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January 25, 2010

Contingent Hits Home Run for Northwestern, Expecting Big Things

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

AT&T (News - Alert) had a situation:  The company was just picked by Northwestern Mutual, the nation’s largest direct provider of individual life insurance, to be their telecommunications carrier. In order to provide what Northwestern officials characterize as “complimentary and optimal” cost-effective site installation services, AT&T asked Contingent Network Services to help. 
Northwestern Mutual needed Contingent to provide structured distribution and cabling infrastructure services throughout its U.S. footprint for new offices, remodels and upgrades. To do so, Contingent needed to offer flat, national installation rates with flexible project management and field workforces, navigate complex construction processes and schedules and coordinate with various construction trades.
The company also had to install into irregular office environments of different sizes and layouts, meet the ubiquitous myriad union job site requirements and deliver consistent results across geographies, not to mention having standby labor resources able to arrive at any job site in the U.S. in as little as two hours.
As if all that wasn’t enough, the company needed to provide real-time, Web portal-based access to all installation management information and back all workmanship with a lifetime warranty. Piece of cake, right?

To hit the goal on providing the installation services, Contingent used its LANWorX brand. The way it works, AT&T submits the cabling service requests to Contingent via e-mail, with a seven-day window for response. During that time Contingent schedules the field resources, procures the necessary materials, and ships them to the site. 
Northwestern Mutual specified three sizes of “technology rooms” for Contingent to build out: “small,” “large,” and “very large.” To accomplish that Contingent’s project managers work with AT&T’s team and Northwestern Mutual: “All three parties participate in weekly status calls to discuss progress and construction performance for offices currently in the pipeline,” Northwest officials say. 

In addition to LANWorX, Contingent also supports all Northwestern Mutual offices through the NetMedX dispatch services for any emergencies and outages.

For the past three years and change, Contingent has stayed on the job, providing regional cabling infrastructure for AT&T in Northwestern Mutual’s offices under the LANWorX service offering, completing over 500 LANWorX service requests for Northwestern Mutual and installing infrastructure systems in over 300 offices throughout the U.S. 

According to, Ky.-based technology procurement services company Contingent chose for representation, Contingent is “expecting big things in 2010, as many of those scheduled deployments that were pushed back in 2009 have been rescheduled for early 2010.”  Russ Maney (News - Alert), principal and co-founder of Xponential Group, a Louisville
In tough times, Maney explained, the break/fix business increases “as companies concentrate more on maintaining what they have, versus upgrading what they have or buying new technologies altogether. When times improve, companies start upgrading what they have and buying new technologies again.”

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Erin Harrison

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