Fulcrum Teams with Skytap to Train 2,500 Mobile Communications Employees in the Cloud
As Fulcrum Technologies™ doubles its user-base this year, they face the immediate challenge of training more than 2,500 new users of their CATS enterprise asset management software across the continental U.S. for one of the largest mobile communications carriers in North America.
To meet the challenge of increasing the CATS user-base by ten percent within just a few short weeks, Fulcrum Technologies teamed up with Skytap to deploy the complex software training environments required in the cloud. The innovative cloud-based virtual training solution enabled Fulcrum to provide collaborative, hands-on technical training to a large, highly distributed group of mobile communications employees with unprecedented speed, effectiveness, and efficiency.
Completion of the employee training marks a key milestone in implementing Fulcrum’s CATS enterprise asset management solution at this leading mobile communication client, which is on track to go live in the second half of 2012. CATS software, which is implemented at nearly all Tier 1 telecommunications carriers in the U.S., is designed to track high-value assets in real-time and then synchronize key operational data across heterogeneous back-office systems. The level of automation achieved with CATS drives significant cost savings from improved capital equipment utilization, and spares allocation management as well as streamlined return and repair processes.
Given the tightly integrated nature of the CATS platform, the difficult challenge for undertaking a nationwide training program was establishing a complex training environment that simulated what users would experience once the CATS system went live.
At first, Fulcrum’s client evaluated a “traditional” training approach, which required a dedicated server stacked with all of the necessary applications and sample data, as well as security compliance with their internal network. In addition, equipment such as server hardware, SAN, and memory upgrades, was expensive and could only be used for a short period of time. Lastly, IT resources needed to be diverted from the client’s main network to secure the training server, which itself presented a single point of failure that could potentially disrupt classes taking place across the country.
“We went to our client and proposed a different, more innovative approach based on a virtualized architecture in the cloud, which would drive better results at lesser cost,” said Don Fifer, VP of Sales at Fulcrum. “Fortunately, they had the confidence to take our recommendations seriously, so we researched possible solutions.”
Skytap Cloud, an intuitive enterprise cloud service provider, met all the requirements set by Fulcrum and its client. For example, the cost of the solution was much less than the expense of purchasing, provisioning, running, and maintaining expensive infrastructure. Skytap Cloud also provided secure and tightly controlled access with a flexible, self-service approach for the ten trainers conducting sessions across the country. With Skytap Cloud, users were able to quickly create small classroom training environments for groups of up to 20 students, scale up to meet last-minute additions, and rapidly spin up the virtual machines in a matter of seconds.
“What we were looking for when we investigated possible partners for this project was an open architecture that would allow us to run our solution without requiring code changes or application rewrites,” says Paul Haury, Fulcrum’s IT Director. “With Skytap, we were able to implement our complete software stack in less than two hours. This ability to quickly create a complex training environment in the cloud is exactly what we were looking for. Based on our internal testing, we were convinced that Skytap Cloud would meet our client’s needs.”
The client gave the green light to use Skytap Cloud for the Fulcrum CATS training project. Three weeks later, Fulcrum flew its instructors to the client’s sites and started conducting the first on-site CATS training sessions. The Skytap approach was well received by Fulcrum’s instructors and the client’s employees who participated in the CATS software training programs.
“The client was very pleased with the quality of the CATS training provided by Fulcrum; so much so that mid-way through they requested an increase in availability for our employees conducting Train-the-Trainer exercises,” said Todd Ross, Project Manager at Fulcrum. “All participants were very impressed by how easily and quickly the Fulcrum training courses, powered by Skytap Cloud, could scale up to meet our growing demands.”
“We take it as a great endorsement when a software company like Fulcrum, which specializes in infrastructure management, turns to Skytap to help extend their infrastructure to provide a cloud-based solution for virtual training,” said Brett Goodwin, VP of Marketing at Skytap. “Skytap’s on-demand, scalable cloud service empowered Fulcrum to provide this leading mobile communications company’s users with additional training above and beyond the original scope of the project.”
About Fulcrum Technologies™, Inc.
Fulcrum leads the telecommunications industry in providing solutions for managing high-value assets. Fulcrum CATS software allows enterprise-level customers to track their infrastructure assets in real-time while automatically synchronizing key operational data across heterogeneous back-office systems, including Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP and Granite. CATS enhances your customer service experience, operational efficiencies and profitability by improving capital equipment utilization, rationalizing spares allocation and streamlining return and repair processes. Fulcrum CATS customers include AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Bell Canada. To learn how to get visibility, gain perspective and take control of your infrastructure, visit http://www.fulcrum.net.
Skytap is the leading provider of self-service cloud automation solutions for dynamic workloads. Skytap Cloud gives businesses a fast, easy, and secure way to create complex computing environments in the cloud. Customers can run enterprise applications unchanged in the cloud, collaborate securely with global teams, and gain unparalleled business productivity. Additionally, IT organizations maintain full visibility and control over cloud projects, align capacity with demand, and reduce costs. Enterprises can securely connect Skytap Cloud to their data centers and create hybrid clouds. Skytap is ideal for any dynamic workload including development and testing, software demos and evaluations, and virtual training. To try Skytap Cloud and learn more, visithttp://www.skytap.com.