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Case Study: Empowering People Through Employment

The Challenge

To say this retail thrift store has a lot going on is an understatement: they are a large retail operation that sells donated items across several stores and regions, operates multiple employee centers, and runs training and support hubs across all of these locations.
The challenge for such a wide-reaching organization is to keep all their locations — including those with point-of-sale (POS) systems, time clock systems, video security and alarm systems, job training classrooms and traditional offices — up and running at acceptable speeds. A single-threaded MPLS network connection just wasn’t cutting it. Frequent heavy traffic and “bandwidth starvation” meant unreliable service and outages across the network, resulting in lost sales, missed revenue, theft of products and no room for growth.

The Solution

To address their needs with their limited non-profit budget, the customer first looked at expanding their MPLS network to handle a heavier load. As expected, the solution was far too costly to implement, which led to his investigation of other solutions.
We provided an SD-WAN solution, with dual broadband connections in an active/passive configuration, to replace the customer’s legacy T1 MPLS network across 30+ retail locations, primary and secondary headquarter locations, and a community employment center.
The SD-WAN solution and dual broadband circuits help protect business-critical applications against outages. Many mission-critical apps were moved from their headquarters to cloud service provider, Azure, and our Cloud Connect was added for reliable and high-performance connectivity to these apps. The customer found the solution affordable, especially when compared to adding bandwidth to their old system.

The Results

The result gives the retail chain ample bandwidth to keep their existing apps running at peak performance while enabling many new apps. For example, they’ve now employed new distance learning via video that wouldn’t have been possible with the previous MPLS network. Network outages are rare, and the customer portal allows their IT team to proactively monitor the system. However, at the end of the day, the customer is most impressed with the resiliency, reporting and cost savings.
Training for the future Managed Network Security (MNS) continues to provide network security for the customer. Newly increased bandwidth allowed the remote VPN capabilities to support record numbers of employees working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And while Dynamic IP continues to provide the organization’s telephone services, the customer reports that an eventual migration to our Unified Communications solution (UCaaS) is a future roadmap item.
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