Ericom Helps Teletouch Resellers Be In-Touch
Customers

PowerTerm® WebConnect Helps Teletouch Resellers
Be In–Touch

Industry

Retail

Customer

Teletouch Communications

Host Connectivity Solution

        PowerTerm® WebConnect

Host Server

        Sun Solaris Unix ES350

Users

        200 users company wide

The Challenge

        Teletouch needed to find an affordable solution for its resellers located at remote locations requiring real-time access to the company's host system.

The Solution

        PowerTerm WebConnect provided a quick and simple web-based host access solution for resellers to access customer information quickly and easily.

PowerTerm WebConnect's centralized management eliminated the need for traveling to each reseller store to configure the software.


Benefits

  • PowerTerm WebConnect enabled Teletouch to decrease the number of modern lines entering their system helping to cut costs and offer a higher level of service to its resellers.
  • PowerTerm WebConnect's advanced scripting capabilities enable resellers to connect to the In-Touch system using one-click.
  • PowerTerm WebConnect's scalable architecture has enabled Teletouch to increase the number of concurrent users accessing their system.

"PowerTerm WebConnect was one of only a few products on the market today that allowed us to use ActiveX instead of JAVA to connect to a server that is behind our firewall. This allowed us to stay within Windows® environment because we could use Internet Explorer as our browser for remote dealer locations."
Rick Fry, Information Systems Manager, Teletouch Communications

Background

Teletouch Communications, in Tyler, Texas provides paging services in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee. The Company focuses on smaller metropolitan markers where there is less competition and the opportunity for expansion is greater than in larger metropolitan areas. In addition, Teletouch operates the largest wireless accessory store, selling word message pagers, numeric pagers, voice pagers, 2-way radio pagers and long distance phone cards. To service its growing number of customers, Teletouch uses a wide network of resellers and wireless communication companies that sell Teletouch product to their customers.

In order to perform such functions as remote activation of customer account setup for billing, resellers must access mission-critical information from "In-Touch", Teletouch's internal pager activation, billing and general accounting system. Quick and reliable access to the In-Touch system is essential; since if the system is tied up, customers cannot leave with an activated pager. Gaining access to "In-Touch" was becoming increasingly difficult due to the fact that their resellers were using a dial-up connection to connect to the In-Touch system. Using a dial-up connection was becoming prohibitively expensive especially over the toll-free circuits that were being provided. As the amount of reseller outlets increased, so did the traffic on their incoming phone lines. Neither Teletouch nor its resellers could afford to inconvenience customers due to busy signals since it could potentially lead to a loss of customers.

Moving to Web Emulation

Teletouch's In-Touch application runs on a Sun ES350 with a Solaris operating system that fulfills the needs of several hundred concurrent users. Teletouch wanted to increase the number of resellers using their system simultaneously.

Teletouch's WAN uses a diverse mix of point-to-point leased lines, ISDN, Frame Relay, Cable Modem, XDSL and POTS dial-up (depending on the relative size of the retail outlet). Teletouch outlets are located in kiosks in malls that use dial-up, and medium fixed retail locations that use ISDA, Cable, and DSL to connect to Teletouch's private network. Watchguard Firebox VPN server and Watchguard SOHO/TC appliances are used to encrypt data being transmitted over the Internet.

Choosing a Web Emulation Package

As Manager of Information Systems for Teletouch, Rick Fry was responsible for finding the right software solution for his company, as well as for making sure that all the Teletouch's resellers could adapt easily to the new system. Following extensive test installs and hands-on evaluations of other software products, Rick chose PowerTerm WebConnect from Ericom Software because PowerTerm WebConnect was one of only a few products available on the market today that allowed Teletouch to use ActiveX instead of JAVA to connect to a server behind a firewall. "PowerTerm WebConnect provided the gateway to the host computer," stated Rick.

Now, for the first time, system administrators and users can work on the same exact session, looking at the same exact screen, using PC's from two different locations.The system manager tool is especially helpful for remote users, multiple office locations and the occasional user who might need assistance.

"I called Ericom Technical Support to set up some fairly advanced scripting for once the resellers logged in." Now, when a reseller sells one of Teletouch's pagers, the reseller opens a web browser on his or her computer and goes to the Teletouch website. Once there, the reseller clicks a link that connects him to the In-Touch system. "I didn't know if the software had the ability to meet our demands, but found it did through the PowerTerm WebConnect's high end scripting," Rick said.

Teletouch has been so impressed with PowerTerm WebConnect that the next logical step will be to assess the feasibility of moving all their back office staff to PowerTerm WebConnect for accessing In-Touch. "We currently use stand alone terminal emulation software with about 200 installations company wide. PowerTerm WebConnect is appealing because of the ease of deployment and support that a web-based solution offers our small IS group" .

Now that PowerTerm WebConnect is part of their system, Teletouch is beginning to decrease the number of modem lines entering their system. This will help to cut costs and offer a higher lever of service to their resellers. The new Web-based system will also eliminate busy signals, wasted time, and will enable resellers to quickly serve their customers.






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