HughesNet Access Continuity brings Rountree Automotive's IT staff peace of mind
Closing the deal—if you own a car dealership, that’s what your livelihood depends on. On a daily basis, your job is to put in the legwork, woo the customer, and close the sale. But what if you close the deal, only to find that your network is down and you can’t process the transaction? This was the shocking reality for a salesman at Rountree Automotive, a regional car dealership with centers in six southeastern states.
On a bright and sunny day, Chuck Roden, CEO of Complete Computer Systems, went to the Birmingham, Alabama branch of Rountree Automotive, intent on purchasing two new trucks. Chuck talked it over with the salesman, negotiated a fair price, and was ready to take one of his new trucks home. Only, it didn’t quite work out that way. Unfortunately, Rountree’s network was down and because there wasn’t a backup plan, the salespeople could not close deals. Chuck and several other prospective buyers were unable to drive away in their new vehicles.
The story could have ended that way. But Chuck, a dealer for Hughes Network Systems, set up a meeting the next day to introduce Rountree Automotive to the HughesNet™ Access Continuity service that provides automatic failover to a broadband satellite connection in the event of primary landline failure.
After one meeting, Rountree Automotive was sold and quickly began installing the HughesNet service, overlaying the broadband satellite solution over their entire multi-location landline network. The HughesNet Access Continuity service can be deployed in one of two ways depending upon the customer’s needs: network-based or appliancebased using a new Hughes appliance. Using the Hughes appliance, the HughesNet Access Continuity service monitors a customer’s primary landline Internet connection (DSL, cable, or T1) and automatically switches over to a backup broadband satellite Internet connection in the event of failure. Business owners can now be assured that their networks will keep running with no costly downtime, even if there is a central office outage, a construction accident, or a hurricane takes their primary landline connection down.
In addition to satellite backup, the Hughes appliance enables the small business to take advantage of a comprehensive list of much needed security services such site-to-site VPNs to securely connect distributed offices over the Internet, and industrial strength firewall and gateway antivirus security to keep unwanted traffic and malware from corrupting their networks. The HughesNet offering when deployed with the appliance can also provide secure remote access and content filtering to ensure employees are not wasting valuable business time on personal usage.
Through the easy-to-use HughesNet Customer Gateway portal, business owners, once certified by Hughes, can monitor and manage their sites in real-time from anywhere they have an Internet connection, anywhere in the world.
No Looking Back
“We knew we needed a backup solution,” said Lester Edwards, information systems manager of Rountree Automotive. “During Hurricane Katrina, ourMobile, Alabama store went down for 45 days. When a network goes down, we can lose an average of $5,000 to $50,000 per hour, so we could not afford to experience such a significant downtime again. When we learned about the HughesNet Access Continuity service and the new Hughes appliance with its automatic failover support, we installed it and have not looked back.”
And, according to Edwards, purchasing the HughesNet Access Continuity service has been one of the best information technology decisions Rountree Automotive has made. He credits the service with not only saving the company an average of $1200 to $1300 per month, but also lauds the service for ease of management and operation.
Not Your Ordinary Business
Continuity Service The ability to directly manage the Hughes appliance and its automatic failover support are features that set the HughesNet Access Continuity service apart from its competition.
With most solutions, a small business would have to buy not only the equipment, but also hire someone to engineer the network, and configure and manage the system from end-to-end. Additionally, most systems configure the portal, only allowing the system manager access to critical information.
In the world of off-the-shelf IT networking, the concept of automatic failover support is nothing short of futuristic. “Every IT guy I know complains about not having automatic failover. Automatic failover is almost unheard of—it’s like waking up in the 22nd century,” said Edwards.
Not only has the HughesNet Access Continuity service given Rountree Automotive automatic failover and the freedom to manage its own network, it has also given them the freedom to add more stores to the network—something the business once considered a costly undertaking.
“The HughesNet service has given me the breathing room to add more stores,” said Edwards. “Before HughesNet, in order to add more stores, we had to add more costly phone lines to support the terrestrial network. With HughesNet, we aren’t dependent on phone lines, so we can cost effectively add additional stores. All we have to do is purchase the service and our new store is up and running. If we run in to any major problems that I cannot handle through the portal, our Hughes support team is just a phone call away,” said Edwards.
More importantly, the HughesNet service can be installed in a new store even if terrestrial broadband is not available in that geographic area. Rountree Automotive found this to be the case at their Baytown, Texas store. When the Baytown store first opened, T1 was unavailable. So, for 45 days the store operated on a satellite-only network. During that time, the store did not have any issues with drop off or loss of communications between the sites. Eventually, a T1 solution became available and the store switched to that as its link, with satellite as a backup.
“A satellite-only network was definitely usable for our entire store. I wasn’t surprised at how well it performed, but I was skeptical at first. The satellite network performed really well and I was definitely pleased with it,” said Edwards.
Bottom Line Impact
In the car dealership business, 40% of all work is done over the Internet. Much of the time, most car suppliers send dealers to the Internet for information on the availability of cars, pricing, and purchasing. Rountree Automotive uses the Internet exclusively for inventory management, new car acquisition, and running credit reports on prospective buyers. The HughesNet service has helped them carry out these functions more quickly and efficiently.
“If our connection to the Internet is down, we can’t carry out basic business functions,” said Edwards. “We can’t transfer money, we can’t sign deals, and we can’t put money in the bank. If we can’t close a deal with a customer because we are down, nine times out of ten, he will buy his car somewhere else and we will not be able to recoup the money lost on that sale.”
“HughesNet eliminates this risk as the automatic failover feature ensures that if our terrestrial network goes down, we are covered by satellite and will never miss another sales opportunity again.”
For more information, go to www.hughesnet.com