Continuing a successful business partnership

Mladinska knjiga Group (MK) is the largest publishing group in southeast Europe, with a rich tradition stretching back 60 years. Employing more than 1,500 people, MK comprises 12 companies in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Austria. MK’s main lines of business are publishing and the book trade, retail office and school supplies, and logistical and printing services.

Because IT infrastructure plays an important role in collaboration among its geographically diverse Slovenian offices, MK established a virtual private network (VPN) more than a decade ago. This infrastructure has had a very positive effect on work processes.

“Constant supervision and notifications on the status of connectivity of more than 100 location links with the central location are very important for us. Monthly reports have helped us in choosing the best service providers, as well as with investment planning.”
Janez Firm, System Administrator, Mladinska knjiga Group

Even with the VPN’s performance improvements, however, system connectivity (speed and reliability) still relied heavily on the public information infrastructure (optical, cable or ADSL network). MK also needed overview capability for ensuring the performance and security of its infrastructure and services (IP telephony, contact center), as well as all connected devices. As a publishing company, MK didn’t have sufficient in-house resources to develop a solution, and decided instead to look for a technology partner. MK had used NIL’s infrastructure assistance services for many years; based on this very positive experience, MK opted to work with NIL on addressing these additional needs, choosing the NIL Monitor service.

Insight into public IT infrastructure performance

The assistance agreement between MK and NIL makes NIL responsible for solving issues and problems in the network, while NIL Monitor provides complete real-time insight into infrastructure activity, status of devices and security levels.

Maximum network throughput is constantly monitored on all VPN-connections. In case of deviations from normal values, NIL can immediately predict lower performance of end-users’ applications. But foreseeing is just one side of the coin; a much more important benefit of NIL Monitor is faster and more precise identification and resolution of the problem.

“We are also planning an upgrade: immediately after noticing that a location link is down, NIL Monitor would initiate first contact with MK and the service provider. Later on, if necessary, we would engage our in-house experts.”
Janez Firm, System Administrator, Mladinska knjiga Group

When network troubles are a continuing issue, precise measurements provide a very strong argument in talks with service providers. In addition to data on network throughput, NIL Monitor tracks information on availability, responsiveness and connection delays – a comprehensive image of the quality of the (public) infrastructure. Based on NIL Monitor’s data, MK has already replaced a service provider that didn’t meet MK’s stringent requirements.

Service monitoring and improved security

As a market communications and analysis tool, the contact center is one of MK’s most important services. NIL Monitor supervises data transfer between MK and its service providers, guaranteeing that the process is correct. This supervision and some additional testing have a big impact on contact center performance and on the infrastructure as a whole. Meanwhile, avoiding disturbances in the contact center has a positive impact on MK’s business relationships.

Security is an equally important matter for MK, since security incidents can also jeopardize business. Special attention is paid to devices at remote locations that are connected to public infrastructure and therefore more vulnerable to potential attacks. NIL’s engineers monitor daily security at the device level, while NIL Monitor constantly assesses the security settings of every element of the infrastructure. Based on these assessments, potential threats and security risks are identified, and, if necessary, appropriate actions are taken.

NIL also prepares monthly reports that give MK a complete overview of its information infrastructure, enabling MK to identify trends and plan for further IT investment. In all, the final outcome of MK’s use of the NIL Monitor service is lower cost of infrastructure maintenance and fewer overall problems.