of the world ’ s largest producers of carpets , rugs and associated supplies , distributing to over 130 countries worldwide . Headquartered in Cairo , Egypt , the company sells nationally through a network of 180 showrooms across Egypt , ranging from small neighbourhood stores to the world ’ s largest carpet and rug showroom-an 8,000 square metres property outside of Cairo .

Oriental Weavers operates on holistic integration , allowing economies of scale and scope . Flexibility in production capacity combined with operational agility allows the business to respond quickly to market conditions and ensure that they always have the right products at the right time and at the right price .
According to its Founder , Mohamed Farid Khamis , a constant focus on technological innovation in product and customer service development , as well as in enabling and empowering its valued human capital , has been key to the group ’ s continued success . digitally transmitted to the ETA in real time before being sent to the customer .
The solution to both challenges lay in the adoption of a new software-defined wide-area networking ( SD-WAN ) infrastructure , through which communications linking the group ’ s 180 showrooms to the central data centre and headquarters in Cairo ( based mainly on multiprotocol label switching [ MPLS ]) could be replaced with a more flexible , cost-effective network using locally available broadband connections such as ADSL .
As with any transition to SD-WAN , the benefits of providing direct access to cloud and Internet resources at the network Edge needed to be weighed against the security implications of bypassing previous centralised security checks as traffic is no longer backhauled to the data centre . For Oriental Weavers , the potential risk exposure was even greater due to the operational technology ( OT ) systems of the group ’ s manufacturing , logistics and supply chain .
180 locations online within three months
Digital Transformation and regulatory compliance
For Oriental Weavers ’ IT group , two factors recently combined to drive a major Digital Transformation of the company ’ s IT network and security infrastructure . The first was a requirement to enhance the security , performance and reliability of SAP applications and services across the group ’ s network of national showrooms , while simultaneously reducing operating costs . The second was a decree ( number 188-2020 ) from the Egyptian Tax Authority ( ETA ) announcing the introduction of a mandatory clearance e-invoicing framework that requires all issued invoices to be
After drawing up a shortlist of vendors and evaluating each against both current and anticipated future requirements , Oriental Weavers chose the Fortinet Secure SD-WAN solution based on FortiGate nextgeneration firewalls ( NGFWs ). In addition , FortiClient endpoint protection , FortiManager and FortiAnalyser for centralised management , reporting and analytics , were also selected .
“ The most important attributes for us were centralised control and connection reliability ,” explained Ahmed Dawood , IT Director , Oriental Weavers group . “ To deliver the customer experience we required while complying with the ETA invoicing mandate , we needed fast , secure ,
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