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International project management and services company, AMEC, employs more than 20,000 people working from a network of offices throughout the U.K., U.S. and Canada, as well as regional offices and projects worldwide. Close to 200 of AMEC's offices are located in North America where the company employs more than 7000 people. A world leader in technical services and project management, AMEC designs, delivers and supports its customers' capital assets around the world. From research laboratories and process plants to oil and gas facilities, transport systems, schools and hospitals - most of what AMEC does is on a huge scale. When AMEC Vice President of Information Systems, Ken Plummer decided it was time to begin upgrading AMEC's offices in North America from legacy PBX to IP Telephony, he wanted a partner with a depth of expertise in IP Telephony for whom all of North America could be considered local.
The first installation, at a new office building in Tucker Georgia would require the installation of an infrastructure that could support 300 IP phones. Logicalis account manager Art Vinson knew Plummer from an earlier, albeit much smaller project. When Vinson had an opportunity to tell Plummer what Logicalis could do for AMEC with IPT, it took less than a week to get the go-ahead on the project. Logicalis has continued to show Plummer that he made the right decision - over and over again at eight locations in the U.S. and Canada, now with close to 2000 phone sets in operation - and that's just the beginning. AMEC employs more than 7,000 people in North America, so the ability to install Cisco-based IP Telephony systems was only one of the criteria that Logicalis had to meet. Project management is the central skill to everything that AMEC does, even in IT, so it was important to AMEC to find a partner who not only understood what to do, but was also able to do it AMEC's way.
"I can buy Cisco equipment anywhere," Plummer says. "What I can't get just anywhere are people who understand how we want to run that Cisco equipment. That's where Logicalis comes in. Logicalis had no problem fitting into how we wanted to do the project. They don't say: 'we do a project this way and that's the only way.' They ask us: 'How do you want to do this?' That is probably the most important thing for me with Logicalis. They'll work with us and let us manage those installations our way and then fit right in to the team the way we want them to fit it in. They can do it all; or they can do just as much as we want them to. That is important because it provides me a lot of flexibility."
Logicalis deployment engineer Jeff House has worked alongside AMEC technicians at all the new IPT installations. He takes his job personally. "This project is mine," he says. But he also knows that everything he does has to be consistent with AMEC procedures even when they vary somewhat from office to office. When he labels and sets out the components for each installation, for example, he uses the AMEC naming scheme. The process has become so efficient that AMEC technicians were able to install a 500 station IP phone system in the AMEC Vancouver office over a long weekend. When the employees came to work on Monday, not only did all the IP phones work, but all the employees knew how to use them. AMEC is projecting a return on its investment for the Vancouver upgrade in 15 months.
"Logicalis is very interested in making sure they are providing us the service that we want," Plummer says, "Our Vancouver office was a good example. Logicalis had made the sale and their tech guys were already putting in the technology. But Art Vinson from Atlanta flew up to Vancouver and took our team out to dinner. He wanted to be sure everything was going just right. That kind of effort to make sure a client is satisfied really means a lot to me."