The following case study was compiled following an interview with Oxley Insurance Brokers (OIB).
OIB has authorised the use of this content on this website and it should not be re-used without the permission of OIB.
The information and views contained in this case study are those of OIB and are not necessarily endorsed by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
This case study is provided to demonstrate the experience of local businesses in the digital space.
Vertel / BMS Network Solutions (BMS)
Oxley Insurance Brokers (1/145 Horton Street)
|What connectivity problems/challenges were you faced with as a business?
Oxley Insurance Brokers (OIB) were established in 1976 and now have approximately 50 employees in 5 locations in the Mid North Coast region: Coffs Harbour, Forster, Kempsey, Port Macquarie and Taree. In the past, each of the 5 locations were connected digitally via ADSL2 & DSL with a server hosting data in the Port Macquarie offices.
Although Port Macquarie staff experiences around accessing documents and using the internet were OK, the other 4 locations were experiencing a substandard level of access. To open, scan or print a document meant a round trip from the location (e.g. Forster) to Port Macquarie and back which was extremely slow. Staff morale was being affected and efficiencies in the office were suffering.
Teleconferencing, webinars etc were impossible to undertake.
|What were the main requirements for a solution to the problems?
The solution had to be cost effective, consistent uncontended data rates, be provided by a Carriage Service Provider that is MEF certified and a service provider that can provide a guaranteed agreed level of performance with access to key performance indicator reports.
This would allow the server, currently in Port Macquarie, to be relocated to a more secure data centre offsite from all OIB offices.
Why/How was a service provider chosen?
Vertel were recommended to Oxley Insurance Brokers (OIB) and after careful consideration based on the criteria set-out above were engaged.. This work was undertaken by BMS Network Solutions (a design and installation partner of Vertel) under the guidance of OIB. A number of suppliers where assessed including the major telecommunication companies. None of these organisations could supply the required uncontended data rates at the price offered by Vertel.
BMS Network Solutions worked with each supplier to ensure what was being offered could be achieved and was appropriate for the business needs of OIB. This was the most challenging part of process as it can be difficult to understand what you are actually going to receive when the project has been completed.
|Were there any other options you found as part of choosing a carrier?
A number of options were considered though these service providers could not provide a service to all OIB sites and the individual site pricing was not cost effective.
|What changes did the carrier put in place for your business?
The carrier provided and installed the physical wide area networking infrastructure at all OIB sites. The installation caused zero interruption to the daily operations within OIB. BMS Network Solutions migrated the individual OIB branches over a weekend to ensure that any downtime was minimised.
Like most change projects there were a number of minor issues that were experienced by users on the first day of using the new access data network but they were quickly corrected and user could start experiencing some of the network improvements.
As this needed to be a two stage installation, the migration of the data to an offsite location was delayed for a few months to reduce the likelihood of any downtime affecting the workflows of the employees.
|What was the impact of this implementation on the business?
There was very little impact to the business from a downtime perspective. The installation was completed within a weekend with minor teething issues when employees started back at work Monday morning. Issues were resolved quickly and employees were able to take advantage of the new access data network.
The migration to the data centre could now be scheduled. Once this part of the project was completed employees could enjoy all the benefits of the new access data network. Issues that were previously discussed in relation to the performance of the network where removed and it allowed the business to now consider business improvements including the use of webinars to help train our employees.
|Have you identified additional uses for the bandwidth since that time?
VOIP & Video Conferencing is now utilised between branches reducing telephony/travelling charges.
OIB have also now been able to implement online payment for their customers as a payment gateway can easily be linked into internal systems and improves the effectiveness of employees. They can be removed from manual process jobs and use this time more effectively elsewhere.
OIB could also act as a Point of Presence (POP) for other businesses in the area which could be a potential additional income stream though this has not been implemented to date.
|If you were encouraging another local business to take up business-grade high-speed broadband, what would you say were the main benefits?
Uncontended speed and carrier grade reliability would be the biggest advancements made with the upgrade. It improves the user experience for our employees and also allows the business to look at alternative technologies/applications (e.g. VOIP and online payments).
It also allowed OIB to migrate to an external datacentre which for us removed a significant business risk.
|Was it a cost effective solution?
The Vertel solution delivered more capacity and was more cost effective than any of the others delivering a similar product. It is difficult to truly compare the cost of the before and after solutions as you are not comparing like with like. So you have to make allowances for the upgrade to the business grade solution and the benefits that this provides your business.
For OIB the decision to upgrade the network was considered to be cost neutral when also considering the following factors:
- An upgrade was imminent due to end of life technology of the current infrastructure
- Reduced risk by moving expensive server equipment to an offsite data hosting facility.
- Introduction of more automated system (e.g. online payments)
- Better productivity and efficiencies and better staff morale.
As you would expect from a Carrier Class managed service provider and a consultant with 18 years of design, integration and management of networks worldwide. The network exceeds the Service Level Agreement in place with access to key performance indicators, Vertel and BMS are great to deal with. They are very responsive when there have been issues in the last 2 years since installation (e.g. rain fade and lightening strike). They have been able to put in redundancies so if a part of the network experiences issues, traffic can be sent thru an alternative route meaning minimal downtime for the business. Strong monitoring is in place and Vertel can often report issues before they have an impact.
They are easy to work with and there is strong confidence in the product.
This page was last updated on: 04 August 2016