April 26, 2007

STS ups the SLFS Ante

Fresh Hotspots in Town

Sun Life Financial Stores (SLFS) will soon slip into the wireless world of  WIFI. Thanks to the hardwork of  STS or Shared Technology Services of Central Systems Asia.
WiFi, is the popular term for a high-frequency wireless local area network. A user with a Wi-Fi enabled device (read: computer, mobile phone or PDA) can connect to the internet anywhere near an accesspoint. This way, there is no need to poke holes in walls or trip over bulky Ethernet cables.
When these hotspots go live next month,  the spanking new Sun Life Financial Stores can  certainly  lay claim to its acronym's alter ego:Sleek, Lively, Friendly --- and now really, really  Sophisticated.
As such, VIP clients with wifi-ready notebooks on hand  can easily surf the net and  the Sun Life portal within the vicinity of  any SLFS.

“With this value-added service, our Sun Life Financial Stores will now be seen as  customer centers  that upped the ante in customer service," declares IT Director Nilo Zantua who headed the team that put together the complex project. Other key members included Network Manager Roy Tyapon and Network Specialists Cocoy Fernandez and JV Cruz (see picture below).


STS Team group photo

The STS Team (L-R) : Technical Analyst I JV Cruz, IT Director Nilo Zantua, Network Manager Roy Tyapon and Technical Analyst II Cocoy Fernandez

 WIFI will initially be available in 3 SLFS namely:



Wireless Access

Staff Assigned

Quezon City Customer Center Ground Floor - VIP Area Myke Sobrevinas
Lepanto Financial Center Ground Floor - VIP Area Onic Diaz
Greenhills Financial Center Ground Floor Tess Barruga

Update Extends to Branch Office Network Infrastructure

Mind you, the network makeover doesn't only cover the Customer Center area. For what's the value of being hi-tech when its beauty cannot be felt from within?
“We can't be left behind.  We need an IT infrastructure that is up-to-date and user-centric," explains Nilo.

"For the past decade, SLF was using a combination of leased lines, frame relay,  circuits and  network equipment to support the branch office network. Combined, their  max speed was 2 mbps which, sad to say, was no longer enough for our kind of  user applications these days, ” Nilo added.
"Our  10-year old routers had seen better days. In fact, we already received notice from our vendors that they would not be able to provide support if  the machine bogged down. There's really no other way to go but  to upgrade, ” IT Manager Roy Tyapon explained.
Unless the bandwidth for the branches were upgraded to higher speed, running customer service-related applications such as  IPAC, Ingenium and App Entry  might encounter some difficuties or worse, get jammed.

Thus was born  MPLS.  Multi Protocol Label Switching technology erased all the speed and network connectivity problems posed by the old network setup. Now users from the branch can feel the difference, in speed, in access quality, in data reliability. The LONG wait is over, to use a cliche,  in each transaction.

Side by side with the roll out of the twin-technology-- WIFI AND MPLS -- was a series of  orientations conducted by JV Cruz and Cocoy Fernandez to get users familiar with the intricacies of  the new tools.

"Luckily, the staff in the customer centers easily warmed up to the idea of  the big switch to MPLS. They immediately adapted to them  and we hope users of WIFI will be as enthusiastic," quips JV.

So, the next time you drop by the neighborhood of any of the three Sun Life Financial Stores, bear in mind, that deep inside, behind the bigger-than-life murals pasted on the walls, are state-of-the-art service technologies all in the name of  SERVICE EXCELLENCE.

After all, SLFS are supposed to showcase the future trend in customer care in financial services.All these, once again, could only come from a true innovator: Sun Life Financial.