STORServer Inc. is a nice little success story in the IT segment focused on business continuity — helping its customers safeguard and recover their critical business data.
To provide simple, adaptable and scalable solutions for data protection, the Colorado Springs, Colo., company manufactures the award-winning line of STORServer Backup Appliances. Each appliance is an enterprise-wide, comprehensive solution that installs quickly and takes its customers just minutes a day to manage.
The hallmarks of STORServer solutions are turnkey implementation, simplicity of administration through automation and improved uptime through an innovative support approach delivered by highly qualified solution engineers. STORServer solutions significantly reduce its customers’ operating expenses, minimize their risks, and easily adapt to their changing business and technology needs.
In striving to deliver integrated hardware and software solutions that give customers peace of mind, STORServer aims to simplify the management of complex IT operations in the areas of system, storage and data protection. So the company puts a high premium on the accessibility and responsiveness of its sales and service personnel to customers.
STORServer is justifiably proud that its support organization has built an enviable record of customer-satisfaction benchmarks almost double the industry average, with 95 percent of customers renewing their STORServer support contracts annually. Its consultants are among the most highly regarded storage consultants in the industry.
Yet for all its expertise and its hard-won reputation for customer service, STORServer lacked a professional-grade communications system that would reinforce its image to customers calling to explore new systems purchases or contact support consultants.
“The best way to describe our communications setup was that it was a patchwork. We had many consumer-grade VoIP accounts, each with unique telephone numbers and area codes,” said John Sorensen, STORServer’s vice president for finance and CIO. “Despite our track record of excellent support, our old business communications setup made us appear kind of sloppy. We didn’t look like one company to our customers.”
Many of STORServer’s 35 employees at its headquarters location and in seven other states had individual accounts with a consumer VoIP services provider. That administrative and billing nightmare was coupled with an out-of-date hardware PBX at the headquarters location.
When calls came in to the company’s main and toll-free numbers, every phone in headquarters would ring and the receptionist used an intercom system to announce the incoming call and the name of the employee for whom a call was intended. Callers to employees outside of the headquarters location were directed to hang up and dial those employees at their home office numbers.
Sorensen sought a reliable, flexible, cost-effective and easy-to-use business communications system. After evaluating several candidates, STORServer selected OnSIP, the Internet-based business communications system from VoIP services provider Junction Networks, in Fall 2008. Employees saw immediate gains in efficiency, productivity and flexibility, he said.
“One of the things we wanted to achieve was extension-to-extension dialing between our employees anywhere they happen to be located, whether here in our Colorado Springs headquarters or their home offices in seven states,” said Sorensen. “That way, we could transfer calls from one extension to another transparently to the caller.”
With OnSIP, calls are either dialed directly or transferred easily to each employee’s four-digit extension no matter where the employee may be located. Meantime, the caller is unaware whether his or her call has been transferred from headquarters to an employee location in, say, Florida or Ohio, and back again to Colorado Springs if necessary.
“OnSIP enables us to be viewed as a single company, rather than a collection of associated consultants and experts,” Sorensen said. “In addition, having a single point of billing and support has drastically reduced paperwork and expense fulfillment for the financial side of the business. And our receptionist is extremely happy she’s not forced to answer every single telephone call that comes in. It’s definitely made her more efficient.”
Another business benefit, he said, is OnSIP’s flexibility, which allows headquarters employees to forward calls seamlessly to their home offices — a feature that enabled STORServer to eliminate all the redundant accounts from its previous consumer VoIP provider. “From the perspective of our customers, they don’t know where I am, just that they can reach me when they call,” he said.
Sorensen also easily provisions new users or makes regular weekly call-routing changes to the system in rotating customer-support responsibilities among service employees – for example, arranging quickly to have calls route to an employee’s mobile phone instead of an office line — and all without needing to rely on an external service provider or consultant.
“We do it all ourselves within five to 10 minutes on our configuration at the Junction Networks Web site. Some of the other providers we evaluated had similar features, but they required you to go through a service provider. Because we’re a technology company, we’re comfortable making our own network arrangements. We prefer to do it ourselves,” he said.
He said that in seeking an IP PBX provider, he wanted one with a proven track record of longevity and reliability of service. “We got what we wanted with OnSIP, but what I found most compelling was Junction Networks’ cost structure, which is a pay-per-use model instead of a fixed expense per user per month,” Sorensen said. “Essentially all our employees have multiple work sites, and to have to pay for an account at every location would be prohibitive. A pay-per-use model fits our needs precisely.”
“It was the proverbial case of adopting technology to either save money, make money or gain a lot of functionality at the same price,” he said. “In our case, it was not so much an issue of cost reduction as it was gaining a system with a whole lot more performance, productivity and flexibility.”
“We’re very happy having adopted the Junction Networks system,” Sorensen said. “We even included our SIP extensions on our business cards and that enhances the image of STORServer as both a maker and user of advanced technology.”
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