Years of intense discussion and high-level consultation between executive management at the Integr8 Group and its client, Gold Fields, has resulted in a vastly more effective ICT infrastructure and operation for the international gold producer.

The completion of several projects, spearheaded and managed by Integr8, has resulted in enhanced infrastructure throughout Gold Fields, an established global un-hedged producer of gold with attributable annualised production of 3.5 million gold equivalent ounces from eight operating mines in Australia, Ghana, Peru and South Africa.

Integr8 has also assisted in the formulation and application of a three-pillar strategy to maintain this level of operation for its client.

Extensive deliberation between executive leadership from Integr8 and Gold Fields Australia, Ghana, Peru and South Africa resulted in a priority list of short-term projects for completion.

These short-term projects included:

• The deployment of the Netherlands office network,
• Re-design and stabilisation of the Ghana Infrastructure and messaging platform,
• Integration of the South Deep operation after acquisition and providing goldfields.co.za e-mail addresses to the users,
• Establishment of a single Global address list and automated synchronization
• Mail synchronization to windows mobile devices
• Establishment of a small office network for exploration in the Democratic Republic of Congo

These projects and deliverables, along with several smaller projects within the South African market, have been completed.

“We are impressed with the quality of work that our partner Integr8 has provided. The company’s record of accomplishment and level of expertise is well established. They have played an important role in a number of projects and the formulation of our ongoing ICT growth strategy,” says Corrie van Niekerk, Group IT Operation Manager, Gold Fields.

Three-tier strategy to tackle challenges

In addition to the completion of these projects, Integr8 also assisted in the formulation of a long-term strategy to ensure alignment with the Gold Fields Group’s goals and business objectives – operational excellence, growth of the company and securing the future.

Integr8’s main purpose is to manage and support its client’s core infrastructure so that decision makers can focus on other key aspects of business management.

“A key part of the Gold Fields business growth strategy is commitment to the concept of a simple head office structure. This involves decentralisation to regional executive committees and mine management teams. In practice, as the Group expands globally, corporate functions are focused on the delivery of expertise and skill sets, as well as the communication of related policies, processes and controls. The strategy is about ownership and taking control of all facets of the entire operation so that they are aligned with the overall objectives of the company and the direction it is taking,” says Lance Fanaroff, joint CEO, Integr8.

According to Fanaroff the scale of the work completed to date is unique because of the complexity of the infrastructure, as well as the impact of having to deliver the solution within a specific deadline and within budget – all of which had to be done with minimal impact on the company’s global user base.

The Gold Fields environment consisted of seven forests, seven Exchange organisations with three of them sharing a single SMTP name space.

These were a mixture of Active Directory 2000, 2003 and Exchange 2000, 2003 and 2007. Most of these environments were upgraded over the past couple of years from Novell, WinNT 4.0, Active Directory 2000 and Groupwise, Exchange 5.5, Visnetic, Mail Daemon and Exchange 2000 without re-designing any architecture, or topologies.

“However, they required never ending reactive administration and support,” adds Fanaroff.

The involvement of Integr8 and application of the company’s skills sets has resulted in several key benefits to Gold Fields.

These include a single Active Directory and Exchange system to offer calendar sharing and free/busy information globally; new site/ environment, accessibility, cost reduction across software & hardware, functionality and conformity across global sites in terms of information.

“These are essential aspects of our operation and all impact on output. A more streamlined, functional infrastructure ensures that we are strategically networked, that our user base benefits from reliable connectivity and accessibility. This is essential to any global operation,” adds Van Niekerk.