Ericom Blaze Accelerates Access to Flash-based Content over RDP - FCX Sales Teams Can Quickly and Easily Access their Online Catalogues
Customers

Ericom Blaze Accelerates Access to Flash–based Content over RDP – Enables FCX Sales Teams To Quickly and Easily Access their Online Catalogues

Customer

FCX Performance

Industry

Wholesale (Distributorship)

Product

        Ericom Blaze
Challenge

        To provide 16 regional distributors with faster access to vendor online catalogues and quicker delivery of Flash-based graphics to thin Clients over a low-bandwidth VPN.

Solution

        Deploy Ericom Blaze to accelerate the delivery and display of vendor catalogues over RDP.

Corporate Benefits

  • Provided quick access to Vendor catalogues for faster closure of sales.
  • Faster response times reinforces FCX's image as trusted partner and source of technical expertise.
  • Sales teams can now allocate more time to customer relations and lead generation.
  • Lowered IT support load.

IT Benefits

  • Enabled access to Flash-based vendor content from FCX's smaller branches.
  • Accelerated RDP by compressing and accelerating graphics over a low-bandwidth VPN.
  • Protected existing assets by supporting FCX's connection broker.

"Blaze has made a world of difference... Our trial went very well. We rolled it out to all of our clients and it continues to be a big success."
Jeff Lake, FCX Systems Administrator

Background:

FCX Performance is a leading provider of process flow control solutions and products to a variety of process industries. Based in Columbus, Ohio, they have 16 locations covering 30 states and over 235 employees. FCX sees itself as a single source for all process flow control product and service needs. Providing the widest product range, FCX carries over 9,000 SKUs of stock, strategically located at 3 Customer Service Centers. FCX's User IT Environment consists of a VPN connecting to its head office terminal server farm. The farm is managed by a connection broker that does not support RDP acceleration.

Country wide technical sales staff access FCX's terminal server farm using Wyse thin clients running embedded Windows XP or Win 7. A number of FCX's regional distributors connect to the Columbus head office via low-bandwidth lines.

IT Environment:

  • Network: Hub and Spoke with terminal server farm and connection broker
  • Application: Microsoft Terminal Services, Standard Browser
  • Server side: Windows 2008 R2 in Columbus, Ohio
  • Client side: Wyse thin clients running embedded XP or Win 7

The Challenge - Zero Access or Slow Graphics:

FCX's sales teams receive phone orders from clients with specifications for equipment and/or a particular SKU / device. They rely on having immediate access to vendors' online catalogues to service these sales calls in a timely fashion. However, much of the content is Flash or graphic-based, presenting a challenge for their thin clients and low bandwidth lines.

Jeff Lake, FCX's Systems Administrator, explained, "The thin clients were having difficulty with speed and processing power to deal with all the flash animation and other graphics." He added that using the Web had become a huge strain on sales. "Many of FCX's preferred vendor sites were completely unusable. Sales couldn't get to the content because the sites would hang or take so long… or worse. When they are on a call with a client, the client is trying to give the specification that they need for a device, but our people could only take notes and call them back later".

It seemed evident, then, that standard RDP was not sufficient for FCX's low bandwidth network.

The Solution - Accelerate Flash and Graphics-heavy Content Delivery:

FCX sought a solution that could accelerate Flash animation delivery to their distribution sites, either directly from their terminal server farm or preferably, through their current connection broker.

"We took a look at Microsoft RemoteFX which had huge promise to speed up graphics and other things. But we found that the solution was primarily for their virtual machine and their hyper-visor." For Terminal Services, however, "it just seemed to be very costly for very little benefit".

Jeff also downloaded various other solutions, but found them to be excessive. Commenting on one of them, Jeff said, "[Other solutions offer] more than connection brokering. They deal with sign-on issues, compression and with a huge number of things. But we already have practices and even products to take care of those needs. We really didn't want to buy any product where the majority of its cost is for functionality we already have."

FCX found exactly what they were looking for when they downloaded Ericom Blaze "We wanted to see how it does in the field, since those are the people who are going to need it".

Ericom Blaze excels in the Field Test:

Jeff installed the Blaze free trial on a Columbus head office server. He then located three small FCX branches that had serious bandwidth issues and installed the Blaze client on their Wyse thin clients.

"We told them to go to their most challenging sites, using regular Terminal Server [via RDP], and then to those sites using Ericom's Blaze client. We asked them to report back to us with the differences."

The result:

"They said that Blaze has made a world of difference, and now they are able to operate. Flash animation that wouldn't work is now working, and things that were working poorly are now working well."

Protecting FCX's existing IT assets, by integrating with their existing infrastructure:

Jeff took FCX's testing one step further. They were worried about software compatibilities. So, they downloaded the relevant online Ericom documentation, and installed Ericom Blaze on a dedicated machine, to work with their existing connection broker.

Simple, Quick, No Surprises:

"It was very easy and we were very impressed. And we really liked the idea that Blaze was a small dedicated package; it was the thing we needed, and it did what the documentation said it would do - unlike the other products which were huge and unwieldy for our needs."

Jeff concluded, "Our trial went very well. We rolled it out to all of our clients and it continues to be a big success."

How Ericom Blaze Made the Difference:

  • Secured New Orders: FCX's sales teams now have quick access to vendor catalogues for immediate closure of sales.
  • Maintained FCX's Corporate Image: Faster responses to new order requests, reinforces FCX's image as a trusted partner and source of technical expertise.
  • Increased Sales Team Productivity: FCX sales teams can now allocate more of their time to pro-active activities, such as customer relations, lead generation, business development, etc.
  • Lowered IT Support Load: Reduced the number of user support calls relating to poor access performance.
  • Added Value to IT's Current Terminal Services VPN: RDP acceleration has enabled FCX to maintain its existing infrastructure. FCX's Wyse thin clients no longer pose a limitation, despite their lower processing capabilities.
  • Saved FCX from Having to Invest in Network Capacity: Ericom Blaze, as a standalone solution, proved to be ideal for existing infrastructures in need of faster RDP delivery, but without having to migrate to a more comprehensive network solution.



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