With so many locations, managing different vendors for each location became complicated and time consuming and RE/MAX couldn't leverage any significant buying power with any one vendor. The company needed to consolidate vendors to save money and improve overall services to agents and move their Lone Wolf account package to an offsite location.
It was critical that RE/MAX agents experienced no interruption of service, especially with voice services. They also needed to maintain their existing Inter-Tel Axxess phone systems at each location. RE/MAX also needed a superior level of technical and customer support.
"We were really being stretched too thin and we were experiencing technical problems," said Joseph Miller, IT manager. "There is only one dedicated IT resource to manage all of the IT services across the company and we weren't getting any meaningful assistance from the carriers, despite the fact that we were experiencing outages and other technical problems on a fairly regular basis."
BroadRiver provided a T1 for voice and a T1 for data at two of the locations and provided an integrated access T1 service for the third location, consolidating both the data and voice traffic on a single circuit where bandwidth is dynamically allocated. High-speed Internet access was made available at all of the offices.
BroadRiver provided two custom-made servers for hosting the Lone Wolf accounting package with daily managed tape back-up service and automatic replication to tape. Using BroadRiver's managed firewall service, all of the dedicated servers were protected from SPAM, viruses and other Internet-based attacks.
RE/MAX immediately realized cost savings of approximately 30 percent on their combined voice and data telecommunications spend, which included reductions in circuit and equipment charges as well as long distance.
"The pricing structure was awesome with virtually everything included in the stated price, making it straightforward and easy to pitch to the owners. One bill also meant less paperwork to deal with," said Miller.
The performance of the network increased substantially, allowing agents to download and upload real estate images quickly and easily over the Internet. Access to the Lone Wolf accounting package was also increased.
As a BroadRiver customer, RE/MAX received a single point of contact for all their communications services
company-wide and highly responsive technical assistance made the transition seamless to end-users. "It's
amazing how fast I can get a call back," said Miller. "I always know they are immediately working on a
problem. I know I can pick up the phone and get results."
The company operated an in-house data center consisting of application servers, database servers and email servers all to support hospital operations and internal administrative functions. They operated a Wide Area Network (WAN) using ATM over fiber optics and point-to-point T1 circuits to connect 8 hospitals to their data center facility. The company ran mission critical applications that required 100 percent availability and uptime.
By using BroadRiver, the company was able to reduce its headcount by four employees in the IT department and was subsequently able to terminate their real estate lease obligations for administrative space.
BroadRiver deployed T1 connectivity to connect each of the hospitals and offices to the main location, and then provided fiber connectivity back to the BroadRiver data center. All of the company's server farms were condensed and moved into cabinets at the BroadRiver data center. BroadRiver provided a wide array of enhanced services, such as managed firewall, real-time disaster recovery and enterprise tape backup. BroadRiver provided managed security services to protect all of the mission critical information and also managed private data networking across the company's new created WAN.
BroadRiver replaced all of the existing customer premise equipment with managed Cisco routers and switches improving the quality and manageability of the company's network.
The existing phone system was replaced with bonded T-1 VoIP service which integrated local and long distance voice, 800 service, high speed Internet access and private data networking onto two circuits. New IP phones allowed employees to change and configure their own extensions and voice features over the web.
BroadRiver assigned fax to email accounts with direct fax numbers for each employee, giving them each their own personalized fax account. For a number of executives, BroadRiver deployed T1 VoIP service to their residences, allowing the executives to plug in their IP phone at home and be instantly on the private corporate network.
With the downsized staff, employees were routinely rotating across corporate and hospital locations. The Cisco IP phones were portable, allowing the employee to simply plug-and-play the device on any Ethernet port on the network.
A managed firewall, private VLANs, intrusion detection, tunneling, and VPN services were deployed to protect
sensitive data from unauthorized use and corruption.
The firm was experiencing tremendous growth fueled by low interest rates. Given the localized, transactional nature of the practice, it was critical for Dewrell Sacks to open up a large number of satellite offices to provide more extensive reach and coverage. Secure, interoffice voice and data communications between satellite locations and the main office were required as was uninterrupted service while the new solutions were implemented. The last requirement was ongoing customer support.
"It was critical that I could work with a single provider to quickly and efficiently coordinate the turn-up of new locations," said Tracey Dewrell, Esq. "Also, since I have a single IT manager, it was important for me to have a company that could work collaboratively to address all of our voice and data service requirements."
Additional needs included a centralized call reception and four-digit dialing to all locations on the network. Sufficient bandwidth to transfer large files and accommodate frequent faxes was also needed.
BroadRiver worked with Dewrell Sacks from the outset to project manage the cutover of existing locations and the turn-up of new locations. The initial effort established high-speed connectivity at the main location by provisioning and installing bonded, clear-channel T1 service at over 3 Mbps. All voice and data communication services were layered onto this connection, including local and long distance service, 800 service, high speed Internet access and private tunneling for interoffice communications across the WAN. The service at the main location included deployment of a Cisco router, several Cisco Catalyst switches, and over 50 Cisco 7960 IP phones with two 7914 expansion modules for the receptionists. Managed VoIP service using Cisco IP phones was used to replace the traditional phone system in all locations.
Traditional paper fax machines were augmented with fax-to-email accounts for every employee, allowing inbound faxes to arrive as attachments in a user's email account that could then be stored electronically. Since highly confidential customer information was routinely traversing the network, security was a critical issue. BroadRiver established separate Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) for voice, Internet access and internal data communications to protect the internal information and used private tunneling across the T1 circuits to further protect the internal data flow between offices. Managed firewall services were configured to protect the company from unwanted Internet traffic, attacks, SPAM and viruses.
All locations were successfully brought online quickly and without disruption to the firm's operations. "The process was really efficient. Working with a single provider for all of our voice and data requirements eased coordination efforts, improved speed and responsiveness," said Dewrell.
With T1 based service, the company benefited from high-capacity, bi-directional bandwidth, which greatly increased the speed and reliability of the internal data communications and Internet access.
"Having all locations on a single private network allowed us to move customer packages across the organization quickly and efficiently. We significantly improved our customer service by having so many new locations available for clients to conduct business and having our attorneys and administrative personnel always in touch with all of their clients' information. With everyone having their own personal fax number, the faxed information was always instantly with the right person," said Dewrell. "We eliminated the manual process of fax distribution."
Finally, with each location on the network, all inbound telephone calls were handled by one centralized receptionist who could immediately route the calls to individual extensions at every office or route them directly to voicemail. "We now operate as a single, consistent organization, giving our customers confidence that we are well organized and disciplined."