Who:

Blue Tech is a well established IT solutions company that specializes in sales of IT Infrastructure systems, Video Teleconference solution and Data and Physical security systems and has been incredibly successful in doing business within federal and state governments, higher education and private sector enterprises.

The Challenge:

During the last several years, Blue Tech has been awarded multiple public sector contracts and as a result, they have experienced explosive growth in both their sales revenues and transaction volume. With an aging IT infrastructure and many manual processes in place, Blue Tech found themselves bursting at the seams when it came to accommodating records management for the incredible volume of their business transactions.

With each successful sale, Blue Tech’s general workflow process begins with the collection of thousands of emailed RFQ’s from their customers. The RFQ’s were then dispatched to the proper sales team, then an email response with an attached .pdf quote is sent back to the customer followed by email correspondence between the sales rep and the customer to clarify any details about the quote. Once a formal acceptance of the quote was received, the bill of materials is ordered and shipped with correspondence to ensure delivery and invoicing. With so many transactions in play, additional steps were frequently required to handle RMA’s for goods damaged in transit. To further complicate matters, different contracting vehicles have different requirements and often result in contract specific processes.

Because Blue Tech’s sales operations are so heavily entrenched in email correspondence, they had accumulated massive amounts of attachment data. Internal dispatching replicated nearly every attachment, often multiple times and their storage requirements had ballooned. Furthermore, because transactions were so heavily based on email correspondence, it was nearly impossible to collect metrics to track their performance. Blue Tech had looked at numerous CRM solutions to track customers and metrics, but all of them fell short when it came to handling email correspondence without the additional requirement for custom developed add-ons.

The Solution:

When UTOT was granted the opportunity to overhaul Blue Tech’s IT environment, the first step was to address the physical environment. Leveraging Blue Tech’s own Dell partner status, an Equallogic iSCSI NAS was selected for flexible, high-capacity, high-speed consolidated storage. Utilizing a redundant pair of HP Proliant servers, we built a high-availability virtualization cluster running Citrix XenServer taking advantage of the built-in Equallogic storage management tools. With this new platform in place, we were able to reduce Blue Tech’s physical footprint in collocation from 14 rack units to 5. We’ve achieved scale-up and scale-out capacities for the servers and the storage and in the event of a system failure, high-availability fail-over occurs and full environment function is automatically restored in approximately five minutes.

Within the virtualization environment, we were able to implement Microsoft Exchange 2010 which has provided Blue Tech with improved mail and attachment storage management, including built-in archiving. We were also able to couple open source software solutions with inexpensive commercial software to solve Blue Tech’s email based transaction tracking problems.

With email data now running on a more suitable system, we turned our attention to building a workflow based queuing system to process email based sales transaction data in a way that can be actively tracked in accordance with the requirements of Blue Tech’s various contract vehicles. We were able to implement an inexpensive open source based solution that now manages email correspondence by sales transaction. By using distribution lists to redirect the incoming RFQ’s into the queuing system, we’ve reduced the need to store originating message data on the mail server. The system strips messages down into simple text and auto-generates a transaction number and all communication is entered into a database making all following communications searchable and trackable by transaction number, customer, sales rep, or any text base search. Attachment data is stored in a designated repository outside of the database to maintain small, efficient and discrete data sets.

The system manages all following email correspondence both inbound and outbound without requiring Blue Tech personnel to change the way they use email with Outlook and OWA. A web interface provides role-based queue as a management and reporting tool. Based on this, Blue Tech is now collecting effective and meaningful performance base metrics on their sales.

Blue Tech, Inc. contracts UTOT for regularly scheduled maintenance for their IT network and also retains UTOT for Emergency Services as needed.

To find out more about Blue Tech, Inc. please visit www.bluetech.com