The Coronavirus Pandemic has taken everyone by surprise. There is virtually no industry that has not been affected by the pandemic. For some, it was an opportunity especially for e- commerce business which has soared high during these difficult times, while for others it is an unfortunate turn of event especially in the travel and tourism industry. CRESCO is geographically and conveniently located in various parts of the world. Our offices in the UAE, Seychelles and the Philippines are actively operational amidst COVID-19, however, keeping all these offices connected is just a small part of the wider picture.
Where we use Synology
We are actively using two Synology NAS in Dubai office (DXB-DS1, DXB-DS2) and one each at the Seychelles (SEZ-DS1) and Philippines (PH-DS1). The main NAS in Dubai – DXB-DS1 is the backbone of our daily operations. It hosts our CRM application as a VM using Synology Virtual Machine Manager and also doubles up as our storage server and DNS Server. This also ensures that our company is GDPR compliant since all the customer data is hosted in house and never makes its way to any remote cloud server. In addition, we also use Active Backup For Business to maintain the back of the SAGE Windows Server.
The other NAS in Dubai – DXB-DS2 hosts the Synology Chat, the Surveillance Station and is used for backing up data from the DXB-DS1 Server using HyperBackup application. Furthermore, this NAS also acts as an authenticated file sharing server for external uses. Synology QuickConnect is enabled so that the Synology Chat can be accessed from the internet. We use the Synology Central Management System (CMS) to manage the Synology NAS from a central location without any hassle. This ensures that all notifications and warnings are available in a common platform for monitoring.
The NAS device in the Philippines and Seychelles uses Synology CloudStation ShareSync to live sync the relevant data from the DXB-DS1 server for the local teams. This ensures that the data is available in multiple locations and also guarantees business continuity as a part of the Company’s ISO standards. NAS also hosts the Surveillance Stations for the corresponding locations. Another part of the puzzle is the sheer volume of documents that is are handled by our CRESCO Accounting team while providing accounting services to its clients. Bookkeeping is a straight forward process, but filing and maintaining document batches in the server is extremely time consuming. We use SAGE ERP on one of our Windows servers, and we use Xtracta, an automated data entry platform powered by AI to process large volumes of data and convert it into entries in the SAGE ERP. But the main challenge we faced was to store these documents in the NAS with minimal user intervention.
We developed an application where the users can set a path for each document type while processing the document in Xtracta, and upon successful posting into SAGE, the application portal will automatically move a copy of the document to the relevant location in NAS and add the document path link to SAGE along with the batch information, for later reference.
The Automation Process
This entire automation process increased the productivity of the accounting team by many folds. Now they can process and file more than 1000 documents in a matter of minutes whereas earlier it used to take up to two days. And with this process, they need to access each document just once. Initially, they had to first access the document to post the entry into SAGE, and then they renamed the file properly and store it in the relevant location in the
NAS. But now the entire operation is automated and the files are directly renamed as per ISO Standards and stored into NAS. The following graph illustrates the improvement in process efficiency before and after the implementation.
With such a comprehensive IT infrastructure spread over various geographical locations, we were always prepared to work remotely when situations arise. Since March 2020, most of our team members were working remotely from home which did not reduce our productivity in any way, in some events it even increased in some aspects.
Increased Efficiency and Productivity
While most of the companies are struggling to remain connected during the pandemic, we at CRESCO are going ahead with our day to day operations. With Synology Chat, the entire team is always in constant touch with each other. The CRM is always accessible to the team, no matter where they are. And when the NAS teams up with the AI power of Xtracta and the computing power of SAGE, it creates a perfect combo for automation and optimization. Within a few months, we will add more Synology NAS to our IT infrastructure and we will be hosting the corporate e-mail solutions in-house, using the Synology MailPlus server.
Synology devices are extremely efficient and require low maintenance as compared to other standard servers and NAS. Thus, our team can utilize its time and resources in other productive tasks rather than in server maintenance. The main advantage of Synology NAS is that most of the enterprise tools are readily available and integrated with Synology NAS.
Synology devices have given us confidence to venture into unknown territories of business knowing that we have a strong IT infrastructure to pull off any difficult task.
The following diagram illustrates how CRESCO has implemented a comprehensive network architecture with Synology devices as its backbone.