Coca-Cola Bottling Company taps into a rich collaboration platform with integrated VoIP

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IBM Case Study

Coca-Cola Bottling Company taps into

a rich collaboration platform with

integrated VoIP


■ Challenge

An aging and unreliable phone system was proving increasingly costly to support, slowing down productivity and responsiveness with unplanned downtime, lim-ited features and an inability to integrate with modern collabo-ration tools

■ Solution

IBM® Lotus Notes® and Lotus® Domino® collaboration and messaging software inte-grated with the 3Com VCX VoIP platform on two IBM System i® 515 servers offers highly avail-able telephony interoperability, fully integrated with RIM BlackBerry devices for improved collaboration on the go

■ Benefits

— VoIP integration with Lotus

Notes and Domino creates a rich unified messaging environment to improve communications between employees, customers and business partners in geo-graphically dispersed locations

— The interoperability package

based on IBM System i servers simplifies system management, resulting in significant time and cost savings

— High system availability

ensures staff is instantly accessible and always has fingertip access to productivity-enhancing col-laboration tools

— IBM innovation offers a

reli-able and cost-effective platform for organizations looking to move toward uni-fied communications

“ The 3Com VCX IP

telephony solution

ties in well with

IBM Lotus Notes and

Domino applications,

so we can leverage our

IBM investments

across the entire

environment and move

toward a true unified


solution as resources

and requirements


Debra Zorawowicz, IT Director, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England


There’s nothing quite like an iced Coca-Cola to beat the summer heat or a bottle of Dasani after a morning run, and for the people of New England, like millions of other consumers around the world, reaching for a refreshing soft drink is as much a way of life as it is a way to quench their thirst. For the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England, success means ensuring that every restau-rant, supermarket, vending machine and other retail outlet in the area is well stocked to satisfy that thirst.

The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England (CCNNE) has been bottling and distributing Coca-Cola products throughout New England since 1977, growing from a single facility in New Hampshire to one of the nation’s largest bot-tlers, with 16 distribution centers and a state-of-the-art production center across parts of all six New England states and New York. IT systems play an important part in the company’s success. Throughout its history, CCNNE has relied on IBM hardware and software to manage its database needs and provide collabora-tion tools that help keep the sales team accessible and armed with fingertip access to the information and resources they need to close the deal.

As business processes and communications began to converge over time, Debra Zorawowicz, director of IT at CCNNE, saw an opportunity to replace the com-pany’s aging PBX phone system with an IP-based system that would provide a next-generation convergence platform. By integrating this system with the com-pany’s IBM Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino collaboration tools, which the company uses across all facilities for e-mail and calendaring, CCNNE could help the sales team communicate more efficiently and productively.

“Because of its age, our previous phone system was becoming increasingly costly to support, and simply couldn’t offer the kinds of modern features our sales team needs, such as call forwarding and e-mail and calendar integration,” says Zorawowicz. “Also, the reliability simply wasn’t there—in this fast-paced customer service–oriented business, one missed call could be an important deal breaker.”


IBM delivers high availability across the convergence platform

After conducting a thorough needs assessment, Zorawowicz and her team worked with their local IBM Business Partner and value-added reseller, Vector New England, to evaluate several major voice-over-IP (VoIP) systems. Cost was also a major consideration as the company examined the potential savings of

switching to VoIP.

“Vector introduced us to the 3Com VCX VoIP platform, which runs as a virtual machine on IBM System i servers, and is tightly integrated with IBM Lotus Notes and Domino applications to improve voicemail and e-mail integration for unified messaging,” Zorawowicz says. “CCNNE has always found IBM to be both powerful and very resilient, the Cadillac of systems. The 3Com VoIP software is easy to use and fully integrates, so we decided this solution would best meet our needs.”

