Rugby Australia (formerly known as Australian Rugby Union until 2017), is the governing body of rugby union in Australia. It also manages Australia’s national rugby union teams, including the Wallabies, Wallaroos, and the Men’s and Women’s Sevens. By implementing Cisco Meraki for the new Headquarters WIFI, the National Sporting team realised ease of management, availability, and reliability. An interview with Sunil Kalidindi, Infrastructure Systems Manager at Rugby Australia.
How did you end up at Rugby Australia?
Kalidindi: “I have been in Rugby Union for 10 years. The Infrastructure Manager offered me a role as an infrastructure team leader, which I did for about 4 years. When the business re-organized, I started my current position as Infrastructure Systems Manager.”
What challenges in your business influenced you to look for a solution?
Kalidindi: “In 2017 – before we moved into our current building – at our old office we had a staff of 70-80 people, one floor, and old WIFI standards. Bandwidth was a massive issue and interference with other WIFI devices caused drop outs. It was clear this solution was not working. Plus, we had the Sevens staff operating from another location at Narrabeen. They had the same system as we did and the same issues with reliability and speed of WIFI. When we knew about the plans to move to a brand new building, which was going to be a bigger workspace, where we wanted to centralize all Rugby operations. In the new building we have a playing field, a gym.. everything is located here. It was very important for us to have a robust WIFI solution that covers it all. On average we have about 160 staff. And then there are the players training from the facility. So, on a busy day you are looking at 250 people that are all connected at the same time.”
What were the key considerations in your search for a solution?
Kalidindi: “We were looking for a solution that would tick mainly five boxes; bandwidth, reliability, ease of management, ideally it would be a cloud based management solution and within budget. As part of our procurement process, we looked at several options based on our requirements. We looked into three different solutions: Aruba, Meraki and Cisco’s own WIFI solution. Aruba was great, but above budget. One thing that lead to Meraki is simplicity of management. That was a major selling point. Plus, Cisco Meraki ticked all the other boxes.”
Did you encounter any challenges implementing the solution?
Kalidindi: “Yes, we did. But that had to do with the fact that the builders kept changing the timelines. We had to take a few steps while implementing the solution and to get everything up and running. First, obviously we had to install physical access points. For this, BEarena joined forces with Networx. Stepping up as the delivery partner, Networx implemented the solution. They came in to do this and they did a fantastic job.
He adds: “They adapted easily to the changing timelines and our schedule, even if that meant to be working nights or weekends. Secondly, the Meraki switches needed to be installed. The last and third bit was configuration and fine tuning to make sure that everything was working before we moved in. From end to end, dealing with BEarena was a great experience.”
What are your thoughts on the skills from BEarena and the timelines we operated in?
What specific results have you seen from implementing our solution?
Kalidindi: “I am very surprised by the minimal effort that was needed to make this work. Once the solution was up and running, we were good to go. It is hard to quantify financial benefits because it is mostly to be noticed in terms of overall productivity and less interruption. This is cost-effective of course. For us – the employees of Rugby Australia – the most important benefits from implementing this solution are ease of management and availability.”
He continues: “In regards to value for our High Performance team, reliability and speed are the biggest benefits. Having reliable and high quality WIFI, enables our High Performance staff to be mobile with the tools they use to collect performance data, review training footage and analytics out in the Gym or in the indoor field and not tied to a desk. Having a good WIFI solution means, they do not have to worry about the IT side of things or being hindered in what they do.”
About BEarena & ASI Solutions
BEarena is an ANZ based IT Services organisation, focused on Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, Public and Hybrid Cloud Solutions, managed services and Disaster Recovery platforms. Operational since 2007, teams in both Australia and New Zealand service Enterprise government and corporate clients.
BEarena was acquired by ASI Solutions in Feburary 2020. LEARN MORE HERE