Lightstream coordinates and manages network connectivity services installation for all new warehouse openings, maintains corporate-wide network inventory, and oversees network modifications at over 800 existing sites.
This company is a global, members-only retailer, with over 800 stores (i.e. warehouses) and a large membership base. Business projections are strong, and the company continues to grow, adding new members every month and opening 25-30 new warehouses per year globally.
Each warehouse is connected via a multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network, with the recent addition of SD-WAN (software-defined wide-area networking) and broadband for highly-available multi-path networking capabilities.
Overseeing such a large network is complicated. Every change needs to be carefully planned and coordinated with the telecom provider to ensure project timelines are met and service is not disrupted.
Complexity can make this work cumbersome and frustrating. In the network connectivity space, relevant data such as circuit IDs, locations, circuit types, IP addresses, bandwidth, and more is vast and detailed. On top of that, provider billing systems are often inaccurate. Without near-constant attention to detail and a solid tracking system, network inventory can quickly get out of control, resulting in project delays and wasted money on unused services.
Before a new site can be operational, all network connectivity services must be installed and new circuits burned-in and tested. This requires coordination with contractors, telecom providers, and IT personnel with proper focus on project dates, milestones, and lead times in order to ensure a successful opening.
With network connectivity services such a complicated but vital part of its business operations, the company needed an organization with demonstrated expertise in the network connectivity industry that could manage and coordinate services with all of its service providers both for new installations and for changes at existing sites, coordinating with company facilities management, construction teams, and other third-party resources.
Today, Lightstream provides three client engagement managers (CEMs); two are dedicated to new warehouse openings, and the third focuses on existing facilities. For new warehouses, the CEMs are responsible for overseeing all project activity involving network connectivity services. This includes monitoring site surveys, ordering MPLS, internet, and voice circuits, testing circuits, coordinating with construction companies, coordinating with power companies, communicating project status, escalating issues, managing contract approvals, and all other tasks required to ensure network connectivity services are ready prior to a new warehouse opening. “Both Lightstream (CEMs) have been amazing in driving our network connectivity services work streams for new locations,” said one of the company’s IT IMAC (installation, moves, adds, changes) analysts.
At existing warehouses, the CEM helps manage network modifications. When installations, moves, adds, or changes to the network are required, the CEM interfaces with the company’s service providers and ensures work is completed successfully. On occasion, the CEM has been asked to take on additional work, as was the case with the company’s recent broadband deployment. “She (the CEM) understands what it takes to do a major broadband deployment,” said one the company’s infrastructure services project managers, “and she helped us navigate those waters with structure and clarity.”
In addition to project management services, Lightstream tracks the company’s network inventory via its Lightstream Connect platform, which provides a single pane of glass into the company’s technology spend and network. With Lightstream Connect, the company’s network connectivity team can get near real-time visibility of their entire network inventory, order status for any telecommunications services, and all contractual and technical detail of each service. This relationship has evolved and expanded over more than a decade.
Successful Network Connectivity Services IMACs (Installations, Moves, Adds, and Changes) at All Warehouse Locations
Lightstream provides the company with dedicated client engagement managers who are experts in network connectivity services and are adept at working with telecom companies, contractors, and power utilities. This delivers high-quality project management services to the company, helping to ensure successful IMACs at all the warehouse locations.
Fewer Challenges Dealing with Telecom Carriers
Having worked in the telecom industry for many years, Lightstream project managers understand how to get things done. They provide a single point of contact for network connectivity work and are experts at navigating vendor bureaucracy and solving problems, which results in fewer network connectivity services challenges.
Fewer challenges results in many benefits. First, the company’s staff spends less time working through issues and more time on project activities. Second, warehouse openings go smoother. Third, speed to implementation is increased, which helps ensure new warehouses are opened on time.
Near Real-time Access to Network Inventory
Lightstream Connect provides the network connectivity team an on-demand, accurate, up-to-date view of network inventory. The application provides an easy-to-use, intuitive interface into the company’s inventory database, giving both consolidated and detailed views of all network connectivity services across the entire organization.
Increased Carrier Billing Accuracy
Lightstream specialists not only track the company’s network inventory in Lightstream Connect but also periodically reconcile the company’s billing against expected contractual rates. This exposes billing irregularities, ensures accurate billing, and prevents the company from paying for services that are no longer needed.
To learn more about Lightstream Managed Services, visit www.lightstream.tech.