Viable, a Rockville, Md. provider of next-generation video relay and videoconferencing services and products for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, upgraded to a new enterprise platform, which enabled the business to add a new call center every month and provide remote management across worldwide locations. Jason Yeh, vice president of technology, tells IncTechnology.com that the business was outgrowing its previous technology solution and needed a more scalable platform to support expansion.
Elizabeth Wasserman: Tell us about your business.
Jason Yeh: Viable is a community video-relay service provider, a company that provides interpreting communications services for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, enables the deaf to make video phone relay calls through an interpreter and through videoconferencing solutions, and provide hardware and software video phone equipment that enable people to communicate through our video relay services. We have more than 250 employees and we were founded in 2005. Most of our executive team and management are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Because we are the market, we understand who the target market is and understand the value and importance of communication.
Wasserman: How quickly was your company growing and what did that do to your technology needs?
Yeh: We’re only four years old. We’re a very young company that started to grow incredibly fast and we encountered a lot of computer management and growth issues and challenges. One was call center expansion across the United States. We needed to have the capability of establishing a functional call center in a short amount of time. So after we decide on a location, we had a very short time in order to get it up and running and functional. That presented a challenge to our IT team, in terms of setting up the network infrastructure and all the IT side. One of the challenges was setting up all the equipment, workstations, etc. to ensure that everything was operationally stable. The installation of all our applications in all the call centers took so much time and manpower and support for troubleshooting small detail items to get the call center up and running.
Another issue we faced was that as we grew out infrastructure and data centers had more capability and that meant we needed more hardware, server equipment, and so on to handle a lot of data with streaming video. We now have more than five data centers around the U.S. and that required more server set up, more travel and higher expenses.
Wasserman: What made you decide to change your enterprise platform?
Yeh: Our business was growing so fast. Just in the last couple of years from 2007-08, we’ve tripled in size. We needed to have an enterprise system capable of providing us a faster recovery, quicker set up, and to ensure our set up time was as short as possible to aid us in getting us in getting call centers up and running. We were able to set up an imaging system where we replicate the installation and integrate our platform and it would help us go much faster. What we have is ZENworks Configuration Manager from Novell. That’s helped us deal with patch management, deployment, systems installation, and the set up and remote management of more than 100 workstations. Moving to an enterprise solution has allowed us to reduce our setup time in call centers by 80 percent and it saved us costs as well — well over 50 percent of the transportation and labor costs. Before, we did not have an enterprise system. We were just running business operations on several different home-grown applications that fit specific needs.
Wasserman: When did you upgrade and what results have you seen?
Yeh: In September 2008 was when we did the initial move to the enterprise solution. It allowed us to reduce our set up time in call centers by 50 percent and it saved us costs as well — well over 50 percent of the costs. That’s because we don’t have to constantly send our technicians all over the country to set up the infrastructure anymore. We can do a lot of the work remotely. All the installations and set up for each of the work stations we can do remotely. This really allows us a lot of scalability and the ability to deploy new call centers more rapidly. As you can imagine, that allows us to scale our new business at the same rate or faster into the next few years.