Marubeni Corporation - Case study

Marubeni is involved in the handling of products and provision of services in a broad range of sectors. These areas encompass importing and exporting, as well as transactions in the Japanese market, related to food materials, food products, textiles, materials, pulp and paper, chemicals, energy, metals and mineral resources, transportation machinery, and includes offshore trading.

 The Company's activities also extend to power projects and infrastructure, plants and industrial machinery, finance, logistics and information industry, and real estate development and construction.

 Additionally, Marubeni conducts business investment, development and management on a global level.

Establish Project Office for long-term IT Strategy

In our company, we are pushing long term plan, so called “IT Strategic Roadmap”, which is strategically re-establishing IT system platform.         

In this effort, we are working on 2 major systems. One is to newly develop management control system, which is to collect and to analyze company wide information. The other system is to re-configure old enterprise system which has been used so long.

For above system development, close communication between our employee and developer was necessary and it was mandatory to have dedicated office for Co-Working.

For that purpose, we established “Project Office”, which had about 1,240 m2 (about 13,347 sq-ft) in the Tokyo area, separate from headquarter office.  

As of July, 2016, there were 180 people working in this office. Within those 180 people were our employee (about 30%), Marubeni IT Solutions employee (about 30%), other developers from partners (about 40%). However, the number of people as well as ratio would constantly vary in each development phases.

"By using WorkSpaces and other cloud services, we stablished 'BYOD & Secure' computing environment"

Corporation, Information System Planning Dept., about how they could establish such a low cost, yet, innovative office IT environment within a short period of time and how office environment is working for them.

The network environment at Project office is basically a “Net-Café”, if I would say in one word. The office does not have private network. We provide internet connection with providing minimum level of security. Also, LAN environment is all wireless LAN and by doing this, we don’t have any LAN cables.

Amazon WorkSpaces has been assigned to all developers so that everyone brings their own PC, using BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) method. The OS can be Windows or MacOS. It doesn’t matter. All the work is done and complete in Amazon WorkSpaces, therefore, the data won’t be stored at local PC. With this method, we could prevent security incidents even if someone lost his or her devices.

We use Office365 for the Groupware, which enables collaboration between our employees and developers. For having conference call with headquarter, which located in remote, and for communication between members, we use Skype for Business so that we don’t have to assign any fixed telephone to individual person. Also, we share the schedule so that member will be able to know best date and time to have a meeting with others. For e-mail security, we use Office 365 archive feature as well as Symantec Email for spam/virus protection. We restrict imprudent act of sending attachment files to outside e-mail address.

ID for Amazon WorkSpaces and Office365 are issued/managed using AWS Directory Service. Also, we implemented single-sign-on feature which enables to logon to Amazon WorkSpaces, then he/she can use Office365 accordingly. We use OneLogin for this feature.

Above mentioned IT environment was configured and established by collaboration with Marubeni IT Solutions and Serverworks. Serverworks mainly handled Amazon WorkSpaces, OneLogin, and AWS Directory Service implementation and configuration.

Lay out IT environment by considering Marubeni's future

The direct and short-term objective of establishing project office in this fashion is that we wanted to establish secure project office at speedy manner by using cloud services. 

For indirect and mid-term objective, we were considering for “Creating future model case of IT environment”.  As a “So-go-shousha”, we establish new office inside or outside of Japan and requirement is “Minimize initial investment, yet establish secure IT environment with a speedy manner”, which shares similar concept.

With these office IT environment, it requires three essential things, “Low cost”, “High flexibility” and “Robust Security”. To materialize those requirements, we believe that it is better “to smartly use Cloud and Internet and minimize physical equipment’ rather than “to deploy private line and provide Company authorized PC to people”. 

Proposal from Serverworks

In order to achieve those objectives, we consider using Amazon WorkSpaces and Office365. We conveyed our idea to Serverworks, which has been supporting AWS implementation, and Marubeni IT Solutions. Serverworks has provided us the proposal not only implement Amazon WorkSpaces and Office365, but also to solve account management complication, which usually happens when using several Cloud Services, by implementing OneLogin and AWS Directly Service. 

The proposal was serving our objectives (Low cost, High Flexibility, Robust Security) and it allows us to establish IT environment which enables high usability to cope with day-to-day operation.

IT environment at Project Office

From right, Serverworks Co., Ltd., Akira Kurebayashi, Yuki Kamata

Marubeni IT Solutions Co., Ltd., Development Division, Manager, Mr. Daisuke Soga,

Marubeni Corp., System Development Division, Assistant General Manager, Mr. Yoshiyuki Hamada

Serverworks Co., Ltd., Taisei Takahashi, Takayuki Usui

The AWS configuration image for Project office

Advice from Lead User

We don’t believe the company can be called as our “cloud partner” if that company only knows AWS, or the company is somewhat Amazon’s sales department.

Having knowledge and technical skills about AWS is prerequisite. Our belief about the partner is to have further added values, such as “Set Cloud as its core competency, yet, enable to provide complex multiple services”, “Who knows actual situation about enterprise network operation as well as who can provide coherent proposals”. 

We, Marubeni Corp. Information Planning Dept. will continue to focus on establishing IT core system which can improve/grow company more. We expect Serverworks to continue supporting our efforts by providing superior Technical skills in Cloud technologies and provide proposals. We are looking forward to having a long-term relationship.

Right end and Left end person are Serverworks employee