On the heels of our recently published article: 8 Reasons Retail is Migrating to Cloud Phones, Matrix Networks is taking a step back to discuss the value of building a modern network for retail. This article focuses on a network that is optimized for cloud voice migration and adoption. In this article you will learn the value of building a reliabile wide area network that improves bandwidth, enhances the user experience, while saving money and increasing sales! Enjoy.
Managing a network for a retail business can be a challenge for a wide variety of reasons. Branch locations require reliable Internet connectivity for access to local databases, cloud applications and other web services. The challenge is finding a solution that provides the necessary speed, reliability with secured access at a reasonable cost. For those using a private network like MPLS, costs and speed at rural locations are both cause for frustration. If you choose to build your own network via VPN technology, you must manage the network along with the individual carrier relationships at each location. While this could save money, after reviewing the cost of equipment, support, internal employee time and outages it ends up costing more. Solving this riddle has been challenging, but an emerging technology and form of service has entered the scene giving retail firms a better path forward.
The Solution for Better Internet in Retail
Matrix Networks Connectivity as a Service (MCaaS) provides our clients connectivity through best available commodity Internet circuits optimized and managed by Matrix Networks SD-WAN design. Our job is to find two circuits with diverse paths, delivered to your location by our team with ongoing support and monitoring. We handle all service related to your Wide Area Network, calling the local carrier on your behalf and maximizing performance and uptime. Instead of receiving bills from each carrier, Matrix Networks consolidates billing and contracts, simplifying life for administrative staff.
An outage at a retail store means payments are difficult to process, inventory is unknown, communication is down and money is flying out the door. Using our SD-WAN design, your network is not only monitored but designed with no single point of failure, circuits are being evaluated constantly, making routing decisions on a per-packet basis. What does that mean for you? With multiple optimized connections to the WAN, Internet downtime and applications that lag become a thing of the past. We depend on Internet access, users dealing with downtime is one of the most painful things to experience for all parties.
Cloud Phone Comparison Guide
Comparing Industry Leaders in Cloud Phone Systems: RingCentral, 8x8, and ShoreTel
Improving Internet Speeds in Retail
Our customers expect us to move fast, no one wants to wait in a line, wait for a credit card to process or for an answer to a question. Slowed Internet performance has a negative impact on staff and customers alike. With MCaaS we focus first on Internet optimization, ensuring the applications your customers and staff take priority over social media, streaming media or even other less critical enterprise applications. Using local providers offering high speed cable, fiber and ethernet solutions, we typically see bandwidth increase 3-10x, a major win for the IT team and the local stores. We have yet to hear a client say "My Internet is just toooooo fast!!"
Effect on the Cloud
In the past the focus in retail businesses was getting access back to our datacenters to access servers for a wide variety of things from POS and Credit Card processing to email and training tools. As cloud solutions have gained adoption our target has moved from our own internal network to the broader Internet. SD-WAN allows its' users to migrate at their own speed with optimized connectivity between locations and to the cloud. The Internet connections are dynamic allowing all the bandwidth available for whatever route you deem most important based on the application. With this shift we can shift applications to the cloud in a way that makes sense to our business without worrying about adjusting the network.
Simplifying your Network
SD-WAN through MCaaS simplifies roll-out and support of your remote locations. The technology automates meshing VPN connections between locations, while identifying applications and prioritizing them based on your global settings. Rolling out new site is a simple plug and play process; the local box will automatically call home for your specific settings and protocol. Security can be centrally managed in the cloud or by using NFV technology at the local level. Visibility and reporting on the network dramatically improve allowing us to identify under performing circuits then work with the local carrier to improve it. With the amount of complexity weighing on IT departments today, a simple and reliable network can allow focus to shift to revenue producing objectives.
Cost Savings with a Better Internet and Connectivity Strategy
Improved reliability and application performance can have an impact on the revenue of a retail firm, but the actual hard costs are important as well. In our experience, customers using a private network (MPLS, VPL, Point to Point) can save considerable money by making a transition to MCaaS. This achieved by displacing the existing private network and replacing it with a new SD-WAN based network. As an example, we work with a plumbing supply store based out of Portland OR, with 17 locations across the Pacific Northwest. The network was connected using a MPLS network from a local provider to the tune of just over $32k a month. After deploying an MCaaS solution they were able to increase their average remote site bandwidth from 10Mbps to 120Mbps while reducing their monthly billing to just under $19k. Although not all clients are able to replicate this it is not an uncommon story with most clients saving 15-30% depending on their goals.
Connectivity as a Service to the Rescue!
Two years ago Matrix Networks recognized that the evolution of cloud technology was making the traditional networks obsolete. As a long time provider of voice applications we recognized the application had value in cloud delivery but the thought of our voice packets moving freely over the open Internet was...scary. After discovering SD-WAN solutions we were able to help our clients move to the cloud without the risk of performance problems and network outages. This solved a big problem for their cloud migration strategy, but left them with more to manage and maintain, local network devices, carriers and providers. One day during a happy hour brainstorming session with a client she said "why can't you just manage all of this for me!?!?" The next day MCaaS was born, providing a new path forward into Internet optimization, reliability and world class service.
To learn more about how Matrix Networks works with multi-site retail organizations like yours and to learn how to best prepare for an Internet Optimized World, register for our complimentary webinar:
Author: Kyle Holmes