Like many highly distributed businesses, CEFCO Convenience Stores realized that its long-term growth depended on delivering a consistently positive customer experience across its network of 225 stores in the Southeastern U.S. The company also knew it could achieve that goal only by embracing innovative new technologies.
Even with a clear strategic vision in place, CEFCO faced a common dilemma: How to innovate with a relatively limited budget, small corporate IT staff, and no in-store IT personnel. To overcome these challenges, the company turned to a network based on the Cybera Network Managed Services Platform.
The High Cost Of Network Complexity
As a convenience store and petroleum provider, CEFCO sells high-quality fuel products from leading brands—such as Shell, ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, Valero, and CEFCO-branded—at its own CEFCO chain of stores and through independent dealers. To keep its operations running smoothly, CEFCO had been searching for ways to streamline its business processes, increase customer engagement, and ensure consistent security compliance across its distributed enterprise.
Although each store featured its own unique mix of technology, most locations were using SonicWall WAN appliances—and the resulting network complexity was starting to create significant challenges:
- Deploying a new application across all locations typically meant installing an in-store device—a cumbersome process that often took months.
- Each new device added to the network complexity while creating potential points for security breaches or failures.
- The existing WAN appliances lacked the required levels of security, sustainability, and scalability—and failed to provide 4G wireless backup in the event of a network outage.
As a result, the rising costs and management workload were severely inhibiting both innovation and business growth. According to H. Lorne Brockway, CIO at CEFCO, “With a small IT staff to manage hundreds of devices at all our locations, we spent most of our time just trying to keep the business running. Instead, we wanted to focus on moving the business forward.”
A Smarter Approach To Networking
The CEFCO IT team knew a traditional networking approach wouldn’t help the company evolve to a software-driven cloud business model built for the Internet of Things (IoT). After reviewing its options, the team selected the Cybera Network Managed Services Platform to provide greater agility and consistency across the entire application ecosystem.
Cybera fundamentally changes the way distributed businesses like CEFCO deploy, secure, and optimize the latest applications and technologies. That’s because Cybera-based networks, including software-defined WANs (SD-WANs), are designed to meet application requirements rather than merely connect sites or devices.
Each application gets its own secure network—and each is optimized and prioritized based on its performance and security needs. This modern, software-based networking approach greatly reduces the cost and disruption of delivering new applications and services across widely distributed enterprises.
A Greater Focus On The Business
Since deploying the Cybera Network Managed Services Platform, CEFCO has seen a wide variety of business benefits:
- A simplified, managed networking solution: By consolidating multiple network services into a plug and play device at each store, CEFCO has greatly reduced device sprawl and management complexity.
- Faster application deployment: Simple, cloud-based application deployment also enables uniform, automated network security and performance policies for a PCI-compliant network.
- Increased uptime: 4G wireless backup provides continuous payment and application processing, even in the event of network outages.
Deploying new customer-facing and back office applications via the cloud has been much faster and more effective compared to all the time and money previously spent for on-site tech visits. Brockway notes, “We rolled out a gift card processing application to all 225 stores in a matter of days using Cybera.”
Moreover, Brockway estimates the Cybera Network Managed Services Platform has freed up nearly all of one IT person’s time, which is now spent identifying strategic opportunities to advance the business. Altogether, the solution has saved the company time and money while increasing network availability, which translates into better customer service.
Brockway especially appreciates the way Cybera overcame some difficult network routing challenges to help CEFCO achieve its business objectives. He concludes, “We have been able to worry less about how secure our stores’ network is and instead focus on making the business better. It’s great to have someone handling our network services for us."
“Cybera worked through some very tricky network routing to accomplish the desired results. It’s great to have someone handling our network services for us."
- H. Lorne Brockway, CIO at CEFCO