Giving back and getting ahead

Goodwill Industries helps individuals with barriers to employment reach their full potential through the power of work. Hampered by legacy technologies, the Goodwill Manasota branch sought to implement a set of high-performing solutions that would help fulfil their mission, enhance the customer service experience and set the technology standard for other Goodwills across the country.

Industry: Non-profit retail
Customer: 700+ employees at 40 locations
Challenges: Frequent downtime, obsolete on-premises phone system, multiple vendor management
Windstream Enterprise Solutions: SD-WAN Concierge™, OfficeSuite UC®, Managed Network Security, Dual broadband connections
Results: Reduced downtime, superior customer experience, vendor consolidation, established technology model

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Experiencing a poor fit

Goodwill Manasota was outgrowing their legacy network services. Their MPLS-based infrastructure was beginning to affect both the frontline service experience and bottom-line profit potential. The T1 network didn’t have built-in redundancy, so it would frequently go down. That meant cashiers couldn’t process credit card transactions on their cloud-based POS systems, and customers were left in the lurch as the team worked frantically to get the system back online. When an outage occurred, IT was fielding a high number of calls at the help desk from frustrated cashiers who simply wanted to assist customers.

What’s more, when the MPLS network connection was lost, Goodwill Manasota’s cloud-based POS security camera system went down too. In any retail environment—but especially in a donations-based operation—loss prevention is critical to sustainable success. Frequent and unpredictable downtime was a risk the team simply couldn’t afford to keep taking. To top it off, the team’s network, voice and security solutions were managed by three different vendors, creating a management headache for the maxed-out IT team.

As one of the top-performing branches in the country, Goodwill Manasota offers consulting services to other Goodwill locations. The IT team knew they needed to implement a stronger, more resilient solution that would deliver a better service experience and further support Goodwill Manasota’s technology leadership in the Goodwill movement.

““We have a retail operation that uses a point of sale, so it’s critical that our systems are up at all times."

Gray Videnka, VP Information Services, Goodwill Manasota

Launching a tailor-made solution

Collaborating closely with the IT team, Windstream Enterprise (WE) implemented SD-WAN Concierge™ in active/active dual broadband configuration. The high-performing, resilient solution would ensure 100% uptime to keep systems connected, internal teams productive and customers shopping.

OfficeSuite UC® replaced the obsolete on-premises voice system, providing the team with new desktop and cordless phones—ideal for employees in reception areas who needed to be mobile on the job.

Finally, to eliminate on-premises CPE security devices and simplify solution management, WE deployed cloud-based Managed Network Security Cloud Premium. 

The perfect outfit

Since implementing SD-WAN Concierge, Goodwill Manasota locations have experienced a significant reduction in circuit failures. Cashiers and their customers experience much less downtime. When a circuit occasionally fails, the active/active network setup keeps the location up and running by triggering the backup broadband connection.

OfficeSuite UC has improved the support experience for internal users and helped expedite issues management. Staff face fewer technical issues, put in fewer help desk calls, and find the voice system easy to use and manage—all leading to greater employee productivity and a better customer experience.

Solution management has been enhanced, too. Moving to a fully managed solution means the IT team can focus on strategic initiatives while WE network and security experts handle network and communications solution support tasks. Gray Videnka and her team use WE Connect, the Windstream Enterprise management portal, to track network performance, identify security risks and manage their voice service.

A good look for Goodwill

With Windstream Enterprise behind them, Goodwill Manasota now has all the makings of a technology leader in the retail industry. The fully managed solution from a single vendor enables cost efficiencies for the business, while market-leading, cloud-based solutions support digital initiatives that drive superior customer and employee experiences.

The Goodwill Manasota IT team continues to lead the way in technology innovation for Goodwill Industries, and is looking forward to continuing their mission of maximizing people’s potential through the power of work.

“We’re delivering a better customer experience because the network stays connected. The cashiers are spending less time calling the help desk, and more time serving customers.”

Gray Videnka, VP Information Services, Goodwill Manasota

About the Author

Windstream Enterprise

Windstream Enterprise believes people should expect more from their service provider. Our mission: as network, security and application performance become continuously more critical, WE will be the partner that responds to unique customer needs—a pathfinder to help lead them through technology transformation. A trusted advisor to help them connect, transform and elevate their businesses.

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