Sportsman's Warehouse - VoIP
Sportsman’s VoIP Success: A customized VoIP system keeps pace with rapid growth at Sportsman’s Warehouse
What do you do if you’re the Network Services Manager of a national company with an annual growth rate of 50 percent and you realize that you’re quickly outgrowing your phone system?
If you’re Brent Dillon at Sportsman’s Warehouse, you call Mountain States Networking to find out what it would take to upgrade to a state-of-the-art Cisco Voice over IP system.
As it turned out, such an upgrade involved replacing every router and switch throughout the company. Before the upgrade, Sportsman’s relied upon an NEC key
system running over standard analog lines. While the system worked, it was difficult to access. To make any changes, Dillon and his team had to dial into the system through their partner—a process that cost time and offered limited control.
As the company grew, the need for centralized access to every phone became increasingly obvious. From the time Sportsman’s gains occupancy on a new building, the goal is to have customers browsing the aisles in just two weeks. Thus, Dillon and his IT staff have just two days to set up all the phones, computers, fax machines, and video conferencing equipment. With a Cisco VoIP system and the Cisco CallManager program, it’s possible.
Changing out the entire phone system was, as Dillon says, “a major, major thing for us.” He worked closely with Josh Watkins of Mountain States to develop a system tailored to the rapidly growing company. Dillon describes his experience with Watkins, a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert, in one word: “Fantastic! He knows what he’s doing. He’s been doing it for a long time and he knows voice very well.”
The advantages of the Cisco VoIP system are clear. In a company with close to 5,000 employees and 2,000 phones, Sportsman’s entire IT department consists of just 22 employees. “If we were on an older system, we would have either had to hire somebody who knew key systems or continue to pay a contractor all this time, so that’s a huge savings,” says Dillon. With CallManager, “we can see the status of any phone throughout the whole company from here. We can just pull it up on the system and look at anything, so troubleshooting the VoIP saves us a ton of time.”
For Ryan Vincent, Sportsman’s Warehouse Network Administrator, one of the best things about the system is its accessibility: “I can be at any one of our stores and VPN in and work on the system.” Remote access makes his job easier as he explores new ways to leverage available technology and equipment to create a better experience
for Sportsman’s customers. A current project he’s working on involves adding an application to the phones that would allow customers to look up particular product SKUs on in-store phones.
Mountain States helped Sportsman’s develop a system that meets its unique needs. Every store has approximately 30 phones spread throughout 10 departments. Calls only ring into applicable departments, saving time and money. And every phone in the company can five-digit dial every other phone (from Alaska to Florida) for free. “Before, employees had to call into the store and get customer service to try to track down a person—they couldn’t direct dial to a specific phone. It’s a huge thing to be able to get hold of the person they want,” Dillon says.
The list of benefits continues: long-distance calls within the company are free, and long-distance calls to outside numbers employ tale-end hop off—a call to a vendor in Denver is automatically routed to the closest store and sent out as a local call. And employee relocations are easy. If a store manager moves from Oregon to Texas, he simply unplugs his phone, takes it with him, and plugs it back in. The IT department doesn’t even get involved. “Once we deploy a phone, we usually don’t have to touch it again,” Dillon explains.
Sportsman’s also appreciates the phone’s video capacity. All store managers have web cams integrated with their phones. When they make or receive calls involving
others on the network, real-time video automatically displays on their computer monitors. As a growing, coast-to-coast company, Sportsman’s values the ability for employees nationwide to talk “face to face.”
Instant visual communication also comes in handy when store employees have a
question about a specific piece of equipment: they simply hold it up to the camera and point out their question. The Help Desk can then easily understand the problem and find a solution.
When Sportsman’s runs into bigger questions, Mountain States is there. Dillon values the personalized, local support he gets from another Utah-based firm: “When there’s an emergency, Mountain States can be on site in 15 minutes, and they’ve just been fantastic as far as that goes. We wouldn’t do it any other way.”
Dillon also appreciates the relationship the two companies have built up over time. “The number one reason we’ve stayed with Mountain States is that we know their engineers. Their engineers helped us build our system, so when we call, we call Josh Watkins, and I don’t have to go back and give a history of everything that’s been done up to that point. He knows what we’re doing.”
If there’s a general question or a problem with a specific phone, Dillon simply calls his Mountain States sales rep, Rob Harker. “I talk to Rob pretty much every day. He goes way beyond, especially with our phones. If we have a bad phone, we send him the serial number and he takes care of everything himself.”
The bottom line? With the help of Mountain States Networking, the Cisco VoIP system, and Cisco CallManager, Sportsman’s Warehouse enjoys a customized system that saves time and money, allowing Sportsman’s to direct resources to its number-one concern: the customer.