Unity Telecom

Provide a brief description of the Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative?

The customer had disparate phone systems at 50 global locations resulted in high costs, inefficient connectivity/collaboration, and risks to business continuity. Ritchie Bros. is deploying an Avaya Aura™ communications platform globally, with Avaya Aura™ Communication Manager 5.2 running on Avaya S8730 Servers and Avaya G450 Media Gateways with centralized management from the main location in Vancouver. Avaya S8500 Enterprise Survivability Servers are installed at the Lincoln Nebraska and Breda, Netherlands centers. At the time of this writing, approximately 70% of Ritchie Bros.’ permanent auction sites operate as LSPs off of Vancouver, with S8300 Servers and G450 Media Gateways. The company has also deployed Avaya Modular Messaging, with Avaya 9640 IP phones and Avaya 2410 and 2420 digital phones. The telephony platform has been integrated with Lotus® Notes, enhanced by Avaya one-X® Communicator. The next stage of deployment will be to roll out IBM SameTime® software. Together, these applications will deliver integrated real-time communications services-including voice, data, and video-that make it easy for people to find, reach, and collaborate effectively with colleagues, customers, and business partners. The addition of presence (via the SameTime® deployment) will make it possible for users to know if an individual is on the phone, logged into e-mail, or available for chat or video. Unity Telecom provides a single point of contact globally, working closely with Avaya and Ritchie Bros. to deploy an integrated solution worldwide. Unity engages partners in each region of the world, communicates the requirements for each site, and programs the system to seamlessly tie into the network. In this way, Unity Telecom can deliver cost effective, reliable support for the local systems.

Describe what makes this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative original or innovative?

The solution is truly global in nature, with Unity providing integration across technologies, languages and network standards in various counties. The solution includes “portable” systems that Ritchie Bros. can set up in the field at auction sites that integrate into the company’s network, with access to global directories and functionality. The solution allows for Ritchie Bros. to manage the systems centrally from Vancouver, minimizing staff around the world, as well as decreasing travel costs associated with the system setup, management and inventories.

Describe the improvement this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative made to the customer’s sales or revenues. What changed?

Value Created • Projected annual cost savings of $136,000 on long distance charges and $96,000 on the elimination of traditional analog lines at all auction sites. Additional cost savings expected on system maintenance and other process improvements. • Dramatic enhancements in communications speed, connectivity, and productivity • Centralized management and ensured business continuity-eliminating the disruption of critical auction processes, helping to drive revenue and growth. The network infrastructure provides full redundancy in Vancouver and resiliency for any of the three head office locations (Vancouver, Breda, and Lincoln) to take over operations if one of the other sites fails. • Sophisticated mobility features that enable the highly mobile workforce to conduct business effectively and efficiently anywhere in the world Powerful mobility tools. Ritchie Bros. has acquired licensing for extending onsite capabilities to employees’ mobile devices via Avaya Extension to Cellular. Employees can receive calls through their directory-based business DID. The Avaya Aura solution also enables mobile workers to turn almost any location into an efficient office environment. Farrer described a typical scenario: “While traveling, a territory manager can VPN back to the office, check Lotus® Notes, return e-mail, access voicemail and faxes, then play back messages through the sound card. For any of these formats, the user can then add comments, forward to another user, e-mail to someone not in the network, and print. It’s a very elegant solution because we have everything coming in through one mailbox, accessed through Lotus® Notes and enhanced with Avaya one-X® Communicator.”

Describe the improvement this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative made to the customer’s efficiency. What changed?

The solution provides dramatic enhancements in communications speed, connectivity and productivity when dealing with customers. It is difficult to quantify the savings realized from a revenues perspective as it is an auction business with callers calling in bids. Should a call drop during a bidding process, it could mean thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars on a single transaction. Telecommunications Manager Chris Farrer explained, “The activity before, during, and after one of our auctions is really high, with an enormous amount of telephone usage, lots of people involved, and millions of dollars changing hands. For us, it’s critical that communication does not go down, or, if it does, that someone is available to fix it immediately.”

How did this Solution, Service provided, or Initiative improve the customer’s ability to serve its internal and/or external clients?

Sophisticated mobility features that enable the highly mobile workforce to conduct business effectively and efficiently anywhere in the world “The centralized directory for everyone at all our locations around the world, the mobility options, and the advanced features supplied by Avaya one-X® Communicator make it possible to reach coworkers quickly, to collaborate effectively, and to interact very successfully with customers and business partners.” – Chris Farrer Speed and efficiency via a company-wide directory. It is particularly critical that highly mobile Ritchie Bros. employees be constantly available to both customers and colleagues. The uniform dial plan provides this capability, allowing mobile employees to be reached through a single office number, no matter where they are located in the world. Integration with Lotus® Notes. The Avaya Aura communications platform is fully integrated with Lotus® Notes, enhanced by Avaya one-X® Communicator – a powerful application that enables employees to manage calls, voicemail, audio/video conferencing, e-mail and communication history, all from a single interface. When Presence is added, users will be able to “see” co-worker availability, assess preferred communication options, and determine the likelihood of reaching a person by phone or instant message. – Chris Farrer Ease of management, call quality, and business continuity. With centralized management from Vancouver global headquarters, virtually any difficulty that arises can be handled by the company’s telecommunications group or Unity Telecom. The Ritchie Bros. team takes all tier I calls during business hours; during evenings and weekends, calls are directed to Unity’s 24/7 support group. “This means that if a site has difficulties, we can work on it remotely, send in a Unity technician if necessary, and transfer the site’s calls to agents in Vancouver until the problem is solved,” Farrer said. “That way we can avoid the kind of high repair costs and business interruptions that our sites have had in the past. We saw an instance recently in which a site went down in Italy during the evening, Vancouver time, when I was playing hockey, and Unity was already underway with the ‘fix’ before I got off the ice and received the message about the problem.”

In what ways does this Solution or Service Provided go above and beyond industry norms and expectations?

Providing a global solution, centralized out of Vancouver. Unity manages the sale, implementation and maintenance of each system globally, working with translators in various countries to ensure the system is integrated as prescribed into the customers network, removing the customers need to deal with various vendors around the world. With 40 sites integrated into one, with redundancy built in for reliability when auctions are in process, and integration to Lotus notes.

How does this solution further your customer’s green or environmentally friendly plans?

The company is very environmentally aware. Ritchie Bros. hopes the new headquarters building will achieve LEED Gold certification status from the Canadian Green Building Council – it will be the first LEED Gold building in Burnaby. The new communications solution system uses much less power then the legacy systems that were in place. In addition the centralized system has reduced the travel requirements of the telecommunications team, and the video conferencing capability also has impacted their business travel requirements.

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