A Structured Cabling Solution for one of the country’s most notable retailers“One GDT”―a tried and tested approach to solution and project management
By Richard Arneson
When you’re one (1) of the country’s most well-known brands in the retail industry with hundreds of locations from coast to coast, having network connectivity issues can be measured in dollars—hundreds of millions of dollars. And that’s exactly why one (1) of the largest department store corporations in the United States selected GDT to not only migrate their 300+ stores to a VoIP solution, but provide a structured cabling solution that would deliver its many benefits.
Solutions are only as good as their methods of delivery
The most innovative of networking solutions is little more than a pipe dream without the right cabling infrastructure. In many cases, customers have a cabling architecture in place that can be fully utilized, with little modification. In this case, however, a structured cabling solution needed to be designed, deployed and tested to ensure their new voice solution could be quickly implemented and utilized for years to come.
Fortunately, the client was an existing GDT customer. They had already experienced GDT’s “One GDT” approach to project and resource management. And for this project, it would involve utilizing GDT’s Design Engineering team, whose empirical experience and skill sets are unparalleled in the industry, a Project Management practice that maintains the highest certification levels in the industry, and tenured Field Operations professionals located throughout the United States.
When Cisco Unified Communication (UC) meets “One GDT”
The client’s existing voice environment, which included over three hundred (300) PBXs, more than six hundred (600) landlines and supported over two hundred (200) call center agents, had been used for over twenty (20) years. They wanted to utilize the following existing hardware—Cisco ISR G-2 routers, which had already been deployed at each store and were equipped with voice cards, and Cisco ASR 1000 Series routers, which were located at its data center.
The client had already enjoyed what GDT’s 20-year-old relationship with Cisco has provided to thousands of enterprises, service providers and government agencies for years—innovative solutions that not only address the needs of IT departments, but generate positive business outcomes.
GDT Solutions Architects proposed Cisco Unified Communications, which securely integrates voice, video, and other collaborative data applications into intelligent network communications solutions. Cisco UC provides IP telephony, unified communications and messaging, and takes full advantage of the power, resiliency and flexibility of an IP network. The GDT Engineering Team utilized its 1,800,000 cu. ft. Innovation Lab and Integration Center, which allowed them to comprehensively test all elements of the solution to ensure it was designed, developed, documented and tested as part of a comprehensive, end-to-end Unified Communications System.
GDT’s Staging and Logistics personnel performed 72-hour burn-in testing on all UC equipment, then configured each, which included the loading of firmware, OS, patches and all software maintenance updates. They managed all logistical coordination and ensured each network asset was fully-tested and safely arrived prior to installation dates.
A Structured Cabling Solution customized for hundreds of locations
Of course, GDT’s Design Engineering team was up for the task. After all, they’ve designed customized, structured cabling solutions for thousands of customers for over two (2) decades. But when it involves designing, implementing and testing a customized solution that extends from the retail floor to network equipment, and from wiring closets to demarcation points, it’s no mean feat. And when multiplied by several hundred stores, each with a different design from the next, the project takes on an otherworldly level of complexity.
After site surveys at each store and at the client’s data center, GDT’s Design Engineering team put together a road map from which their engineering and field operations teams could work. But it wasn’t a matter of installing cable through ceilings, running it horizontally, and up and down risers—it encompassed detailed, tedious and time-consuming “telco closet” work, and at each location. Cat6 cabling was carefully wrapped and labeled, jumpers were installed, PA systems were upgraded and tested, and many existing analog phones were re-routed through their new digital voice solution.
It had to be thorough. It was. And, as is usually the case, the client had requested a project completion date that was aggressive, to say the least.
Five (5) teams, eight (8) months
GDT’s Field Operations professionals—hundreds located across the United States and abroad—were divided into five (5) teams, each of which installed and tested the structured cabling and UC solution. Each team completed two (2) stores per week, and the entire solution was deployed and fully tested within the client’s requested eight (8) month time frame―prior to it, in fact. In addition, they decommissioned the client’s existing infrastructure, packed all equipment per their requirements, and arranged for pickup and ensured their resale and recycling initiatives were satisfied.
“One GDT”―Same story, Same result
GDT’s “One GDT” approach starts and ends with a customer-first focus. And when GDT combines its long-standing, successful Cisco relationship (Cisco has honored GDT with its Partner of the Year award multiple times) with industry-leading IT experts, cutting-edge technologies and best-of-breed solutions providers, happy customers soon follow. And that’s exactly why thousands of customers have turned to GDT to help them realize their digital transformation goals.