Kellogg's - Driving Innovation with Software Defined Networking Infrastructure

22 Mar 2015

When you think of breakfast cereal, you most likely think of Kellogg's. With 2014 sales of $14.6 billion and more than 1,600 foods, Kellogg's is the world's leading cereal company; second largest producer of cookies, crackers and savory snacks; and a leading North American frozen foods company in over 180 countries. To help its 30,000 employees communicate and collaborate, Kellogg's is moving to a software defined telecommunications infrastructure which leverages innovative technologies such as SIP. The company is in the process of eliminating legacy phone lines globally and rolling out unified communications infrastructure which will enable cost savings and collaboration improvements for team members. Kellogg's hopes to drive higher efficiency with its telecom spend, in part, through use of innovative technologies such as Sonus SBC's. This includes interoperability with multiple vendors' communication systems, as well as security and integration with the carrier network.

Glenn Allison, Director of Global Networks for Kellogg's noted, "SIP enables cost savings, interoperability with multiple unified communications platforms and an easy migration path to the cloud." He added, "A lot of our focus is driving integration with the infrastructure to leverage cost savings. By eliminating costly traditional phone lines and moving to SIP we are driving much higher efficiency with our telecom spend." In addition to getting more efficient usage of their IT assets, Kellogg's found that the move to UC and SIP helps improve the way team members collaborate.

A key to this strategy is use of Sonus SBCs, which are used to connect Kellogg's internal infrastructure with the carrier network, including AT&T and others. Allison noted several drivers for this approach, including support for multiple carriers, interoperability with multiple telephony platforms, and ease of support. Security was also an important element, as SBCs play a key role in providing secure communications in a SIP environment. Other drivers include ease of support, availability of software updates, and patching.

Kellogg's found significant cost savings by moving to SIP and integrating multiple telephony platforms. According to Allison, Kellogg's "will save over quarter million dollars by converting just one of our corporate offices. As we convert more offices to this technology using Sonus we'll be able to save millions of dollars in telecom costs in the long run." He added, "The Sonus infrastructure lets us connect with SIP service providers like AT&T and integrate with Cisco, Avaya, Lync and other telephony platforms, which drives integration from a call routing perspective."

The move to SIP is helping to simplify management of their telecom infrastructure. Allison notes, "The corporate office that we initially converted to SIP had legacy PRI and POTs lines which we consolidated to the SIP architecture, which greatly simplifies our administration. Ultimately we plan on consolidating our telephony platforms; getting on SIP and using Sonus is a critical step in doing this." He adds, "As we port phone numbers to Sonus, we can easily move between our existing multiple telephony platforms globally," giving Kellogg's more flexibility. There are also security benefits from using the Sonus SBCs, which was definitely a factor when Kellogg's initially made the move to SIP.

Some of the challenges Kellogg's dealt with included "Working through the process with the carriers" and getting the infrastructure ready. You have to bring in the telecom circuit infrastructure, make sure the toll free lines and DID are ready, and you have to do number porting, etc."

When asked about lessons learned, Allison emphasized the importance of doing due diligence upfront to understand your inventory of various components. "It's important to identify upfront the different phone lines, POTs lines, etc. - what do we have, what are we paying for, what is the service used for?" He noted that, "It would have been helpful to understand what the different lines are used for to make the porting process as smooth as possible." For example, a credit card swipe machine in the cafeteria used a dial out phone line, which was accidently ported to SIP, requiring a workaround to move forward with the porting process. There were also fax lines that were included in the conversion process that required workarounds. Allison suggests that companies "Do the inventory as soon as possible and validate every line. Make sure CSR records in the carrier system are accurate and billing to the right account to get a clean porting process. Start that due diligence as soon as possible. You can be saving thousands of dollars a day by moving to SIP so you want to move as quickly as possible and avoid delays in that process. Time is money."

While communication interoperability, flexibility and security may not be what you think of when you reach for a box of Corn Flakes or Rice Krispies, they're certainly top of mind for the company behind your breakfast favorites.

This paper is sponsored by Sonus.