In Full Swing

Verteks helps Edwin Watts Golf rapidly replace a failed legacy phone system and improve its ability to recover from disaster.

Edwin Watts Golf is one of the world’s premier specialty golf retailers, offering a fresh assortment of brand-name golf equipment,apparel and accessories through its 90+ domestic retail
stores, ecommerce site and catalog sales. Effective communication is critical to its operations, as is the availability of its IT systems and data — that’s why the company relies upon Verteks Consulting.

IT Director Jason Smith first encountered Verteks as he began to evaluate options for replacing the company’s legacy phone system. The 25-year-old PBX not only lacked many of the features
of a more modern system but could fail at any time. Smith decided to attend a seminar Verteks held in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., where Edwin Watts Golf is headquartered. “Jay Smith, Verteks’ regional sales rep for the Pensacola area, invited me to a demonstration of the ShoreTel phone system that he was holding here locally,” he said. “We didn’t intend to upgrade our phone system at that moment because we were just starting an ERP project, which was a major undertaking. But I thought it would be good to see what new technology was out there, and I was quite impressed with ShoreTel and with Jay as well.

“As we started to wrap up the ERP implementation and began looking at a new phone system, Jay was the first one I called. We did go through the process of reviewing other technologies and companies, but I really liked Verteks and the ShoreTel system. The ShoreTel technology was far superior to others we looked at, and Jay got a good price for us. It was an excellent deal.”

Then, as luck would have it, the old phone system suddenly quit working.

“We had planned to make a decision on a new phone system by August 1, but toward the end of June our phone system died on us,” Smith said. “That was an unfortunate situation considering we are a call center here and rely heavily on the phone system. “So I told Jay, ‘If we do go with ShoreTel, I need to know that we can get this in quick because we don’t have a lot of time.’ He expedited the implementation for us and got us back up and running quickly.”

“The Verteks engineers did a great job planning the project ... The implementation was very successful and we had a smooth transition from the old system to the new.”

Stroke of Luck

When the old PBX failed, Smith and his team quickly installed a small phone system for the Edwin Watts Golf call center, but the rest of the headquarters facility was without phones. Because of their extensive experience with the ShoreTel technology, the Verteks team was able to quickly design and implement the new phone system to keep downtime to a minimum.

“The Verteks engineers did a great job planning the project once everything was designed and the equipment was ordered,” Smith said. “The implementation was very successful and we had a smooth transition from the old system to the new.”

The ShoreTel platform is known for its reliability, relieving any concerns about future phone system downtime. It also brings a number of other benefits to Edwin Watts Golf.

“The ShoreTel system has brought a whole new range of reporting that we can do that is very relevant to the call center,” said Smith. “And the voice over IP platform itself is much easier to manage from my standpoint. The old system was cumbersome and timeconsuming — if we had a new hire or if someone moved offices we had to physically moving phone lines on the old phone block. Now it’s all done on the interface of the server, and the phones are just plug-and-play.”

Edwin Watts Golf is also looking to take advantage of some of the multichannel capabilities of the ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center solution. The intuitive, unified interface can integrate seamlessly with CRM applications such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, and enable agents to communicate both externally and internally via voice, chat, email, instant messaging and video.

“We have the chat capability set up in a test bed, and when we get it working like we want we’ll migrate our existing chat software over to the ShoreTel system,” Smith said.

Rapid Recovery

Once the new phone system was in place, Verteks began to discuss other technology solutions with Edwin Watts Golf. In particular, the Verteks team wanted to ensure that the company had a strong disaster recovery (DR) plan.

“We were about to sign a new contract with a DR facility when Jay told me that he had a brand new technology that was very interesting,” said Smith. “He came over and demonstrated the Quorum product and I was very intrigued.”

Quorum onQ is a cost-effective DR solution that combines an onsite high-availability appliance with remote-site data replication. Up-todate, ready-to-run virtual machine clones of critical systems are maintained right on the appliance, which can transparently take over for failed systems within minutes.

“Our new ERP solution had made our disk-to-disk backup more cumbersome because of the number of servers that were virtualized and the type of data we were dealing with. And if a server failed — well, all the data backed up but I didn’t have anywhere to put it until the server could be repaired or replaced,” Smith said. “The Quorum device is fantastic. If I lose a single server, I can fire up the Quorum, bring up a recovery node, and have that server in production within 10 or 15 minutes. And if a file gets deleted it can be restored in five minutes.”

Edwin Watts Golf also replicates virtual machine images and data from the local Quorum appliance to the Quorum cloud. In the event of a site disaster, recovery can be initiated with a single click, and users will be reconnected to their applications and data within minutes.

“Before, it would take a day or two to get the DR site up and running in the event of disaster,” said Smith. “With the Quorum solution, Verteks was able to save us money and provide a better solution.” Thanks to Verteks, Edwin Watts Golf now has a more modern and reliable communication platform and the assurance that applications and data can be recovered quickly in the event of disaster. The golf retailer has the tools it needs to serve customers, and a strong partnership with a technology partner who helps keep its operations in full swing.