CIO Unifies all Communications on a Global Platform with 8x8
RPM International Inc. (NYSE ticker: RPM), founded in 1947, is a multinational holding company with subsidiaries that manufacture and market various specialty chemical product lines. Products include high-quality specialty paints, protective coatings, roofing systems, sealants and adhesives for the maintenance and improvement needs of industrial and consumer markets. As of the end of its fiscal year for 2015, RPM employed more than 12,000 people worldwide, operated 116 manufacturing facilities in 26 countries, marketed and sold products in 170 countries and posted $4.6 billion in sales.
RPM Performance Coatings Group, a Division of RPM, manages operating companies in the industrial space that specialize in polymer flooring systems, high-performance coatings and lining, FRP structural shapes, concrete admixtures, decorative concrete products and a number of products that address corrosion protection or different applications in the construction industry.
“Our group serves 13 distinct vertical markets on a global basis,” explains Paul Patti, vice president of Information Technology for RPM Performance Coatings Group. You can find our products in everything from stadiums, refineries, hospitals, restaurants and institutions to markets such as pulp and paper, marine, off shore, bridge and highway, food and beverage, pharmaceutical and microelectronics.”
Traditional PBX Network Could Not Expand Outside the U.S.
Before implementing 8x8 cloud communications, RPM Performance Coatings Group used a network of Nortel PBXs to connect its various operations in the U.S. and Europe. But while the network functioned well inside the U.S., it was a different story globally.
“We had a very traditional voice infrastructure that was aging and unable to grow with us internationally,” recalls Patti. “That was a critical issue for our business because we’re not an e-commerce company. Our customers are not typically in a position to place orders over the web. They primarily contact us through voice, so having a seamless, global voice network was essential to our revenue-generation process.”
After researching the various voice solutions available, Patti realized that the company’s use case—a growing international company with a highly distributed workforce—was well suited to the cloud. And after further research, Patti realized that the use case was also well suited to 8x8’s cloud-based services.
“An international rollout is something we couldn’t have contemplated with our previous PBX technology. It speaks to the power of the 8x8 system, and its presence around the world… It has positioned us—for the first time in our history—to unify all our communications on a global platform.”
Vice President of Information Technology for RPM Performance Coating Group
A Comprehensive Solution Running over the Internet
“One of the main draws for us was one stop shopping,” he explains. “In addition to voice, 8x8 provides contact center, videoconferencing, chat, and many other complementary communication services. Instead of working with multiple vendors and dealing with interoperability issues, we could get a comprehensive solution from a single provider.”
Another key differentiator for RPM Performance Coatings Group was that 8x8’s solution could run solely over the open Internet, without requiring additional private phone lines.
“This capability was huge for us because we have small sites that are just running based off an Internet connection,” says Patti. “With 8x8, we didn’t want to have to spend additional money to install purpose-built lines for voice. That was not true of the other service providers we were evaluating.”
Patti notes that 8x8 recently announced it will provide an SLA for service over the open Internet. He believes that decision “speaks volumes to their confidence in the solution they’re delivering.”
8x8 Speeds RPM’s Time to Market
RPM Performance Coatings Group deployed 8x8 cloud communications in 2012. One of the first benefits Patti noticed was that the RPM’s time to market has accelerated.
“It no longer takes weeks to order PBX equipment and allocate technical personnel to configure that equipment,” he says. “Everything is configurable in the virtual PBX ahead of time, and any competent office worker can activate a new phone to get instant voice. In the past we didn’t have those kinds of capabilities. 8x8 keeps us moving at the speed of business.”
What’s more, Patti’s IT team no longer has to spend time “blocking and tackling” and can instead focus on higher-level activities, saving valuable time.
“The 8x8 system is very easy to deploy, configure and manage on an ongoing basis without requiring deep technical expertise. We’ve delegated many of those tasks to our administrative staff, freeing up our technical resources to work on higher-value projects,” he says.
Cloud Communications Enable Global Expansion
As a growing, global organization, RPM Performance Coatings Group relies on 8x8 cloud communications to unify its multinational sites, both large and small.
“We really are the poster child for 8x8 cloud communications,” says Patti. “We use 8x8 service everywhere, from our small service centers to our manufacturing facilities to our corporate headquarters!”
8x8’s global reach is integral to the company’s overseas expansion plans. In addition to rolling out 8x8 service across the U.S., RPM Performance Coatings Group has deployed the service in Milan, Italy, and plans to deploy it in both Belgium and Hong Kong and soon in the U.K.
“This kind of international rollout is something we couldn’t have contemplated with our previous PBX technology. It speaks to the power of the 8x8 system, and its presence around the world with data centers in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Hong Kong. It has positioned us—for the first time in our history—to unify all our communications on a global platform.”
Remote and Mobile Workers Stay Connected
Another big advantage of 8x8 service has been that RPM Performance Coatings Group can now connect employees who work outside of company offices. 8x8’s global network enables them to work from home offices or while traveling.
“Before we couldn’t include our remote employees in the dialing plan,” explains Patti. “Now we can bring our salesforce and installation teams into the fold and unify the organization. And it’s not only connecting them through voice services—it’s also videoconferencing and features like email notification of voicemail that have been a huge boon to our remote and mobile workers.”
An executive who frequently travels overseas, Patti has personally experienced the power of staying connected through 8x8. He particularly likes using the 8x8 Iphone app when working outside the U.S.
“Not only does the 8x8 softphone keep us connected, it also has a cost-saving impact. I’ve used it in places like India, Norway, and Aruba, and it acts just like an extension on our virtual PBX. I can be reachable almost anywhere and still save the company on international charges,” he says.
Business Continuity Even in Bad Weather
Patti notes that 8x8’s cloud-based solution has yielded benefits for RPM Performance Coatings Group’s order entry department by providing continuity even during bad weather. In the past, if there was a snow storm or tornado warning in the Midwest, those employees would be sent home and order processing would stop. With 8x8, employees can stay safe at home but continue to work as if they were in the office.
“The ability to take orders and keep the business flowing even when the weather is severe is huge for us,” says Patti. He sees this as a major advantage of moving from premises-based hardware to 8x8 cloud communications.
“One of the things that keeps a CIO up at night is the resiliency and availability of systems. Voice is critical to our organization, so we initially had concerns about moving it to the cloud where somebody else was managing it. Through my personal interactions at 8x8, I have seen first-hand the level of detail that has gone in to making sure our phone service never goes down.”
8x8 Analytics Aids in Troubleshooting
Like many companies with contact centers, RPM Performance Coatings Group has sometimes struggled with troubleshooting technical issues. Is it the phone lines? Is it the Internet connection? Is it a system configuration problem?
Using 8x8 Analytics, this formerly complex process has been significantly streamlined. Patti can contact 8x8 to get the call data he needs to quickly identify and resolve technical issues anywhere in the contact center.
“8x8 provides key data on call traffic and call statistics in a very intuitive, easy-to-use analytics package,” he explains. “It gives us, the customer, the ability to quickly diagnose our own contact center issues. Having that independence to solve problems ourselves has been wonderful.”
Switching to 8x8 Service Is a ‘No Brainer’
As a result of RPM Performance Coatings Group’s outstanding experience with 8x8 service, some sister companies within the RPM organization are now contemplating making the switch as well. According to Patti, the decision is a “no brainer.”
“8x8 doesn’t require any special infrastructure or expertise, and the speed of deployment is remarkable. It connects offices and workers virtually anywhere in the world through a cost-saving soft phone app. This is a solution I would recommend without hesitation to anyone.”