“Telephony and data connection services are absolutely critical to the operation of the company,” notes Kingsley Rankin, the company’s Group IT Manager. “Simply put, if they fail, we stop working.”
However vital these services may be, the underlying cost is always important to any manager looking to optimise shareholder returns.“We’re happy to pay for services that add value, but are even happier with a reasonable price. The availability of Neotel’s services provided the company with an option that we decided to explore.”
What he discovered is that Neotel’s solution would meet the requirements for communication and data exchange while saving a considerable amount of money.
“With services of this nature, price is just one of the determinants of value. However, a detailed investigation of the infrastructure and technology architecture that underpins Neotel’s services delivered satisfying results,” says Rankin. “We did our homework. We looked at all the major service providers capable of delivering fibre connectivity, and from a costing and infrastructure point of view, Neotel emerged as the wisest choice.”
Imara S.P Reid chose Neotel fibre not only for its speed and cost, but also because of the company’s proven ability to deliver to the JSE.
The delivery of fibre-based telecommunications services to any premises requires physical cabling to be laid underground and equipment installed on the premises.
“Neotel had to dig a trench to put down the last mile as it didn’t have a cable connection to our building. However, the installation of all the equipment was done very efficiently. The estimated delivery time was 45 days, but Neotel finished the job within 30.”
“Neotel’s diligence impressed us,” says Rankin. “We don’t trade over weekends and Neotel worked during these periods. This ultimately meant no disruption to our business.”
He says Neotel’s experience in financial services means it took into account the number of traders Imara S.P. Reid has, and the line-of-business software it uses, to accurately determine connectivity needs. “That, of course, helps determine final pricing. When it’s accurately matched, you’re paying just as much as you need to, to get just as much connectivity as is required.”
As with many major technology implementations, some teething problems were experienced. However, he says this provides an ideal opportunity to evaluate the levels of customer service. While there were some glitches in the initial setup of the billing process, these were quickly addressed to our satisfaction.”
The level of technical skill at Neotel also proved positive. “In terms of abilities, Neotel’s support is superior to what we’re previously experienced. Efficiency in service call resolution is the key thing we looked at, and Neotel comes out tops here, too.”
With a staff complement of around 120 people depending on Neotel services for their telephony and data connectivity needs, he agrees that there is ample opportunity for evaluation of quality: if data or telephone services aren’t uniformly excellent, his traders let him know immediately.
“Neotel already works closely with the JSE, so the bandwidth requirements were well set out from the beginning. The connectivity is just what you’d expect: fast connections and clear telephone lines.”
Consistent performance, Rankin says, is further ensured by Neotel’s monitoring systems. “They are always watching to ensure we don’t hit any capacity limits. Whatever industry you’re in, you can never have enough bandwidth, but you do have to pay for it. That means having just enough available to meet needs. Unused capacity doesn’t add value.”
It isn’t only the traders who are happy with the services they receive. “A key benefit is that there is consolidation of invoicing. A single bill instead of paying several service providers makes management simpler in both the IT department and the finance department,” adds Rankin.
From an operational standpoint, he points to a gain in productivity and efficiency, which results from the combination of available skills, quality connectivity and sound support. “It is difficult to quantify, but things certainly seem to be running more smoothly since we switched to Neotel,” he says.
One area which is easily quantified is the bill that comes at month-end. “I’m paying roughly the same as before, but getting a lot more for my money. I describe that as genuine value for money.”
Based on these experiences, Rankin says that, as and when additional services or capacity are required, he knows where to look for them. “In an industry like ours, there are always plans for future growth. We’re happy with Neotel, so it will likely deliver our connectivity requirements.”
- Neotel technicians have a high level of technical skills. Any problems are quickly resolved.
- Neotel provides the connectivity that you would expect: fast connections and clear telephone lines.
- Consistent performance is ensured by Neotel’s monitoring systems.They are always watching to ensure you don’t hit any capacity limits.