Fulcrum Uses Skytap to Leverage the Cloud for Mobile Communications Training
Today, Skytap is proud to announce a success story from our partnership with Fulcrum Technologies™–the leader in enterprise infrastructure management technology.
Fulcrum Technologies is doubling its user-base this year, and they faced the immediate challenge of training more than 2,500 new users of their CATS enterprise asset management software across the continental U.S., for one of the largest mobile communications carriers in North America. To meet the challenge of increasing the CATS user base by ten percent within just a few short weeks, Fulcrum Technologies teamed up with Skytap to deploy the complex software training environments required in the cloud. The innovative cloud-based virtual training solution enabled Fulcrum to provide collaborative, hands-on technical training to a large, highly distributed group of mobile communications employees with unprecedented speed, effectiveness, and efficiency.
CATS software, which is implemented at nearly all Tier 1 telecommunications carriers in the U.S., is designed to track high-value assets in real-time and then synchronize key operational data across heterogeneous back-office systems. The level of automation achieved with CATS drives significant cost savings from improved capital equipment utilization, and spares allocation management as well as streamlined return and repair processes.
Given the tightly integrated nature of the CATS platform, the difficult challenge for undertaking a nationwide training program was establishing a complex training environment that simulated what users would experience once the CATS system went live.
At first, Fulcrum’s client evaluated a “traditional” training approach, which required a dedicated server stacked with all of the necessary applications and sample data, as well as security compliance with their internal network. In addition, equipment such as server hardware, SAN, and memory upgrades, was expensive and could only be used for a short period of time. Lastly, IT resources needed to be diverted from the client’s main network to secure the training server, which itself presented a single point of failure that could potentially disrupt classes taking place across the country.
“We went to our client and proposed a different, more innovative approach based on a virtualized architecture in the cloud, which would drive better results at lesser cost,” said Don Fifer, VP of Sales at Fulcrum. “Fortunately, they had the confidence to take our recommendations seriously, so we researched possible solutions.”
Skytap Cloud met all the requirements set by Fulcrum and its client. For example, the cost of the solution was much less than the expense of purchasing, provisioning, running, and maintaining expensive infrastructure. Skytap Cloud also provided secure and tightly controlled access with a flexible, self-service approach for the ten trainers conducting sessions across the country. With Skytap Cloud, users were able to quickly create small classroom training environments for groups of up to 20 students, scale up to meet last-minute additions, and rapidly spin up the virtual machines in a matter of seconds.
“What we were looking for when we investigated possible partners for this project was an open architecture that would allow us to run our solution without requiring code changes or application rewrites,” says Paul Haury, Fulcrum’s IT Director. “With Skytap, we were able to implement our complete software stack in less than two hours. This ability to quickly create a complex training environment in the cloud is exactly what we were looking for. Based on our internal testing, we were convinced that Skytap Cloud would meet our client’s needs.”
The client gave the green light to use Skytap Cloud for the Fulcrum CATS training project. Three weeks later, Fulcrum flew its instructors to the client’s sites and started conducting the first on-site CATS training sessions. The Skytap approach was well received by Fulcrum’s instructors and the client’s employees who participated in the CATS software training programs.
In the end, the client was very pleased with the quality of the CATS training provided by Fulcrum–so much so that mid-way through they requested an increase in availability for our employees conducting Train-the-Trainer exercises. We also learned that the participants were impressed by how easily and quickly the Fulcrum training courses, powered by Skytap Cloud, could scale up to meet their growing demands.
If you have questions about our virtual training capabilities, or would like to learn how Skytap Cloud could save your organization time and money, feel free to get in touch with one of our cloud specialists.
To learn more about our partnership with Fulcrum, read the full press release.