High Availability Computing Solutions
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Case Study - I-Bus and TeleWare Deliver Advanced Computer Telephony Solutions

More and more companies are using computer telephony solutions to help maintain and increase competitiveness. Conventional voicemail systems are being superseded by those supporting a variety of additional services such as personal numbering, intelligent call distribution unified messaging and hot-desking. The hardware and software behind these systems must be able to offer reliability, flexibility and ease of maintenance if it is to play such an important role in company infrastructure.

Leading software developer and systems integrator, TeleWare, has teamed up with I-Bus, the leading manufacturer of industrial strength computers, to deliver the very best in computer telephony solutions.

Nationwide move forward
In 1998, increasing developments in computer telephony solutions prompted the Nationwide Building Society to examine and upgrade its existing voicemail system which had been in place for 8 years. This would enable the use of a more advanced solution, whilst also taking care of any year 2000 problems that the older system may have suffered.

At this time Nationwide had over 1400 employees on its voicemail system so a telephony solution enabling a smooth migration path was critical. In addition, there were a number of advances in computer telephony that Nationwide, as a large, customer focused organisation, felt would be advantageous in a new system. With a number of possible solutions available at the time, Nationwide evaluated some providers to see how well they could meet their specific requirements and what, if any, value added services they could benefit from.

As a Microsoft Certified Solution Provider with software running under a Windows NT environment, an important pre-requisite for Nationwide, TeleWare are UK based and use the major UK supplier of industrial strength computers, I-Bus. Nationwide felt that a UK based company would be able to give superior support both from itself and its UK hardware suppliers, something that few other potential suppliers were in a position to offer. A further evaluation, by Nationwide, of alternative vendors demonstrated that the competition were not as sophisticated or advanced in the solutions that they offered. As a result, Nationwide contracted TeleWare to provide a system comprising its Intelligent Telephony ServicesTM VoiceMail, Intelligent Messaging Services and Visual TeleWare - a powerful applications generator for customised applications.

TeleWare Leads the Way
The fact that Nationwide chose TeleWare echoed the faith shown by many other organisations in its industry leading products and services. TeleWare is the major UK software author and integrator of computer telephony systems for personal numbering, hot-desking, business messaging and interactive voice response. These products and services are key enablers to organisations seeking to introduce mobility and flexible working environments as a means of improving customer service, increasing staff effectiveness and reducing overhead costs. A TeleWare system integrates with an organisation's existing telephony network to enhance the range of features available for call handling. Further services are also available where the system integrates with corporate computer systems or networks. These additions can include screen based telephony control (from the PC) and unified messaging services. It was a combination of these systems that was specified by Nationwide.

High reliability and the availability of various fault resilient options in a computer telephony system are crucial, since any loss of service could have a detrimental effect on business operation. This issue was of particular concern to Nationwide, a large organisation dependant upon its communications infrastructure. TeleWare systems are built around the I-Bus range of industrial computers specified to exacting standards.

TeleWare relies on I-Bus
I-Bus is an ISO 9001:2000 quality certified world leader in the design, manufacture and support of high performance industrial strength computers and prides itself on a stringent testing and manufacturing regime that proves its products can cope with demanding applications.

As a company I-Bus is engaged in the engineering, manufacturing and marketing of off-the-shelf industrial strength computers, customised systems and components for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). I-Bus benefits from the technological acceptance and advancements within the commercial PC marketplace, because of its ability to supply standard custom equipment to the large industrial computer segment of the PC industry. I-Bus, as a part of its service offering, designs and produces special customised hardware tailored exactly to its customers' specifications, as they do for TeleWare.

I-Bus supplies TeleWare with custom built 19" racks enclosing various server and backplane configurations. As a result of the long standing relationship between I-Bus and TeleWare these systems have been tightly pre-specified and cover approximately 14 different platforms. Each is numbered to ensure that any customer specified system can be ordered simply and efficiently. Due to the knowledge of TeleWare specifications at I-Bus, its engineers can turn round an order in five days. The most popular chassis in the I-Bus range for TeleWare is the TR6, a 6U high availability enclosure with capacity for up to 20 full length ISA/PCI slots. A major feature of the I-Bus range of chassis is the inherent flexibility and fault tolerance. Hot swappable power supplies, front accessible drives, and a high level of redundancy, ensure that I-Bus can offer high speed upgrade and efficient servicing wherever its systems are used.

Resilience and Flexibility
The availability of resilience and features such as hot swappable power supplies are an important feature for TeleWare too, as they enable the company to configure systems to meet the differing performance requirements of each customer. According to Nick Gilson, TeleWare's Operations Director, "Working with our various business partners, TeleWare has built a user base of which we are justly proud. Our customers have high expectations of us in terms of quality and service. We demand the same high standards from our suppliers and enjoy an excellent relationship with I-Bus as our primary hardware supplier."

These features are reinforced by Nationwide, as Brian Jolley, Desktop System Specialist, explains, "In one and a half years we've only had one problem with the system. TeleWare's helpdesk were highly responsive and the speed with which the problem was solved was impressive to say the least. Without a doubt the ease of maintenance and accessibility of the hardware was a major factor in this." Nationwide is not the only large organisation to have benefited from TeleWare's advanced computer telephony solutions. Other TeleWare users include American Express, Barclays Bank, London Ambulance, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Scottish Parliament, Virgin Trains and many many others.

A fruitful partnership
With expertise in providing sophisticated software solutions combined with reliable hardware from I-Bus, TeleWare can offer the consistently high levels of customer satisfaction. As more companies search out the latest in computer solutions more and more are having their choice made simple by the fruitful partnership that TeleWare and I-Bus offers.

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