Achieving a significant cost reduction and productivity increase by leveraging Internet technology and teaming up with Cisco Customer Service.
Background-- Based in Herndon, Va, PictureVision, Inc., is an independent subsidiary of Eastman Kodak Company. The pioneer in online photography, PictureVision's core technology provides the foundation for digital photography services.
Challenge-- PictureVision is rolling out Cisco PhotoNet packages to Wolf Camera locations across the country. PictureVision needed a cost-effective and efficient way to meet the specific networking needs of each site.
Solution-- PictureVision uses Configuration Express, the latest Cisco Internet Commerce Application that enables configuration of customer premises equipment (CPE) via a web-based interface. Working with Cisco Customer Service the PictureVision staff was able to take advantage of the Cisco Internet Commerce Applications.
Results-- PictureVision achieved a 20 percent reduction in the costs associated with delivering a state-of-the-art solution to Wolf Camera. In addition, PictureVision anticipates saving even more using the Cisco Configuration Express tool.
Cisco and PictureVision Team Up to Create a Cost-Effective, Efficient Solution
As the pioneer in online photography, PictureVision's core technology provides the foundation for digital photography services, such as Kodak PhotoNet online, AOL "You've Got Pictures," and Sony ImageStation on PhotoNet, and image editing software programs, such as MGI PhotoSuite II, LivePix 2.0, MicroSoft Picture It!, and Adobe PhotoDeluxe. PictureVision's premier product, Kodak PhotoNet online, lets consumers easily view, share, store, and use their photos on their computers by having their film developed by participating PhotoNet retailers. PictureVision will deploy 18,000 PhotoNet kiosks worldwide over the next three years. These kiosks contain PictureVision's PhotoNet digital system, telecommunications lines, and Cisco "PhotoNet packages" of 1602 Routers and Cisco 1538 Hubs. In 1999, PictureVision will complete the rollout of the Cisco PhotoNet packages, which are being delivered to 750 different Wolf Camera locations across the United States.
According to Steve Smith, Vice President of Operations, "We needed to configure the routers to meet the specific networking needs of each Wolf Camera site. We also faced an aggressive customer schedule, since Wolf needed the system prior to the Christmas season." He notes that the options included configuration of the routers by Cisco, PictureVision, or Wolf. "The most efficient and cost-affective approach was for Cisco to take responsibility for configuring the routers prior to shipment,' says Smith.
PictureVision Works with Cisco for a Business Advantage
PictureVision placed its trust in the comprehensive Cisco Customer Service and Internet Commerce teams to ensure that the routers were configured correctly and efficiently. "We were very impressed with the expertise of the Cisco team," emphasizes Smith. "We knew that the company's Worldwide Customer Service Department would apply its e-commerce insight to leverage the Web for our business advantage."
Prior to the rollout, Doug Lavanchy, Cisco Customer Service Specialist, trained the PictureVision staff on the Cisco online tools, as well as Configuration Express. Configuration Express is the latest addition to the suite of Cisco Internet Commerce Applications designed and developed to streamline the ordering and delivery of CPE. It provides a simpler, more cost-effective way to handle an essential business operation. With Configuration Express, PictureVision was able to order and configure routers that are shipped directly to customers, reducing costs for warehousing, shipping, and manually configuring the devices
According to Robin Burkett, PictureVision Project Manager, "I provide Doug with the site plan for each location and phase of the rollout. The individual phases occur weekly and cover 50 to 100 stores." Through the use of Configuration Express all routers are preconfigured with the correct IP address information. Then, Lavanchy works with the master schedulers in Cisco manufacturing to ensure that they would be able to handle the high volume of orders. Effective communication was essential to meet the required project delivery timeframes.
To ensure easy tracking of the shipments, Lavanchy maintains a spreadsheet for each rollout that is forwarded to PictureVision, Cisco Systems Capital (the leasing company used by PictureVision), and Cisco manufacturing. "The spreadsheets help us quickly and efficiently track the orders," comments Burkett. "This capability helps greatly in scheduling time for our engineers to assist the Wolf sites in setting up the kiosks."
Effective project management from Cisco Customer Service has been essential to the project success. "Doug is very proactive and does all the legwork," says Burkett. "This makes my life much easier!"
PictureVision Cuts Costs by 20 Percent
By relying on the Cisco Customer Service Department and Configuration Express, PictureVision has achieved a 20 percent reduction in the costs associated with delivering a state-of-the-art networking solution to Wolf Camera. In addition, freed up from ordering and configuration tasks with the help of Configuration Express, Burkett can now focus on installing phone lines, the scheduling of wiring technicians, and the delivery of PictureVision's PhotoNet digital systems. She estimates that her productivity has jumped 30 percent as a result.
The Cisco solution has also provided long-term advantages in ongoing management and maintenance costs. "Configuration Express allowed us to redirect our internal resources to other projects with an impact on the bottom line," says Smith. "We anticipate saving tens of thousands of dollars using the Cisco Connection Online tool." He adds that Configuration Express also eliminates the need to deploy technicians across the country to the different Wolf Camera locations. "This alone will save us hundreds of thousands of dollars in employee time, travel, and associated costs," emphasizes Smith.
Both Smith and Burkett are very impressed with the services provided by Lavanchy. "Doug is always very responsive and accessible," says Burkett. "It's clear that customer service is very important to him."