Harte-Hanks chose CenturyLink to replace their backup provider based on the recommendation of peers.


Business Challenge

Harte-Hanks leverages data networks to support its relationship marketing operations. One line of business, for example, delivers "always-on" inbound call center technical support to the customers of high-profile clients. And the company's service level agreement reflects high expectations. Any service disruption could result in "fines" to be paid to aggrieved clients. To this cost may be added an unacceptable impact to Harte-Hanks reputation.


"We chose CenturyLink to replace our backup provider based on the recommendations of peers I talked to, as well as our own due diligence," said Kathy Gerwin, VP of Information Technology for Harte-Hanks.

Technicians implemented the CenturyLink IQ Networking Private Port service at three data centers along with other key locations in California, Texas, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida and Manila.

"In the event of a failure, our network automatically would fail over to the CenturyLink system," explained Gerwin. "It would fully support our inbound and outbound VoIP communications as well as all of our internal applications hosted at our data centers."

Benefits and Results

"We had to have a reliable backup provider to protect the business revenues dependent upon our network," recalled Gerwin. "And we've gotten that from CenturyLink. Their network has shown considerable stability over the last year and we haven't had any losses due to outages."

Beyond protecting revenues against SLA-fault fines, Harte-Hanks has protected its service reputation in its industry. "The call center spaces highly competitive, so by avoiding outages that drop inbound calls, we're able to protect our brand and reputation," said Gerwin.

In addition to protecting the firm's revenues and reputation, the switch to CenturyLink reduced Gerwin's expenses. "We don't take the decision to switch providers lightly, but the cost savings plus the reliability of the services were enough for us to make that call." At the operational level Gerwin solved a number of challenges by switching to CenturyLink. "They haven't missed a single circuit provisioning deadline to date and that includes the private line to Manila."

Gerwin also credits her CenturyLink account team with better performance than the company they replaced. "I've found the responsiveness of my account team to be extremely good. That includes pricing quotes, repairs, provisioning...anything we ask of them they've shown a responsiveness that is decidedly better than even our primary carrier."

Company Profile

Harte-Hanks is a direct marketing services company offering the widest array of integrated, multichannel, data-driven solutions for top brands around the globe.