Business challenge

Zorlu Holding A.S., a Turkish conglomerate with more than 60 companies, needed to consolidate its disparate IT data centers and replace the outdated technology that resided within them.


The company chose IBM Services due to its robust technological offerings and business acumen, replacing Zorlu’s previous database management solution with IBM Db2® software and upgrading to the IBM AIX® operating system.


Centralized the IT organization

by consolidating disparate data centers across the country

Established a documented IT process

using standardized governance and service management practices

Increased the value of IT business innovation

by providing technology and business consulting services

Business challenge story

The need for an IT data center refresh

Self-cleaning fabrics. QR-coded content-producing linens. A fully automated smart factory. One of the largest geothermal plants in the world. These are just a few examples of the technological innovation Zorlu exemplifies across its businesses.

Since the corporation’s inception in 1953 in Turkey, it has expanded to include more that 60 companies spanning the fields of textiles, energy, real estate, mining and metallurgy, consumer electronics, white goods and telecommunications. Across all of its businesses, Zorlu is committed to pioneering sustainable, innovative products and services, fueled by smart technologies.

The road to achieving this level of technological leadership hasn’t always been smooth. In 2006, Zorlu’s IT environment was in dire need of a refresh to keep pace with the company’s rapid growth.

“We didn’t have a centralized IT organization across our group of companies,” says Halil Aydin, IT Director at Zorlu. Instead, Zorlu provided IT services to all of its companies from disparate data centers in multiple locations scattered across Turkey. And those data centers had serious issues. Servers and database platforms were outdated, outages were an ongoing issue, security was insufficient and IT processes were undocumented or nonexistent.

Zorlu was a thriving corporation and had set its sights on being a market leader. It needed a reliable IT infrastructure robust enough to support the growth and innovation necessary to fully attain that goal. To that end, the company sought a partner that could help it upgrade its IT environment to accommodate the rapid pace of technology, while focusing on the needs of the business.

IBM not only focused on the IT infrastructure, they set their sights on the business side as well.

Halil Aydin, IT Director, Zorlu Holdings A.S.

Transformation story

Technology with a business focus

Zorlu issued a request for proposal for a comprehensive overhaul of its IT environment. While several companies responded, Zorlu chose IBM Services to centralize, update and run its data center. The decision was based primarily on IBM’s broad set of technologies and services — as well as its expertise in connecting IT to business needs.

Once the contract was finalized, IBM worked with Zorlu to consolidate all of its data centers into two centralized locations — one in an IBM data center and another in a Zorlu facility. Among the most significant technological upgrades IBM undertook were the migration of Zorlu’s previous SAP server and database platforms to the AIX platform and the Db2 platform, respectively, and a refresh of its existing servers with IBM servers. In addition, IBM upgraded and took on management of Zorlu’s help desk, network, security, storage and asset management services.

Once the initial migration was complete, Zorlu was able to shift its focus from solving day-to-day IT problems to using IT to support its business requirements. IBM applied its expertise in the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a set of best practices that align IT with business needs, and Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies (COBIT), a framework for IT management and governance, to help Zorlu document its IT practices and create service level agreements (SLAs) across its businesses.

Another boon the IBM team provided was access to subject matter expertise in the diverse industries in which Zorlu operated. “IBM not only helped us within the scope of the contract, but also brought in sector approaches,” says Aydin. “For example, they offered to consult with us on some consumer electronics issues, as well as some energy-based issues. They even invited us to visit some IBM data centers that use different business models covering electricity sales and distribution.”

IBM knows the customer mindset — they understand customers’ needs.

Halil Aydin, IT Director, Zorlu Holdings A.S.

Results story

An ever-evolving relationship

The revamp and centralization of Zorlu’s data centers has greatly enhanced the efficiency of the company’s IT environment, increasing the availability of its business applications while minimizing operational risks and optimizing IT spending.

The outstanding services, technology and support the IBM team has provided over the last 14 years have helped Zorlu successfully fulfill its technological and strategic vision. Indeed, so much so that the company has renewed the original contract twice, most recently in 2017. The IBM team continues to provide Zorlu with tangible value today.

For example, last year IBM helped Zorlu implement the Data Volume Management on SAP solution in its consumer electronics sector IT environment. As a result, the company’s electronic production service capacity has dropped from 12 TB to 5 TB — a nearly 60 percent reduction.

Recently, Zorlu has been considering moving from an on-premises to a cloud environment. The company looked at the offerings of several vendors, including IBM. “We were interested in working in a test environment to do the cloud assessment,” says Aydin, “so we gave IBM access to all our infrastructure to determine whether it was ready to migrate to the cloud environment. IBM provided these services free of charge, and last week we approved working with the IBM cloud environment.”

Ultimately, Zorlu and IBM have had a highly successful, productive relationship that continues to thrive. According to Aydin: “We have a good relationship with IBM that not only covers IT infrastructure, but covers the business side as well. I really appreciate IBM’s approach to working with us. Their competencies, skills and customer mindset are excellent.”

business logo

Zorlu Holding A.S.

Founded in 1953, Zorlu is headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, and is one of the largest corporations in the country. The industrial conglomerate comprises more than 60 businesses, primarily across the textiles, energy, electronics, white goods, information technologies, mining and real estate sectors.

Take the next step

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