Qcon has established itself as the preferred Qatari contractor for clients across the oil and gas, petrochemical, fertilizer and energy industries. To build even more efficient and high-quality services that help it protect and expand its hard-won market share, the company is driving digital transformation. For example, Qcon is digitalizing the systems it uses to track the time its staff spend on site and is introducing new cloud-based services internally.
“To strengthen our market-leading position, Qcon must stay ahead of competitors,” said Nizar Radad, Head of IT at Qcon. “Our latest digital transformation initiative involved equipping all our sites with mobile devices to replace paper timesheets. Since our workforce numbers between 5,000 and 10,000 people depending on peaks in demand, this was a significant project. We can now generate maintenance and timesheet reports for our clients automatically. We’re also removing paper in our back office, and gradually migrating to cloud services such as Office 365.”
With technology integrated more closely into its employees’ everyday work, Qcon stores and accesses more data than ever before – and maintaining the integrity of this growing volume of data is essential.
“Four years ago, we had 10 TB of data,” said Nizar Radad. “That’s turned into 30 TB, and it continues to grow by the day. Many of our employees work on very remote sites, uploading data to our servers. If a server went down and we lost data, we wouldn’t be able to produce reports for planning, progress, timesheets and so on correctly, which could prevent us billing clients accurately.”
Qcon recognized that its existing data-protection toolset was not up to the task and looked for a more robust alternative. Specifically, the company aimed to reduce the time it took to back up and restore data and targeted a solution that could cope with its fast-changing infrastructure.
“Our previous backup and recovery tool was unable to meet our long-term needs,” said Nizar Radad. “It wasn’t built for virtualization and there was a lack of local support. To achieve our strategic goals, we began looking for a future-proof option for data protection.”
Qcon selected Veeam Backup & Replication to introduce new layers of business resilience. The company ran a thorough review of competing solutions before making its choice.
“Veeam technology was the only solution we considered that integrated backup and replication into a single package,” said Nizar Radad. “We were impressed by how easy the solution is to configure, and its rich functionality. It’s easy to find documentation online, which helps us use each feature to its full potential.”
Veeam Backup & Replication offered Qcon another key advantage: it is hardware agnostic, allowing the company to back up data across its diverse environment with ease. Qcon protects more than 50 virtual machines and multiple physical servers with Veeam.
“Our backup policy varies according to workload, with data backed up at minimum once a day, and every four hours for our most critical applications,” said Nizar Radad. “With Veeam, we can manage a multifaceted backup strategy from one point of control.”
In response to a recommendation from Veeam, Qcon adopted a 3-2-1-1-0 rule of data protection, where it keeps three copies of its data on two different media with one copy off-site, one copy air-gapped, immutable or offline and zero backup recovery errors, thanks to a Veeam feature called SureBackup®.
“The Veeam team introduced us to new concepts such as the 3-2-1-1-0 rule all the time, helping us to continue optimizing our environment,” said Nizar Radad. “Veeam also runs periodic health checks on our systems and provides personalized support. While we have a dedicated representative, he’s not a bottleneck: if we open a support ticket, we can quickly get in touch with the resources we need without waiting for our rep to respond.”
Using Veeam Backup & Replication, Qcon can now restore data with greater speed and granularity. The company’s new capabilities are helping it to ensure that its employees can provide a consistently high level of service to clients.
“Frequently, we receive database- and file-level recovery requests from Qcon departments including engineering and procurement,” said Nizar Radad. “With Veeam, we can respond quickly to minimize any impact on their work out in the field. When we experienced an outage due to some updates to our electronic document management system, we used Veeam instant recovery to restore data in minutes.”
Qatar Engineering & Construction Company (Qcon) is the primary engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the oil and gas, petrochemical, fertilizer and power sectors in Qatar. The company has played a key role in developing the country’s hydrocarbon infrastructure. Qcon employs 5,000 skilled staff on a permanent basis, alongside up to 5,000 temporary workers during peak periods.
To build on its leading position in the marketplace, Qcon is enhancing its services through digital transformation: rolling out mobile devices for staff in the field and replacing paper processes with digital workflows. As the company’s data quadrupled in size in four years, ensuring reliable access to timely information for its employees and clients became even more critical.