Overview

Bidvest Waltons puts pen to paper and increases bandwidth with managed SD-WAN and broadband internet links

Bidvest Waltons needed to increase their bandwidth, without prohibitive cost increases, to invest in applications to support product training for their B2B client managers.

We implemented an SD-WAN solution, with broadband internet over a fiber connection, to give the business greater capacity with less risk — and the additional benefit of cost savings. Bidvest Waltons now has the flexibility to increase network capacity when needed, and SD-WAN’s built-in Cloud Controller makes the entire solution easy to manage. With a robust network that supports Office 365, with Microsoft Teams, client managers can take full advantage of the collaboration and innovation tools this technology offers.

Client profile:

Bidvest Waltons have been providing stationery and office supplies to the South African market since 1949.

They have a national footprint of more than 50 retail and distribution sites and as well as an online store. For the past 24 years they’ve formed part of the JSE-listed Bidvest Group.

Vision
Vision

Supporting their evolving communications needs

Bidvest Waltons had been using our MPLS network for several years to connect their 50+ retail sites across South Africa to their corporate applications.

While its stores are a household name in stationery supplies, the company’s consumer retail operations comprise just a small portion of the business. The remainder stems from their business clients’ bulk purchasing of an extensive range of office supplies, including office furniture, filing, consumables, catering, cleaning and technology.

This is a significant portion of their business and its success relies on the knowledge and expertise of the client managers who interact with clients in this portfolio. Product training is therefore extremely important, and Bidvest Waltons wanted to streamline their training by using advanced collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams.

They soon realized they would need more reliable bandwidth to really take advantage of the full functionality of this application. The company’s existing copper-based network would not be able to meet the demands of real-time video streaming, for example, and voice calls made over the network were becoming costly.

"We are extremely satisfied with the SD-WAN solution implemented by NTT, we have increased our bandwidth and resilience while driving down the operating cost of our corporate network."

Jaco Opperman
Head of IT, Bidvest Waltons
Transformation
Transformation

Determining where value lies

Bidvest Waltons needed to increase their bandwidth significantly, without prohibitive cost increases. The company also wanted a flexible approach to networking that would allow them to easily increase capacity based on future requirements.

A number of solutions were proposed, including various bandwidth increase increments; implementing software-defined networking through SD-WAN with 10 times the bandwidth; and an upgraded Firewall with 10 times the bandwidth.

Bidvest Waltons weighed each option to find the perfect balance between increasing bandwidth to support multimedia training tools and reducing costs. The SD-WAN solution was selected as it met both objectives and offered additional ease of management through SD-WAN’s Cloud Controller, which enables centralized setup and management of network policies. The company’s corporate network had been running on a copper- based last mile – which meant limited bandwidth and the risk of downtime in the event of copper theft. By choosing the SD-WAN solution and running broadband internet over a fiber connection, the business could enjoy the benefits of greater capacity with less risk.

With SD-WAN’s built-in Cloud Controller, Bidvest Waltons has a clear view of how the service is being managed, and the option to receive alerts and notifications for various activities. Cloud Controller makes the entire solution easier to manage, ensuring optimal network performance so all employees can connect to business applications such as product catalogues, pricing, and quoting and invoicing systems in a flash. This empowers client managers to tap into the latest product information, provide fast and efficient service to business clients and stay on top of billing.

By growing their bandwidth, Bidvest Waltons did more than increase business capacity; they increased their teams’ ability to transact with confidence as they continue to establish and grow B2B relationships.

Results
Results

More capacity for business means more capacity for staff development

Thanks to our solution, Bidvest Waltons could benefit from moving its voice services over to fiber, too. After migrating to our Hosted PBX solution, the business realized immediate savings of 40% on voice calls.

Having freed up budget with the SD-WAN solution (and almost halving the costs of voice calls), and with a robust network in place, the company was able to focus on technology for streamlining their client operations. They invested in Office 365, with Microsoft Teams, so their client managers can take full advantage of the collaboration and innovation tools this technology offers.

By growing their bandwidth, Bidvest Waltons did more than increase business capacity; they increased their teams’ ability to transact with confidence as they continue to establish and grow B2B relationships.

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