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October 27, 2009

Contingent Inks Multi-Million Dollar WAN Contract with Bob Evans

By Erin Harrison, Senior Editor

Following a national rollout for Wendy’s restaurants, Contingent Network Services announced Tuesday that it has secured a multi-million dollar contract to deploy its EverWorX managed wide area network service at more than 500 Bob Evans locations across the country.
According to company officials, a virtual private broadband network installation to link all Bob Evans restaurants was completed this summer. Bob Evans initiated the deployment to enable the installation of so-called “more robust” store-based Web applications, remote network monitoring and customer high-speed Internet access across its 569 North American locations.
EverWorX helps organizations streamline communications and maximize productivity, Contingent officials said. The service can provide for 100 percent coverage throughout North America with a package that combines design, deployment and support for a single or multi-site voice and data network.
EverWorX not only provides telecommunications aggregation – it can be fully customized to fill gaps or outsource entire network operations, according to Contingent officials. The company offers a “99 percent uptime service guarantee” that protects clients from service interruption, regardless of the underlying carriers.
“Contingent stands by its 99 percent uptime service guarantee by making it literally automatic.  Specifically, if uptime falls below 99 percent, the client’s bill is automatically credited for the downtime, regardless of the underlying carrier,” said Russ Maney (News - Alert), principal and co-founder of Xponential Group, a technology procurement services company that represents Contingent, in a recent TMCnet interview. “Clients don’t have to complain and apply for service interruption credits like they do with other WAN providers and carriers – an often frustrating and ultimately unsuccessful undertaking.  Contingent’s mindset is that, if service is interrupted, clients don’t pay, period.”
The Cincinnati, Ohio-based company specializes in a variety of information technology services focused primarily on design, deployment and management of wide area network and local area network infrastructure. Contingent itself is not a carrier, a reseller or an agent but a “managed services provider” that is technology, vendor, and carrier neutral, according to company officials.
According to Tim Wetzel, vice president of information systems for Bob Evans, the company looked at different providers, and Contingent offered the 50-year-old chain “the best of both worlds.”
“We were able to build a highly reliable network without significantly changing our infrastructure at the corporate office. Another reason Contingent was able to earn our business was the service level agreements that are built into their contract,” Wetzel said. “A lot of things are out of Contingent’s control, but they still stand behind their network. With the growing number of critical applications that depend on network availability, it was imperative that we keep our restaurant network up and running. And it helps to know we have a partner protecting our systems.”
“Often, companies want two things they can’t have at the same time: a single, highly integrated, company-wide WAN and minimal disruption of the infrastructure they currently have in place that’s already working well for them,” Maney said.
Unfortunately, most carriers deliver WAN services one way, using only their own technologies, only their own infrastructure requirements and only their own circuits, he added. 
“Whatever doesn’t fit at a client’s sites must change accordingly. On the other hand, Contingent is an “independent network services provider” that aggregates the right circuits from multiple carriers and then integrates them into a single WAN that fits their clients’ existing infrastructures.  This provides the ‘best of both worlds’ – a seamless, fully-managed WAN from one provider – Contingent – integrated with minimal disruption to existing IT infrastructures,” Maney said.
With EverWorX, once a network and applications are operational, there typically is a brief “burn-in” period and then the network is commissioned. If a site goes down, normally, Contingent is the first to be notified and will have already begun recovery activities to bring the affected site back online.
If correctly installed, networks typically perform the same the minute they are turned on as they do months afterwards, Maney explained. 
“Regardless, every Contingent network and application deployment includes a period of testing time after the deployment is complete to make sure everything is working as intended. This testing time varies, depending on what is being deployed, and is simply a standard part of Contingent’s quality control process and a known part of every deployment project schedule,” he said. “Contingent notifies the client that a network is ‘commissioned’ once Contingent is satisfied that everything is working properly.”      
In September, Contingent completed a national rolloutof integrating HM electronic timing devices for 1,330 Wendy’s corporate restaurants in 43 business days, according to company officials. Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, Inc. is the nation’s third largest quick service restaurant company and is comprised of the Wendy’s and Arby’s brands, according to company officials. The $12 billion company owns or franchises over 10,000 restaurants.

Erin Harrison is a Senior Editor with TMC. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison

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