New network cut phone costs by two-thirds

Building a condo is one thing, but a complete network overhaul proved the kind of project that Toronto-based construction firm Tridel Corp. left in the hands of its award-winning IT manager.

Brad Barlow garnered ComputerWorld Canada’s IT Manager of the Year plaque in the small and medium-sized enterprise division for an initiative that also involved the deployment of voice-over-IP (VoIP) and an MPLS rollout across several of its site offices. According to Tridel CIO Ted Maulucci, who nominated Barlow, it was a mammoth undertaking.

“The network upgrade has enabled triple-nine reliability and allowed for the deployment of a new VoIP system. The VoIP deployment allowed for the consolidation of multiple PBX’s from the different operating entities to a single solution that resulted in dramatic telecommunication cost savings,” he wrote. “The savings from the VoIP system, in turn, enabled new possibilities for site connectivity and supported the business case to deploy a MPLS network to the site locations. The MPLS solution solved the long standing connectivity problems at the remote sites and presented new opportunities for improvements in operations. The MPLS network also provided new possibilities for disaster recovery and facilitated collocation, as well as, gave greater control over the all of the equipment at our site offices.”

The cost of phone services in two of the converted divisions dropped from $7,000 per month to $2,200 per month as a result of the PBX consolidation through VoIP, according to Maulucci. This is in addition to considerable productivity benefits, he added.

“Communication was a key success factor and Brad did a fantastic job in working with many different companies to co-ordinate successful installs, training and deployments,” he said. “The real success is that everything worked and the business did not experience any disruption through this whole process.”

Barlow said his success can be tied directly to his CIO’s support.

“Shocked would be my reaction. Shocked and surprised. It was a large group of individuals. Satisfied, happy, ecstatic . . . I can’t do a jumping jack here, or else I would,” he said, adding of Maulucci. “He really makes it easy for me, so I really owe everything to him.”

Although the technology involved in the project has been around for a long while, Maulucci said the way it was put together was innovative for the construction industry, offering improved disaster recovery and business continuity and better overall Internet connectivity for Tridel’s various sites. “Phones can ring anywhere and clients can be served better,” he said, adding that Barlow’s success in working with the various business units within Tridel was key. “There was not much of a business case, other than to say that operations would stop if the network went down.” Thanks to Barlow, they won’t have to worry about that anymore.

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