In partnership with integrated energy and chemicals company Sasol’s Information Management Services (IMS) to develop and deliver an integrated information technology (IT) solution for its new head office, professional services company Turner & Townsend has helped Sasol – which is involved in conventional oil refineries – create a world-class workspace.
Turner & Townsend’s role was to bridge the information gap between the building developer and Sasol’s IMS team, ensuring that the base build met the IT requirements for now and well into the future.
“This major project is geared to meet Sasol’s present and future requirements as well as allow for global standardisation across the business. Notably, it provides the capacity to grow the network seamlessly as the workforce increases. The thinking, planning and decisions made in terms of technology for the building are based on agile working principles, connectivity at the core, flexibility, scalability and the requirement to reduce real estate costs and operational risk,” Turner & Townsend information and communication technology project manager Hendrik Engelbrecht says about the project.
Further, the office incorporates a high speed fibre optic, wide area network (WAN) “to facilitate connectivity to services hosted externally to the Katherine street premises and designed to provide the highest possible level of wireless saturation and coverage throughout the building, which includes all basement levels”.
In addition, technology such as CAT 7 cables has been installed to allow Sasol to create an expandable and flexible cabling system that will save Sasol the expense and time of having to rewire for new features in the future.
“Two independent links to different network providers were installed to ensure service availability and resilience, with the total bandwidth capacity of 900 Mb intelligently managed with traffic balanced across the network links,” Engelbrecht explains.
The new headquarters accommodates about 3 500 of Sasol’s staff who relocated from 17 previous locations. Turner & Townsend were initially appointed to undertake a review of future technology aspirations and new ways of working – considered as part of the consolidation into a single location.
“As a result, a holistic and sophisticated IT enablement strategy was devised and presented, demonstrating how business requirements can be achieved through cohesive implementation of specific technology solutions,” Engelbrecht adds.
“Importantly, during the design stage, we then needed to confirm that the IT design complied with the physical building design and that the network in the new building tied into and integrated with Sasol’s existing global solution and we needed to interface constantly with Sasol’s own project management office, taking on the role of Sasol IT’s representative to make sure the IT was well considered and fully integrated from start to finish.”
The core of the network resides in the building’s 500 m2 central equipment room, while each floor, besides the ground and first floor, has three independent satellite equipment rooms providing localised connectivity. Other key features of the project include a distributed antennae system for high-speed 4G (LTE) connection to all Vodacom users throughout the building and a cloud-based Cisco telephony solution which includes workspace and meeting room conference phones.
The project also incorporates security features such as access control, closed-circuit television and alarm monitoring, a parking navigation and guidance system providing motorists with real-time information which reduces the average time to park, a walk-in IT service centre for users who require assistance, and cutting-edge audio visual technology for integrated and automated meeting and teleconference rooms.
“The technology implemented is cost effective and all the technology solutions support the overall Green Rating of the building,” explains Sasol lead enterprise information management and information security Johanna Malan.
“As a global chemicals and energy player with a high performing and mobile workforce, the selection of flexible technology solutions that allow for future growth while delivering on immediate requirements was the imperative,“ Malan concludes.