Building for the future

When your business is all about building, what matters most is what the business is built on. As one of North America’s largest manufacturers of building products and materials, it takes more than brick and mortar to be a leader in modern building materials. With a service footprint that includes all 50 states, much of Canada and a growing presence in the Southern Hemisphere, they could not tolerate any signs of structural weakness in their network. They turned to external experts for a solution that would put them on a solid foundation for the future.

Industry: Building materials
Customer: 1,000+ locations across North America, rapid growth via acquisition
Challenges: Decentralized organization/network Inadequate bandwidth, lacked network redundancy
Solutions: Professional Services, SD-WAN Concierge™, UCaaS, Multiple access options
Results: 30% savings and simplicity with a single provider; increased network bandwidth and reliability; improved performance, visibility and reporting

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Lacking a strong network foundation

As a major corporation built by numerous acquisitions, the company was very decentralized for its size. It was an amalgam of locally-operated companies, each retaining its core identity and maintaining its name and unique attributes. Each company acquired retained its own network infrastructure and IT management continued making technology decisions independently. At the corporate level, they were missing out on the benefits of standardization, simplification and automation.

Windstream Enterprise’s relationship with the company began in 2017 with a professional services engagement to inventory and document the company’s dispersed IT assets. From that initial success, Windstream Enterprise earned the status of a trusted partner and began participating in monthly and quarterly planning strategy sessions.

This deep collaboration enabled a better understanding of business needs and issues such as the company’s ongoing problem with local service going down at random sites. Service outages meant lost revenue because many orders were taken by phone. The problem was amplified by a lack of network redundancy.

Diverse, reliable connectivity was essential for the company to realize benefits from greater employee productivity and process automation. More bandwidth was required to support security camera surveillance and other latency-intolerant applications.

To ensure that future growth would be enabled—and not inhibited—by the network, the company’s leadership knew that enhancements were needed. They also wanted to centralize and standardize network services to achieve a lower total cost of operations. Windstream Enterprise’s Professional Services team met directly with the CIO to prioritize the company’s goals and develop a plan to exceed them.

“Windstream Enterprise’s comprehensive solution designed by their Professional Services team, provided a three-fold benefit to our company: an unbeatable bundle (SD-WAN, UCaaS and access), a network under a sole provider with the capacity for future growth, and a strong relationship with a trusted partner.”

Resources delivered

The Windstream Enterprise Professional Services team inventoried all network and voice systems by visiting all locations to document access connections, CPE and phones. They uncovered an extensive and expensive MPLS network. Twenty-five people were dedicated to network operations yet lacked the necessary visibility and tools to transform data into information for well-informed decision making. The Windstream Enterprise Professional Services team prepared a six-site SD-WAN proof-of-concept (POC) project designed to demonstrate the tremendous benefits that could be realized at more than one thousand sites in North America.

As one member of the IT team noted, “By offering us Professional Services first, with no promise of a network sale, it really established trust. We were impressed by their understanding of the challenges created by our complexity. Working together, the proof-of-concept enabled all of us to tailor a solution that met our business goals.”

Following the successful POC, the company deployed SD-WAN and voice services to more than a thousand locations in the U.S. and Canada. Windstream Enterprise helped the firm centralize and standardize by upgrading to UCaaS, replacing two problematic voice platforms with one integrated, cloud-based voice system.

Results to build upon

  • By synchronizing a well-integrated implementation of SD-WAN, UCaaS and voice services, the company achieved reliability, visibility and control, in addition to significant savings
  • Rapid installation and flexible network design, customized to each location by Professional Services team
  • Alternate network access for increased bandwidth and resiliency
  • The online portal, WE Connect, provides real-time statistics on the performance of every application, including bandwidth usage, down to the individual IP address/user
  • End-to-end access and network management via a single vendor, yielding significant operational and financial efficiencies
  • Today’s challenges were overcome, and the company is positioned for continued success

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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