Case Study: Uninterrupted power supplies by Powerware Corporation

A UPS is now a mandatory requirement for any company hoping to protect critical applications such as email and web servers

A UPS is now a mandatory requirement for any company hoping to protect critical applications such as email and web servers

When it comes to anticipating and satisfying a customer's power management needs, Vern Roberts, an IBM COS project manager, is a pro. The secret to his success: a thorough understanding of power issues and solutions, an investment in active customer contact programs and a dedicated follow-through effort.

Roberts, like many of his associates in IBM's Customised Operational Services (COS) Division, is responsible for providing IBM customers with a broad menu of IS related services. Those services range from building and relocating data centers, to cabling for local area networks (LANs), to specifying and installing power management systems that include uninterruptible power systems (UPSs) and automatic power monitoring and shutdown software.

"I am sure most of my peers would agree that the ability to integrate solutions that allow our customers to build and fortify their total technology investment is no small effort," says Roberts. It requires a commitment to becoming an expert on each primary component that makes technology functional."

To this end, training programs offered by suppliers like Powerware Corporation, which provides the power quality and reliability component for networks and entire facilities, are extremely beneficial. Powerware offers on-going training that covers technical product and service overviews, integration methods using bundled UPS hardware, software and cabling solutions for IBM Risc, AS/400 and LAN systems, account development strategies and competitive analysis.

While knowledge of the entire systems environment is certainly important, it is only a portion of what it takes to establish a position of leadership in IBM service sales and customer satisfaction. It also takes a proactive communications effort to educate and ensure that customers are fully aware of all the products and services designed to maintain and improve the performance of their technology investments.

"You never know when a well-timed marketing effort will uncover a major opportunity to respond to an important customer need," said Roberts. Not long ago, Roberts initiated a direct mail campaign to acquaint more than 600 AS/400 and RS/6000 customers with Powerware Corporation's power management/protection solutions. His mailing included an introductory letter that described the expanding role of the UPS as a power monitoring and management tool, sizing guidelines and associated pricing for a variety of IBM applications and a mouse pad incentive.

"Even though AS/400 and RS/5000 users wouldn't typically have a need for a UPS larger than 6kVA, the first response I received from my mailing was an inquiry about a 75kVA unit. Uniden, an AS/400 customer who manufacturers cellular telephones, was looking to replace an outdated unit with an integrated power management system that could meet their current capacity requirements, as well as accommodate future growth," said Roberts. "Knowing that Powerware Corporation has a full product line that ranges in size from 350VA to thousands of kVA and relying on the training and technical support available to me, I was able to offer my customer a turnkey solution that included the installation of a new UPS as well as the disposal of their old system."

Like Vern and other COS managers are discovering, a well grounded solutions orientation and an active account development strategy can go a long way in uncovering needs, establishing greater customer satisfaction and building a desired level of referrals and repeat business.

Powerware Corporation, formerly known as Exide Electronics, designs and manufactures end-to-end power protection and management solutions - many of which are deployed by a broad range of businesses and institutions worldwide. Powerware integrates a full line of uninterruptible power systems (UPS), power management software and services, allowing customers to manage power to increase the availability of enterprise-wide systems. Its products are typically used in networking, PC, financial, medical, industrial, voice and data communications, military and aerospace applications - wherever continuous power is required for daily operations.

Powerware performance record dates back to the early 1960s when the company began protecting the first data centers. Since then, Powerware product development have continued to meet the continuing evolution of information technology, including such trends as the shift to networking, technology convergence and web-based computing. The company was an early adopter of mission-critical power protection for data centers together with offering network power management.

Powerware has a large portfolio of power-protection products and is a member of the Invensys Power Systems Division, a 2.3 billion company in the controls and automation industry. The company's products address multiple levels of power quality and availability requirements, with solutions that range from basic power protection to advanced power management.

The company's hardware products include UPSs that range in size from 300 volt amperes (VA) for personal computers to greater than 1,000 kilovolt amperes (kVA) for data centers, server farms, industrial applications and more. Network-connectivity devices, extended battery cabinets, power distribution modules and other power-related devices further enhance its hardware offerings.

Power management software and IT infrastructure management software complete the company's product portfolio. Basic power management software provides industry-standard monitoring, alarm and shutdown capabilities. More advanced software packages offer expansive data archiving, trending and regression analysis tools with predictive capabilities. Powerware also has software that can predict the type and timing of possible future events.

Powerware Global Services division offers customers a broad range of service options. A large service and support team complements Powerware technology. This allows the company to offer emergency and preventative maintenance services. Powerware Global Services has extensive archived data that enables service representatives to quickly view customer records and accurately prepare for necessary site visits. Combining this with remote monitoring capabilities allows customers to make better use of Powerware technology.

Compiled by Paul Phillips

( Exide Corporation

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