Voice of Experience: Call Overhaul

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2004-03-01 Print this article Print

SouthTrust's Stan Adams says had some initial technical problems with Cisco's telephony systems, but the vendor worked them out.

Stan Adams
Group VP, Network Services
Birmingham, Ala.

Manager's Profile: In charge of data and voice services for the bank holding company, which has $52 billion in assets and operates 717 branches in nine southern states.

Massive Disconnect: SouthTrust acquired several banks in Texas, Florida and Georgia in the late 1990s, and the company found that it was operating a mishmash of 500 phone systems in about 650 offices. "The cost to support that infrastructure was tremendous," Adams says.

Cisco's Edge: In the fall of 2000, SouthTrust decided to put in a brand-new voice infrastructure. To reduce costs, it wanted to use an Internet Protocol (IP) telephony system that would overlay its data network, which was already based on Cisco equipment. "We weren't looking to add another piece of hardware because there was no cost advantage in that," Adams says. "At the time, only Cisco could provide us that solution."

Adams' Project: After a yearlong pilot, SouthTrust converted 654 sites to Cisco IP-telephony servers and phones in eight months. The group later added another 53 sites to the network, for a total of 10,500 phones.

Busy Signals: Early on, SouthTrust bumped into technical issues with Cisco's telephony systems: They were unable to handle 2,500 phones per server, as Cisco said they would. The vendor worked with SouthTrust to iron out the kinks, Adams says. "They learned from what we were doing."

Dialing for Dollars: Adams won't provide specific figures, but he says SouthTrust has saved millions: telecom support costs plummeted 75%; local line charges dropped by 40% because most branches consolidated two connections—one for voice, one for data—to a single pipe; branches now call each other toll-free; and conference-calling bills fell 95%, saving $1 million annually.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.