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Trade :Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.

For over 25 years Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. has been a leader in the shopping center industry. With more than 400 employees, the firm manages over 30 centers in 23 states. Tanger Outlets serve more than 150 million shoppers annually at 2,000 premier brand name and designer outlet stores (see www.tangeroutlet.com).

The Tanger IT team recognized a need to replace disparate systems throughout their nationwide network of outlet centers with an integrated solution that could be centrally administered from the firm’s headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina. The shortcomings they wanted to correct included:
• High cost of service calls at branch sites
• Inadequate cost/quality controls
• Inconsistent deployment of upgrades and new features, resulting in outdated capabilities at many sites
• Lack of connectivity with corporate headquarters
• Inability to coordinate marketing messages
• Cost and time required for new installations
• Overall, an administrative nightmare for their small IT team

“Our goal was to establish a cost-effective solution that would provide integration with the telecommunications solution at our corporate headquarters,” explained Rick Farrar, Vice President-Information Technology for Tanger. “We felt we needed to be able to manage and troubleshoot the system centrally, with reliable local support from our vendors, so we could provide a consistent, high-quality customer experience across our outlets. In doing so, we wanted to leverage the cost efficiencies and other benefits we knew could be achieved through an IP-based network.”

One of the first approaches Tanger looked at was a hosted IP solution from another manufacturer, but they were skeptical because it offered them no control of the system and was totally dependent on an Internet connection to operate. They also felt it was too complex for the end users. Instead, through theirpartnership with a Platinum level member of the Avaya BusinessPartner program, a more strategic solution was developed that met and exceeded the business objectives within a price point that was feasible for the company. Avaya Distributed Office was chosen because of its ability to deliver a broad spectrum of advanced Intelligent Communications applications effectively to a large number of branch locations. The available features include IP Softphone with Microsoft® Office Communicator integration; desk and wireless phone synchronization; Automated Attendant; a single dial plan; PBX and key system capabilities to every branch; third party application enablement; and key system interface. The capabilities of Distributed Office enable employees at branch sites to achieve greater productivity and respond more quickly and effectively to customer inquiries. They also offer effective strategies for mobility and enhanced interconnectivity/interoperability with the headquarters site.

Distributed Office’s Intuitive Centralized Management provides tools for updates/upgrades and troubleshooting throughout the entire network from one location. Site installation time is reduced by delivering pre-configured Distributed Office platforms, without additional hardware. A lab unit was installed at the administrative site so that new configurations could be developed, tested, and delivered on a plug-in basis. Tanger corporate headquarters is equipped with an Avaya S8500 Server (soon to be upgraded to an Avaya S8700 Server) with Avaya Communication Manager and INTUITY™ AUDIX® LX Multimedia Messaging. Distributed Office is being installed in a phased rollout for 400  employees at 30 outlet sites. Automated Attendant, Music on Hold, and integrated voicemail are among the features being deployed for each new site. Avaya 4600 series IP phones are supplied to headquarters and branch employees. Hands-on training was provided for Tanger’s IT Manager, Joe Martin, and several other technicians, so the Tanger IT team could self-manage the Distributed Office solution, even to the extent of fine-tuning routing profiles and creating new configurations. According to Martin, “An Avaya team and their Avaya Authorized BusinessPartner worked with us strategically to understand and meet all of our needs. Now we are collaborating to develop or fine-tune applications such as marketing campaigns, call recording capabilities, and enhanced utilization of features related to the SIP architecture. The site managers and their staff are acclimating quite well to the new system, and they are already experiencing many benefits from it.”

Cost savings on installation and service. Through self-installation and reduced maintenance costs, an estimated $10,000 to $15,000 is being saved on each new site installation (vs. alternative approaches) with additional ongoing savings at each site.

Ease of management and installation. Distributed Office offers a centralized, Web-based tool that dramatically simplifies branch network monitoring and management, making it possible for a small IT staff to administer and troubleshoot the entire network and to establish new sites quickly and easily. Connectivity. Outlet sites will have 5-digit dialing connectivity with headquarters and a simplified transfer process. Branches enjoy a level of advanced communications approaching that of headquarters. Customer service improvements. Automated Attendant ensures answering and retention of all incoming calls. Ease of use and system reliability should improve responsiveness to all calls at the branch sites. Mobility features are available so that staff at the branches can develop strategies or taking calls even when they are not in the office.Business continuity. All branch office configurations are backed up at the centralsite.

Marketing benefits. Marketing will be able to deliver messaging from the central hub, coordinated by groups, location, and other factors.

Tanger Headquarters
• Avaya S8500 Server
• Communication Manager 4.0
• INTUITY™ AUDIX® LX Multimedia Messaging Avaya Distributed Office
• i40 with 8 Port POE Blade
• Automated Attendant
• Music on HoldPhones
• IP Softphones
• Extension to Cellular
• Avaya 4600 Series IP TelephonesProductivity.

 The robust features of Distributed Office increase productivity at the branch sites and enhance their capabilities to respond to customers quickly and effectively. Productivity is enhanced through simplified training and common processes. Employees can move among the Distributed Office equipped branches without having to learn different telephony procedures. Overall system management is streamlined for the IT team via standardization and centralized control. Communications scalability. Distributed Office can accommodate a virtually limitless number of installations and is equipped for a wide range of future upgrades.