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Environmental Resources Management (ERM) is a leading global provider of environmental, health, safety, risk, social consulting, and sustainability related services. More than 5,500 employees in 160 offices and 42 countries and territories serve customers in the technology, telecommunications, power, finance, and other industries.

Challenges

  • Enable consultants to access large files from home or the field
  • Simplify data management
  • Support work from home during the pandemic

Solution

  • Riverbed® Client Accelerator (formerly SteelHead™ Mobile) on employee laptops
  • Riverbed Steelhead CX or SteelHead CX for Virtual in regional offices
  • Existing network—a dynamic multipoint VPN that sends traffic between sites without diverting it through headquarters
  • Apps delivered: Microsoft Office, Adobe applications, AutoCAD, and others

Benefits

  • 137 hours a day saved not waiting for files to open—the equivalent of 17 additional full-time employees every day
  • 50-60% average reduction in file-sharing traffic
  • Smooth transition to work from home during pandemic, with no productivity loss

I can’t overstate the value of Riverbed for collaboration among people working in different locations. By enabling team members to work on a regional file server instead of downloading files to their laptops, we’ve created a single source of truth.

Ian Trueman
IT Operations Director
Environmental Resources Management

Solution: Riverbed Client Accelerator

Today, all ERM employees in a region—in satellite offices, at home, or in the field—can quickly open and save files on a centralized file server. The first phase of the solution, in 2017, was accelerating office-to-office WAN performance by deploying Riverbed SteelHead devices in each office. Immediately, consultants in satellite offices could access files in the main office as if they were local. “Eliminating the need for tape backup in satellite offices reduced individual server costs per office from $10,000 to $3,000,” says Trueman.

The abrupt shift to work-from-home during the COVID-19 pandemic triggered phase two: accelerating last-mile WAN performance to consultants’ homes. Extending the value of the earlier SteelHead investment, ERM installed Riverbed Client Accelerator on employee laptops. “Of the three WAN acceleration solutions we tested, Riverbed delivered the best performance, and it didn’t require any changes to our network,” Trueman says. “When I tested Client Accelerator from home—I have 10Mbps down and 750Kbps up—I was amazed, blown away. Suddenly I could open a large file from home as fast as I could in the office.” File share traffic (CIFS) shrank by 50%-60%.

ERM started with 500 Client Accelerator licenses, soon tripling the count to 1,500 to meet demand. “Once employees experienced the difference with Riverbed Client Accelerator, they didn’t want to work without it,” says Trueman.

Benefits: Centralized data, quickly accessible from anywhere

A 15MB Excel file or 30MB PowerPoint file that previously took minutes to open without Riverbed Client Accelerator now opens in a few seconds. Company-wide, the time savings are massive. If half of ERM’s 5,500 employees open three large files a day and save just one minute each time, ERM gains 137 hours of work time daily, the equivalent of an extra 17 employees year-round. 

More efficient collaboration and a mobilized workforce 

Now that employees can quickly open and save files on the file server, they’re less tempted to download files to their laptops. “I can’t overstate the value of Riverbed for collaboration among people in different locations,” Trueman says. “By enabling team members to work on a regional file server instead of downloading files to their laptops, we’ve created a single source of truth.”

ERM experienced no downtime in the transition to work from home during the pandemic, and no drop in productivity. “With Riverbed Client Accelerator, we’re working as efficiently from home as we did in the office,” says Trueman. “Our clients are impressed.” So is ERM’s executive team, which recognized the IT team for enabling a smooth transition to work from home. “If we in IT increase the time available for client work, we’re heroes,” notes James Adamson, head of IT procurement for ERM. When the pandemic lockdown eases and consultants once again travel to client sites, Client Accelerator will help them remain productive from the field.

Simple IT 

Riverbed Client Accelerator added almost no IT overhead. “We don’t have to keep an eye on Client Accelerator—it just runs,” Trueman says. 

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