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Occidental Hotels and Resorts: Switch to BT IP Connect global network improves efficiency

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Overview

Occidental Hotels and Resorts boost efficiency and productivity with a BT managed WAN solution

Choosing a BT IP Connect global network was a great move for Occidental Hotels and Resorts. It needed higher performance and greater flexibility, but couldn’t afford service interruption during the transition.

Eduardo Acosta entrusted BT with the task. That proved to be a smart decision. The project was completed to schedule in six months, with zero down time.

The new network is four times faster than before. Occidental can handle transactions more swiftly, improving efficiency. The new network also carries voice and video conferencing, so costs have gone down too.

BT’s management of the transition was amazing, unbelievable. Its preparation was excellent. For example, BT transitioned 70 per cent of our network in Mexico on a Saturday in just six hours, with zero downtime. An excellent job is an understatement.”
- Eduardo Acosta, Regional IT Manager, Occidental Hotels and Resorts

Challenge

Occidental operates four city hotels and fifteen resorts, specialising in luxury all-inclusive holidays in Aruba, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Spain. In the hospitality industry fast and efficient communication is essential. Occidental was using point-to-point data services to interconnect its properties in Latin America with its marketing office and centralised reservation systems in Miami.

Although the legacy network had served it well, it was showing its age. Advances in technology meant lower cost and more flexible wide area network connectivity solutions were available.

“We decided to update our network and move to an MPLS-based environment, and we considered three vendors,” explains Eduardo Acosta, Regional IT Director at Occidental Hotels. “We chose BT because we have built a great deal of trust in over ten years working together, its price was competitive, and it could supply us with the right service wherever we needed it.”

Solution

The BT IP Connect global network now interconnects all sixteen Occidental Latin American properties, its marketing office, and its data centre. As well as carrying applications data for ERP and reservation systems, the MPLS-based BT network carries intercompany IP-based voice communications as well as data traffic from around 200 servers and 20 Microsoft SharePoint applications. It also provides the company with vital links for email and internet connectivity.

BT proactively monitors network performance using WAN optimisation and application acceleration technology from Blue Coat. In addition to the WAN, the BT solution included the provision and ongoing support of Cisco-based LANs at each Occidental major office, plus a centralised Cisco Unified Communications Manager IP telephony solution. BT also provides co-location hosting services for the Occidental Miami data centre. Finally, BT provides IP Connect global connectivity to Occidental’s four sites in Spain under a separate contract.

The transition from the old network to the BT platform was phased over a six-month period and completed on schedule with zero downtime. Eduardo Acosta says: “For me BT has the best people and the best team. It did a great job for us during the transition and it continues to be very responsive to any problems we have day-to-day.”

Value

Moving to a BT IP Connect global service has enabled Occidental to converge services onto a single platform with higher performance at lower cost. Eduardo Acosta confirms: “Our primary driver was efficiency and the BT network has met our expectations. With around four times the bandwidth we can handle more transactions at a better grade of service, making our people much more productive.”

Although not the primary driver, implementing IP telephony and routing internal voice calls over the BT network at no incremental cost is saving money on call charges. Occidental is also about to switch its video conferencing services onto the same infrastructure, a move that will save even more.

Eduardo Acosta concludes: “Video is very important for us, particularly for internal meetings. Using the BT IP Connect global network we are about to further enhance our collaboration capability with desktop video conferencing using Microsoft Office Communications Server.”

Core BT Services

  • BT IP Connect global network interconnecting sites in Latin America, the USA, and Spain
  • Managed WAN services featuring BT Connect Acceleration with WAN and Application Optimisation
  • BT One Enterprise converged LAN services including Cisco Unified Communications Manager
  • BT Compute data centre services with co-location hosting

Resources

Case study