At a Glance
- Increased participation in video conferences
- Easier to deploy and administer bridging solutions
- Improved productivity
- Ability to meet customers over video
- More efficient distribution of training
Supply Chain consultant firm helps clients streamline operations with video communications
Manhattan Associates supply chain consultants offer the best and deepest operational solutions to its clients, using video communications to streamline operations through distance training and support.
For 19 years, Atlanta-based Manhattan Associates has concentrated exclusively on helping companies streamline their supply chains to achieve lower costs, higher profits, and happier customers. The company invests more annually in supply chain research and development than any other company in the world. And through research and development, training, implementation and ongoing support, it brings value to its 1,200 customers.
Without question, Manhattan Associates offers the best and deepest supply chain solutions to its customers. But what do “The Supply Chain People” do to make sure their own operations are running efficiently and effectively? They deploy Polycom HDX Telepresence solutions to keep the company’s 2,000 employees, located in more than 20 offices in 11 different countries, connected.
“Manhattan Associates is a longtime Polycom customer, we’ve been using video conferencing technology for years to streamline our operations,” explains John Drummond, Director of Global Communication Systems for Manhattan Associates. “There is agreement at every level that now is a particularly good time to invest in updating our video infrastructure since the company is focused on reducing travel and increasing productivity.”
A Trusted Partner
Manhattan Associates had implemented a video conferencing network that included legacy Polycom products from endpoints to infrastructure to enable both voice and video conferencing. Drummond realized however that there had been significant advances in the technology since the original roll out in 2001 and began evaluating newer solutions.
“Whenever we look at deploying new technology, we always look at the breadth of offerings out there. But the one thing that keeps me coming back to Polycom is the support. Their account teams are on the ball and very responsive,” says Drummond. “Their product development is first class. In the end, our best option was to stay with Polycom and continue down the road map migrating to the newer products.”
The Polycom RMX 2000 real-time media conferencing platform now facilitates multipoint bridging and scheduling for Drummond and his team, and Polycom Converged Management Application™ (CMA) simplifies the provisioning and management of visual communication solutions across the entire Manhattan Associates network. In addition, legacy Polycom video systems have been replaced by the company’s flagship Polycom HDX 8000 room telepresence solutions. Finally, Polycom’s Video Border Proxy (VBP) firewall traversal solution was deployed both domestically and overseas to enable connections with external clients.
“It’s night and day between HD and non-HD video,” says Drummond. “I was on a two-hour video call with a colleague in Indiana and he looked like he was sitting in the next room, there was no jitter or latency like you used to see. His voice was clear, his movements were fluid.”
An Active Network
The company’s 25 Polycom HD video systems are located around the world at facilities in Atlanta, India, Indiana, London and Paris. At this point, fully 70 percent of the company’s employees have either held their own video conferences or participated in a video call. This has resulted in a very active network that logs upwards of 300 calls per month. And Drummond finds that usage of the video network has increased since deploying the HD units, which are being used most frequently for interviews with remotely located candidates and distance learning within the company.
“The systems seem to be in use constantly for interviews,” says Drummond. “Those are real time savers, with the HD-quality video, you can really see the person, see if they are squirming for an answer.”
Meetings with clients have also ramped up following the HD deployment. “We’ve had a lot of interest in meeting with external clients,” says Drummond. “For example, if there is a development need at a particular client, we can easily connect with the client over either IP or ISDN, which is extremely valuable because both sides are concerned about costs these days.”
Drummond’s long history with video conferencing gives him a unique perspective into the benefits the new HDX technology provides.
“The new HD technology from Polycom never makes you feel like you’re talking to a television set. If you move a hand or get up from the table, the motion is fluid,” he explains. “The goal has been to replicate what you see on TV, and now that it has been replicated with Polycom HD video, people want to participate in video calls.”
Moreover, Polycom CMA has usage tracking built in, which allows Drummond to generate reports that can provide insight into anything from peak use times to most frequently used units to call speeds. “I can bring that ROI chart to the CFO to let him know how his investment is being used,” says Drummond.
From an end-user perspective, Drummond reports that employees have been very receptive and impressed with the overall experience.
Enabling the Desktop
Moving forward, Manhattan Associates’ few remaining legacy video systems will be replaced with Polycom HDX telepresence solutions. In addition, Polycom CMA desktop, a scalable, cost-effective video collaboration application for personal computers, will be rolled out.
“I think Polycom CMA desktop is going to be very successful for us,” says Drummond. “First because it uses any standard camera, and second because people like the ability to jump on a call right at their desks. Rather than scheduling a conference room and spending an hour on a call, they can stay at their desks and even multitask during that time.”