“Windstream was willing to work with me to make it work. I have a dedicated account manager.”

Mark RalstonWorld Telecom Advisors

Industry Focus: Enterprise

Location(s): Boca Raton, FL

Windstream Solution(s): Communications & Data Services

Web Site: www.datalister.com

Risk Metrics, based in Boca Raton, FL, is the nation’s leading database supplier of Workers Compensation prospect information, uniquely supplying X-dates and carrier of record details on more than 3.4 million employer records in 32 states. Its clients are commercial insurance companies, providing them with information about potential customers’ buying habits. Because of information provided from Risk Metrics, producers know when to time their marketing/sales activities to increase the number and volume of their sales.

The Challenge

“My Internet connection never worked. I never made it through a single day without an interruption. My lifeblood is data communications, but my old provider nearly drove me out of business.”

John McCarthy, Risk Metrics’ chief executive officer, was clearly frustrated. His company was dependent on consistent, reliable voice and data services, yet he wasn’t getting what he was paying for. Even worse, the only constant in his service was the runaround he’d get when calling the provider’s technical support for help. “I had a horrendous experience. I’d call the data folks, and they’d tell me, ‘it’s the quality of the line.’ The line folks would say, ‘it’s the DSL that’s not working.’ They couldn’t see each other’s problems. But I could. Our entire service would go out daily...and if it rained, they had trouble with landlines getting wet, which produced static. Which meant I couldn’t transmit the data I needed to make available to my customers. Everyone pointed to everyone else. I didn’t know what to do.”

It affected his ability to do business. Large file transfers were routinely interrupted by static on the line; online video presentations were knocked offline. Requests for service were routinely met with appointments scheduled two or more days out. “I would spend countless hours on the phone with technical support but nothing was ever corrected to fix the problem.” His level of frustration was not unusual. Not only was Risk Metrics not getting the service McCarthy had paid for, nobody from the phone company ever called to check in or follow up on the level or quality of service he was (or wasn’t) receiving.

It was about this time that Mark Ralston at World Telecom Advisors contacted McCarthy, asking if he would be able to help him find a more dependable communications provider. “I was competing with all those other guys promising the world to win John’s business,” Ralston says. “I told him I was more interested in building a relationship. He told me he didn’t want to be burned by another company.”

The Solution

Ralston quickly determined that McCarthy required faster, more reliable Internet availability over a dedicated T1 line, delivering far greater throughput than he had with his old firm or the DSL line it had been providing. Risk Metrics was seeking a business-grade solution that would support its mission-critical applications. Beyond that, however, McCarthy also required a solution that was broader-based than mere VoIP; his company had several fax lines requiring traditional analog service. Most advanced telecom companies weren’t going to be able to deliver a mix of products and services to meet each of his needs.

“In order to meet our vision, I’m going to need a trusted provider, who’s capable of delivering the complete infrastructure I need to succeed. And that provider is Windstream.”

John McCarthy CEO, Risk Metrics

But Windstream could deliver...and did. Ralston recommended Windstream’s Dynamic IP, telling him that Dynamic IP could help make his entire broadband solution better and more efficient through the use of dynamic bandwidth allocation for voice and data services. While conventional communications require separate channels for voice and data traffic, Dynamic IP allows voice, Internet and WAN services to coexist. This allowed McCarthy’s team to optimize Risk Metrics’ bandwidth use based on traffic prioritization.

The robust network platform Windstream has deployed for Risk Metrics supports a wide variety of services that include voice lines, PRIs, SIP and high-bandwidth applications of up to 100Mbps. Even better, Risk Metrics ended up getting more, yet paying less than it had with its other phone company. Windstream was able to provide a complete solution for Risk Metrics’ Local lines, Internet T1 service, Toll-Free, Long Distance and single copper lines under one billing platform.

“With Windstream, we were able to solve Risk Metrics’ issues with the quality of its Internet service,” says Ralston. “Dynamic IP delivered faster upload speeds, so that it could reliably upload files by FTP in a fraction of the time. More importantly, because I trusted Windstream, we were able to institute SLAs and several other agreements that delivered better and more reliable service. Windstream was willing to work with me to make it work.

I have a dedicated account manager. That’s another reason I recommend Windstream; if there are any issues, I have an escalation team I can pull into the mix, to help resolve the challenge. John has a full team backing him, post-installation.”

“The only thing I can’t comment on is customer service after the sale, and that’s because everything is working, 24 x 7,” says McCarthy. “I walk in and look at the Windstream box on wall and that’s all I need to do. I haven’t even had a reason to call in the last eight months, since I went with Windstream.”

The Benefit

“In my business, you’ve heard it’s all about the cloud,” says McCarthy, “and I think that’s where we’re headed. We want to be able to take advantage of the cost savings and reliability. In the cloud, your data is kept elsewhere; it’s stored, and we buy additional storage capacity as we need it. Right now, we have voice communications back and forth with our customers, and we ship data to them via FTP. In the future, they’ll go online and buy everything via the website, but that website will probably be hosted in the cloud.

“We’re in the midst of moving toward a hosted solution. We want to be ahead of our customers in making our data accessible via the cloud and providing them a solution, based on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). It’s the future in terms of data and software,” McCarthy says. “In order to meet our vision, I’m going to need a trusted provider, who’s capable of delivering the complete infrastructure I need to succeed. And that provider is Windstream.”