Ernster relies on Mixvoip to modernize its ICT infrastructure
Founded more than 130 years ago, the family-owned book distribution group Ernster has withstood the wars and crises of the 20th century. The company has adapted to the technological changes of the last decades and became a pioneer of online sales in Luxembourg. When Ernster decided to take on an extra step in the modernization of its infrastructure the company called upon Mixvoip.
“Mixvoip is a long-time partner”, says Elvis Dautovic, IT manager of Ernster. “Our relation goes back to 2013, and over time it got stronger and stronger”.
A big challenge
In 2018, the company found itself face to face with a new situation where it needed to restructure its IT infrastructure and communication because of the opening of several new stores. “Our network topology was such that each store had its own firewall, and each one was communicating with a central firewall. This complicated our daily work, without even taking into account the costs for additional services as well as the effort that was necessary for maintenance”, says Elvis Dautovic. “Our Wi-Fi access and our phone system needed an update, too”, he adds.
The challenge wasn’t easy for Ernster. Even though the company had an IT department, it did not have all the necessary capabilities to implement a large-scale transformation project. Luckily, they found in Mixvoip the competencies that they were missing. “We stayed confident in the face of the challenges that we encountered because we had Mixvoip at our side. And in the end, the transition to the new ICT environment has taught us a lot”, says Ernster’s IT manager.
Optimizing the infrastructure via a centralized solution
“Mixvoip has offered us a centralized solution to optimize our infrastructure“, explains Elvis Dautovic. For this, Mixvoip has equipped all its client’s sites with telephony and Internet.
Each site has a similar configuration consisting of a public and an internal Wi-Fi network, the latter being used by Ernster for its different operational needs. The points of sale and the logistics center of Ernster are linked with each other and connected to Mixvoip’s datacenter over a secured VPN. The firewall is located in the cloud, which makes it possible to centralize its management. This firewall filters all of the traffic: like this, the routing rules of all sites can be administered over one single point. The same applies to maintenance and updates.
“Mixvoip has offered us a solution that is perfectly adapted to our needs. Today the implemented services make our work much easier: virtual machines, VPN, and VoIP telephony are now part of our daily life”, says Elvis Dautovic. In addition, Mixvoip’s solution places safety at the very core of the strategy and therefore reacts to one of Ernster’s priorities. “When it comes to security and availability, the price for the solutions implemented by Mixvoip is much lower than what a major incident would have cost us”, he adds.
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Operational gains and enhanced security
Ernster disposes of an innovative system that is well-accepted and heavily used by the company’s employees. “Mixvoip has perfectly met our expectations”, emphasizes Elvis Dautovic. “The users noticed that the problems we usually encountered now occur less and less frequently. We profit from our partner’s solid support, and more importantly, from a stable network, which is the key factor for managing the activities of a modern company”.
“For every project like this it is important to balance out the advantages that the new IT systems bring with the costs and potential challenges”, reminds Elvis Dautovic. “With Mixvoip’s solutions, our daily tasks got a lot easier, we can resolve problems quicker, we have increased our employees’ productivity, and reduced company expenses”, he concludes.
Interview led by Michaël Renotte
Ernster, “the book spirit”, is a 5th generation family-led company, active in the field of book trade and publishing. The company was founded in Luxembourg in 1889 under the name library Ernster (its current general manager, Fernand Ernster, computerized Ernster’s inventory management for the first time in 1989. At the end of the 90s, the first ernster.com online shop was launched, which turned Ernster into a pioneer of online book sales.
Today the company has 10 stores, a logistics center, a call center, and an IT service. In addition, Ernster currently has 115 employees in Luxembourg. Its online store (www.ernster.com) belongs to the most important stores in its sector in Luxembourg and offers more than 9 million articles.