Since high availability is a critical requirement for CCNNE, Vector recommended vir-tualizing the 3Com software across two new IBM System i 515 servers running the IBM i operating system with the 3COM software running in hosted Linux® partition stand-alone systems that back each other up for redundancy. As a result, CCNNE has minimized the risk of the phones going down during an interruption of service and eliminated the need to use outsourced business recovery processing facilities.

“The 3Com VCX IP telephony solution ties in well with IBM Lotus Notes and Domino applications, so we can leverage our IBM investments across the entire environment and move toward a true unified communications solution as resources and requirements dictate,” Zorawowicz says.

Initial deployment was conducted at the company’s corporate office, with rollouts to an additional 12 distribution centers as systems need replacing. “Migration went very smoothly. We put phones on desks and conducted training so staff could use them for internal communications before cutover. This meant that everyone was comfortable using the phone by the time we went live, and cutover was a non-event,” Zorawowicz explains.

Solution Components


● IBM® Lotus Notes® and Lotus® Domino®

● BlackBerry Enterprise Server ● 3Com VCX VoIP


● IBM System i® 515

Business Partners



Simplified system management eliminates costly outsourcing

After initial one-on-one system administration training, IT staff at CCNNE is able to manage and maintain the Lotus and 3Com solution without having to outsource any tasks or add to headcount. “The ability to tightly integrate with IBM Lotus and centralize the management of voice communications has given us a lot more self-reliance and control, and at the same time, simplified system management,” Zorawowicz says. “Tasks such as moves, adds and changes require little interven-tion from the IT team—once a user is assigned a phone in the system, they are free to simply move their phone as they move around offices. This frees up our staff to focus on core business projects.”

Lotus integration with BlackBerry brings e-mail directly to staff in the field. As part of the company’s phased-deployment approach, CCNNE integrated the 3Com VoIP system with Lotus Notes and Domino capabilities through IBM Lotus Domino BlackBerry Enterprise Server. With IBM Lotus Domino BlackBerry Enterprise Server in place, e-mails are delivered straight to the sales team’s BlackBerry devices with no action required by the user, and calls to desk extensions can be forwarded through call handling modes easily determined and set up by the user.

“Members of our sales team spend most of their time out on the road and rely on their phones extensively. As a result of 3Com VoIP integration with Lotus, the sales folk no longer have to log in to retrieve their messages, and they can be more responsive and productive because calls come directly to them in the field. This lets them prioritize their responses according to the importance of the call,” Zorawowicz says. “They are not constantly checking to see if they have a mes-sage, and customers appreciate the improved level of service because now they can quickly access their local sales rep, even if that rep is out on the road.”


Collaboration tools on the go save the sales team time and lower communications costs

In addition to time savings, CCNNE has also realized significant cost savings as a result of VoIP integration with Lotus. “Originally, we had to outsource virtually everything, even if a phone had to be changed over from one office to another, and it was costing us about US$4,000 annually for the Production Center and Corporate office,” Zorawowicz says. “With the 3Com VoIP system on an IBM back-bone, outsourcing has been eliminated, and any management tasks that our IT team has to perform are so easy and quick to do that they are readily absorbed into daily tasks.”

Now that CCNNE has a reliable, secure collaboration platform that supports inno-vations in unified communications, Zorawowicz and her team are already looking at ways to extend Lotus Notes and Domino capabilities across the enterprise and add new productivity-boosting features. These features include extending IBM Lotus Sametime® telephony integration across all offices to support instant messaging, increase presence and location awareness and provide Web conferencing.

“Lotus Notes and Domino with the 3Com VoIP solution are putting new fizz in the way we do business, and helping us work more efficiently,” Zorawowicz says. “We’re confident that this highly available solution gives us the communications and collaboration platform we need to ensure that when a customer reaches for their favorite beverage, CCNNE put it there.”


For more information

For more information about IBM Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino, please contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit

For more information about IBM Power Systems™, please contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit

For more information about 3COM VCX IP Telephony for IBM Power Systems, please contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit

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