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Financial Services and Insurance Companies Evolve to Avaya IPTelephony to Meet Needs for Business Continuity and ConnectingBranch Offices

05-05-2004
  • Converged networks help companies improve customer service by enabling local branches to tap expertise in any location

Avaya announced that many financial services and insurance companies evolving to IP telephony solutions consider business continuity planning and connecting branch offices as key drivers for taking the step.

Avaya Inc. (NYSE:AV), a leading provider of communications networks and services for businesses, today announced that many financial services and insurance companies evolving to IP telephony solutions consider business continuity planning and connecting branch offices as key drivers for taking the step. Ultimately, the solutions implemented by such companies as AEGON Group, First National Bank of Arizona and F&M Bank help improve customer services by enabling the any customer to easily tap the perse expertise of its personnel from any location.

As with many industries seeking to move to newer communications technologies, investment protection is a major objective for financial services and insurance companies. To help meet this objective, Avaya has enabled some customers to retain up to 100 percent of existing Avaya equipment and to incorporate other vendor's TDM switches in the new converged network. This factor - in addition to confidence in the quality, security and benefits of IP telephony - encourages companies to initiate the evolution of their networks from traditional voice communications to IP telephony.

"Enabling financial services customers to implement IP telephony when and where they choose provides greater flexibility in meeting business needs with the budgets they have, while fitting the pieces into a larger, strategic vision," said Tony Kleckner, Director and Practice Leader, Financial Services Industry, Avaya. "Companies can see immediate benefits such as cost savings and better service from even small implementations - while looking forward to broader deployments and bigger benefits."

Communications-prepared for the Worst-case Scenario
Continuity of business operations at its 75-acre campus in Cedar Rapids and nearby corporate data center led the member companies of the AEGON Group to look to IP telephony as a solution. "We consider availability and redundancy a critical aspect for conducting daily business," said Nader Amr, Director of Telecommunications.

Avaya Communication Manager and Avaya Media Servers provided a cost-effective approach to business continuity and now support 2500 plus employees in ten separate buildings, in addition to the companies' national help desk. The servers are mirror images of each other's activity. Located 15 miles from the campus, the servers are also supported by another survivable node in the city itself.

Business continuity was also paramount for F&M Bank, which learned the hard way that having backup systems in the same building wasn't enough. When a tornado hit its main office in Clarksville, Tennessee, the facility suffered massive flooding and broken windows. Since then, the bank has backed up its communications operations with a duplicate server in Springfield, Tennessee, and added gateways with built-in local survivability1 at each branch. These steps make F&M Bank far less vulnerable to a catastrophic event and enable the company to deliver uninterrupted customer service - even in the face of extreme weather.

Connecting Branches for Better Customer Service
Chief among F&M Bank's objectives in implementing new technology was linking its ten branches with a single, converged network to simplify administration of voice and data services, improve productivity and customer service. By doing so, F&M eliminated six separate communications systems and the associated costs of supporting independent systems. Now, branch employees can access the same features and functions in every location - including using four-digit dialing and transferring customer calls between branches and headquarters to put the customer in contact with the right resource.

In the Southwestern U.S., First National Bank of Arizona (FNBA) has experienced 80 percent growth year-over-year for the past six years as a result of acquisitions of other regional banks and increased mortgage lending. Yet, even with 59 facilities in six states, FNBA has made it a mission to provide the "hometown bank" touch to its customers. New, converged networking, Internet Protocol telephony and contact center applications will help FNBA deliver that promise.

Path, Pace and Investment Protection
FNBA wanted to go to a standard, centralized voice platform to serve its various locations. Even with the expected cost savings the new system offered through reduced administration and management for independent systems, intra-company and long distance calling, FNBA needed to take a practical approach to implementation.

"There's no way I could put my business on hold while we installed an entirely new system," said John Paulick, Senior Vice President, FNBA. "I'm not willing to take a lot of risk - I need to focus on growth."

A new corporate headquarters and future operations center provided the ideal starting place. Now supported by Avaya Communication Manager running on Avaya Media Servers, the new platform positions FNBA to migrate all of the bank's locations to IP telephony over the next year, and will incorporate nearly 90 percent of previous investments in Avaya into the new network.

Avaya serves over half of the financial services and insurance companies listed in the FORTUNE 500® and nearly 2000 in the industry worldwide. In addition to AEGON, FNBA, and F&M Bank, Avaya has helped financial services and insurance companies of all sizes, including Merrill Lynch, Security Services Federal Credit Union, Grupo Santander, Eurohypo AG, BBVA Bancomer, Industrial Bank Company of China and others consolidate voice and data with IP Telephony solutions and services.

About Avaya
Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than one million businesses worldwide, including over 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet Protocol (IP) telephony systems and communications software applications and services.

Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business applications - and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services - Avaya helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior business results. For more information visit the Avaya Web site: http://www.avaya.com

1 Local survivability enables each independent location to maintain communications capabilities if there are impacts to the broader network or server locations that may otherwise disrupt service.

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