Belly had a fairly simple problem: Success. As its user base grew, so did its data, to the point that it outpaced the company’s available bandwidth.
Belly’s loyalty platform allows businesses to create unique rewards for their customers. Small businesses can set up an iPad where customers scan a QR code in their Belly mobile app to check in and earn rewards points – sometimes for quirky benefits and rewards, like winning an ice cream date with Jerry from Ben and Jerry’s or a 30-second shopping spree. This digital loyalty program generates heaps of data in the form of check-ins, as well as information about customers and their habits.
Not long ago, Belly saw an increased number of check-ins – good news, as it meant more people were using the service. The company knew a system upgrade was in order to avoid data bottlenecks and service slowdowns.
But it also knew the process of upgrading would be difficult, rife with the complexities of coordinating with carriers and ensuring uptime. Here’s how Belly scaled up its systems to match its success.
Belly’s need for bigger pipes
Belly’s core needs were virtualization and increased bandwidth through improved integration with its carriers’ networks. Because Belly processed the check-ins, increased capacity was a key business need, and improving it would eliminate future data bottlenecks that could result from added demand on the network.
But the company needed help deploying, configuring, and launching dual Cisco CSR 1000v routers, which would go a long way in solving its problems. This wasn’t a simple plug-and-play operation; Belly needed IT professionals with deep technical expertise to set up and launch these new routers. The process included running the two systems – the old routers and the new Cisco CSR 1000v routers – in parallel for a time so businesses using Belly would experience no downtime or complications.
Plus, the company had trouble coordinating with the big carriers to tap directly into their networks. It was hard enough to coordinate with one of these industry giants, and Belly needed improved access to these networks to achieve faster speeds and better connectivity. Belly saw the challenge, and knew it needed help in solving it.
Tapping into IT expertise and persistent support
Belly needed IT professionals with extensive Cisco experience to set up its new Cisco CSR 1000v routers, and SHI stepped up. SHI’s team of Cisco experts understood the cloud plug-ins built into the router, and focused on security and performance while launching the system in Amazon Web Services.
But even more challenging in this rollout was coordinating with the big ISPs, including AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. One of SHI’s project managers committed herself to working with the three major carriers to plan times they could serve Belly’s needs. It took many phone calls, a number of rescheduled appointments, and hours of planning, but persistence paid off and the carriers soon tapped Belly into their networks.
SHI also coordinated the gradual turnover from the old routers to Belly’s new Cisco routers. Before the new routers came fully online, SHI helped the company establish firewalls, create service log-ins and network accounts, and remotely train Belly representatives on the new routers.
The rewards of the infrastructure upgrade
Belly never saw the bottlenecks or service failure it feared, and it’s now benefiting from faster communications and a system that is more reliable for business owners and Belly users.
The new routers are fully online, which allows the company to examine its bandwidth needs and better monitor its virtual private network (VPN). And tapping directly into the ISP networks has sped up services for transactions by Belly’s customers.
A key to success is anticipation and advanced planning to tackle the problems that lie ahead. Belly had been successful, but it saw bandwidth and connectivity roadblocks to its future growth. By moving quickly to overcome those challenges, Belly is prepped to add more users, process more check-ins, and more closely partner with the small businesses that are offering some of the most creative rewards for shoppers.