Customer Success Story:
Dell EMC chooses Thru to improve customer support process for 115,000+ users

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Customer Size
10,000+ employees

Country or Region
United States

Industry
Information Technology and Services

Customer Profile
Dell EMC cloud computing, Big Data, and trusted IT solutions help businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver IT as a service.

Business Situation
Needed to improve file sharing in its in-house customer support portal (Powerlink) for over 100,000 users.

Solution
Using the Thru API, Dell EMC integrated Thru at the backend of its customer support solution to offer unlimited sharing of any size files and folders, consequentially improving the performance of Powerlink for thousands of users.

Benefits

  • 100% uptime for file sharing in its customer support portal
  • Increased security with full antivirus scanning for all file transactions
  • Saved three years of in-house development and significant cost savings

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Dell EMC is a global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver information technology as a service. Through innovative products and services, Dell EMC accelerates the journey to cloud computing, helping IT departments to store, manage, protect and analyze their most valuable asset — information — in a more agile, trusted and cost-efficient way.

Challenge

Dell EMC supports tens of thousands of customers with its proprietary legacy customer service portal, Powerlink, for users to access entitled software, resolve support issues and more. Though customers and employees appreciated Powerlink’s ease-of-use over many years, this mission critical customer facing system, having been developed many years ago, was beginning to show its age. Major concerns were file size upload limits of two gigabytes and technical failures bringing into question the system’s viability.

To bypass file sharing limitations within Powerlink, the company tried numerous workarounds like breaking large files up into several chunks to enable users to upload larger files. However, some files that needed to be uploaded, such as ISOs, could be several hundred gigabytes in size making them very difficult to transfer, even after breaking into chunks.

Dell EMC’s Customer Service department, under mandate dictated by its innovative S360 Customer Service Program, needed to improve customer satisfaction for its 115,000+ Powerlink users. The decision had to be made to either repair the current system, do a ground-up development of a new in-house solution or partner with an enterprise file sharing vendor that could offer the security, scalability and flexibility for such an important project. Given the critical nature of the project time was of the essence so deployment and transitioning were heavily weighted when incorporated into the decision matrix

Repairing the existing system would be fraught with challenges, considering many of the original developers of Powerlink were no longer available to re-engineer the system. Rebuilding the system from scratch, would only result in the current situation down the line. Both not only had enormous risk but also hefty price tags with very poor ROIs. The only real choice was to search for an extendible platform whereby the front end of the portal was preserved and the heavy file sharing component in the backend be replaced.

Solution

After extensive evaluations of eight of the top enterprise file sharing vendors recommended by Gartner, Dell EMC did “product shootouts” with three of them and chose Thru. Of all the vendors that Dell EMC evaluated, Thru was the only file sharing solution that could meet the company’s complex needs in scalability, deep backend integration capability and security. Using Thru’s robust API, Dell EMC and Thru co-created a massively scalable new solution that eliminated all the issues in Powerlink. Today, 115,000 employees and customers exchange files in Powerlink are leveraging the power of Thru’s extensive file sharing integration tools and the robust Thru version 9 server.

Martina Sullivan
Senior Project Manager
Dell EMC

Integrated seamlessly into the background of Powerlink, Thru added three primary capabilities that were vital to Dell EMC including:

  • Unlimited file size upload – Customers and employees can now upload and download files with no size limits and from any web browser with the help of Thru’s upload and download widgets. With support for multiple browsers and upload options, like HTML 4, 5, Java, and ActiveX, Thru adds far more end-to-end management of support cases than Dell EMC’s previous in-house developed file transfer component in Powerlink.
  • Seamless user creation on the fly – Because of the large amount of users in the Powerlink system, transitioning every user to a new solution just wasn’t practical. Leveraging the identity management schema of Powerlink, Thru’s CreateUserID API tool checks to see if a user exists in the Thru system, and if not, Powerlink passes those credentials to Thru with the user’s software entitlement and the user is created. Since the user can only be authenticated via the controlling system, in this case Powerlink, security is maintained.
  • Scalability – As you can imagine the largest storage company in the world would have enormous data, such is the case for Dell EMC. Thru’s ability to meet the project’s current storage requirement and all future storage requirements was another solid reason Dell EMC chose Thru. Thru solves large storage challenges by deploying “Thru SmartLoad Manager”. SmartLoad Manager load-balances across application servers, database servers and storage. It’s not limited by the physical location of devices and can be addressed no matter where they are located. Thru SmartLoad Manager met the project scale challenges, allowing the new Powerlink to be provisioned across an unlimited amount of storage devices, application servers and databases; ruling out obsolescence well into the foreseeable future.

Results

Now that Thru is integrated seamlessly into Dell EMC’s Powerlink portal, the company is experiencing benefits that were not possible with any other enterprise file sharing solution. The primary benefits that Thru gives to Dell EMC include:

  • 100% Uptime – Dell EMC can now offer large file sharing for thousands of users without any downtime to its Powerlink system. 100% uptime for file transfers has greatly increased customer satisfaction and increased productivity in customer support cases.
  • Unmatched Enterprise Security – Thru has significantly increased security for Dell EMC by adding highly advanced features such as encryption and full file level antivirus scanning for every file transaction.
  • Cost Savings and Faster Deployment – During evaluation of Thru, Dell EMC used Gartner’s ROI model and plugged in a five and ten year ROI of Thru versus building an on-premises solution. The results showed that choosing Thru instead of building in-house or transitioning to an alternate file transfer solution would save them three years of development time and millions in cost.

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