The new infrastructure, created in collaboration with Accenture, CISCO and Sirti Digital Solutions, combines private and public networks to boost agility and cost-efficiency
Rome, July 23rd, 2020 – Accenture, CISCO and Sirti have worked together with Enel on one of the largest corporate telecommunications network virtualisation projects in the world, accelerating the Group’s digital transformation. Designed and developed in Italy, the programme has led to a reduction in operating costs, significantly increasing the agility of Enel’s infrastructure. The network connects more than 1,000 sites on three continents and in over 10 countries (Italy, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Russia, in addition to a number of sites in North America).
The initiative is part Enel’s broader strategic programme called Beyond Cloud Computing (BCC), in which software-defined WAN (technology that optimises access to cloud applications and use of connectivity) and edge computing solutions merge to create a telecommunications architecture that helps to achieve operational excellence through the comprehensive digitisation of processes.
“The Beyond Cloud Computing project,” said Carlo Bozzoli, Enel’s Head of Global Digital Solutions, “is part of the digital transformation programme launched in 2015 with migration to the cloud. During the COVID-19 emergency, the virtualisation of network equipment has allowed us to manage our infrastructure remotely, without the need to have personnel on site.”
The project is based on a lean virtual infrastructure that, in addition to private networks, also uses public networks. Until recently, this solution was considered hard to achieve, due to companies’ unwillingness to use public connectivity. This reluctance has now been overcome through the adoption of a secure dedicated virtual network, offering a high-quality service and reduced costs, precisely because it is built by integrating public and private infrastructure.
The programme has provided for the introduction of architectures and technologies aimed at accelerating digitisation by facilitating use of the public cloud, as well as the related increase in the number of cloud providers. It is a first step towards edge computing, which will bring about a reduction in the latency of data processing, thus boosting the processing capacity distributed around the country.
This project has allowed Enel to significantly reduce go-to-market times and optimise cost efficiency, thanks to the rationalisation of systems. It has also cut operating costs by, for example, enabling the remote management of maintenance operations. Enel will also be able to integrate innovative technologies, such as the Internet of Things and augmented and virtual reality, into its network to facilitate the monitoring, management and maintenance of its assets located throughout Italy.
Proof of the new infrastructure’s potential and agility was provided during the response to the COVID-19 crisis, as Enel swiftly enabled its more than 37,000 employees to work remotely, allowing them to access corporate applications and collaborate securely.
The new infrastructure was built by Enel Global Digital Solutions, working in partnership with Accenture, Cisco and Sirti. Accenture supported management of the transformation programme and implementation of the centralised component of the infrastructure, which has innovative features provided by Cisco’s Viptela SD-WAN technology. Cisco also contributed to the network’s executive design, while Sirti Digital Solutions supported implementation of the distributed component of the new architecture throughout Italy and the migration of network services.