Investing in redundancy improved this company’s results

Latency issues were creating file transfer headaches at IA Clarington Investments. The company’s vice-president of IT explains how he and his team achieved the level of customer service they wanted

Share this article:

IA Clarington Investments manages more than $11 billion in mutual fund assets for hundreds of thousands of clients across Canada, so our phone and data network needs to meet certain critical standards. We have an active call centre responsible for making sales and following up with customers, as well as investment managers responsible for managing portfolios. If our phones go down, the impact could be quite widespread. Similarly, we have just under 200 employees located in nine offices across Canada who need access to client files and the ability to find information across all our data libraries. So we need a network that can accommodate tremendous file transfers. And of course, security is particularly critical in the financial services industry, so our systems have to be bulletproof and fully redundant.

Although the corporate network we were on was stable, we were experiencing some latency issues. For example, our Vancouver office used to have to transfer files at night because it was taking too long during the day. It took us time to find a solution that worked for all our stakeholders, but the decision ultimately hinged on our corporate commitment to deliver the best service to our clients. To keep that promise, we need to control the customer-facing aspects of our systems, including our data network and phone system.

The upshot is that we got to build in the amount of system redundancy we wanted. For our phone system, we went with a mixed SIP trunking and PSTN solution, so we’d have double redundancy at every site. We put one phone switch offsite, plus another one onsite for backup. We also layered in internet access to our internal locations and structured the solution to ensure the reliability and speed of our data transfers.

To provide the level of customer service we wanted, we installed an Avaya contact centre solution that lets us manage calls, monitor call quality and coach our representatives on how to improve performance. At the same time, we were looking to improve internal user uptime and system availability because that translates into increased user satisfaction. By providing our employees with the best tools, we make sure our customers get the best service. For instance, we now have E100 Ethernet access, which frees us from bandwidth constraints and lets us add new applications whenever we need them.

Finally, we wanted to partner with a provider who could take care of all networking functionality. Having an MPLS network or any WAN is just table stakes. How you use that network is where you carve out your advantage. So far, it’s living up to our expectations.

For more on IA Clarington Investments and its network improvement project, download the complete case study.

Share this article:
Comments are closed.