Kolok, a division of the Bidvest Group and one of South Africa’s largest IT distributors, has deployed Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN to improve its customer service, speed of response and business efficiencies.
With an operation as complex as Kolok’s, a reliable and secure network is paramount to keep business running smoothly. The company fulfils thousands of individual deliveries of IT products every day from its Johannesburg headquarters.

To stay ahead of the competition, Kolok and 380 employees are heavily reliant on secure, consistent connectivity and reliable 24/7 access to network infrastructure, data and applications.

Keeping the company’s warehousing, logistics, and distribution operations fully functioning requires forensic planning and expert execution. Clients trust Kolok to process a huge variety of orders accurately and quickly, often on the road to their destination within just four hours.

Kolok works closely with leading technology solutions specialist, Troye, to constantly assess how new innovations in technology can improve productivity, drive business efficiencies, cut costs, and minimise the risks of damaging downtime.

“Working with Troye, we selected NetScaler SD-WAN from Citrix to help us to deliver a secure, consistent user experience throughout our branch network and, at the same time, provide the flexibility and control we need to manage our operation efficiently, now and in the future,” says Kolok IT manager Richard Vivian.

“Visibility and control delivers peace of mind. Previously, connectivity and network infrastructure problems were difficult to predict, and were complex and costly. Downtime in branches could compromise order fulfilment and deliveries, putting Kolok’s reputation for speed and service excellence at risk,” he explains.

Vivian points to traditional Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks that can be unreliable. “Even with expensive MPLS networks, we have experienced down time when a primary line has failed and backups have not been enabled. In a worst case scenario, the backup line was cancelled and there was no communication to us, and we could not see that there was no backup until the lines had failed.”

He says even with MPLS networks working, you only use a single line and half of the network that you are paying for is never in use. “SD WAN allows the use of all of the lines. But be careful in the provisioning of the lines, as you still need to remain functional in the case of a single line failure when you will be running at much lower capacity.”

“Visibility into the network is extremely important,” he stresses. “The SD WAN solution from Citrix provides that visibility. Detailed information flows and other monitoring provides a lot of information on what is going over the lines.”

Troye managing director Helen Kruger says NetScaler SD-WAN has transformed Kolok’s ability to track the status and performance of its IT assets minute-by-minute, enabling potential problems to be efficiently and cost-effectively overcome before they escalate.

“It’s very reassuring to have a complete view of what’s going on throughout our branch network — and to know that the Citrix technology is protecting us, keeping our people connected and productive,” Vivian adds.

“Along with improved productivity and secure, always-on communications, the investment in NetScaler SD-WAN is part of a business transformation that is providing Kolok with an agile, scalable, cloud-based IT platform to maintain its market leadership position in South Africa,” says Kruger.

Return on investment will be achieved in just three years, purely through savings on line costs. The results of improved business efficiency, performance, and Kolok’s enhanced reputation for excellence, that Citrix technology will help deliver, will be substantial.

The Troye and Citrix teams came together to devise a bespoke design and installation of the NetScaler SD-WAN solution, forging strong relationships with their Kolok colleagues in the process.

“Troye and Citrix have proved to be valuable and engaged partners throughout, providing the skills and experience to guide us through this transition,” Vivian adds.

The SD WAN solution is part of the larger Citrix offering. It gives Kolok control of its internal network. The company is currently also implementing Citrix NetScaler that will give it protection and control from its internal network to public networks.

“With the continued development on the solution, new features are being made available to us so that we continue to grow the value of the solution. With the firewall features that are now available on the product we are looking forward to implementing a distributed fire wall at all of our sites,” he explains.

“Citrix is enabling our people across South Africa to focus on providing great service to customers, while managers have visibility and control of a smart solution that is easy to use and highly cost-effective,” Vivian concludes.