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Case Study: Xceleration Discovers Rewards of the Cloud

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Xceleration is an industry-leading provider of incentive and recognition solutions for corporations looking to drive the performance of its employees, dealers or customers. Its diverse client base of public and private companies rely on its creativity, proprietary RewardStation® technology, global award fulfillment and professional account management to achieve results that positively impact performance.

The Challenge

Advertisers have long known that the best way to attract new customers is to offer something irresistible. It turns out that this strategy motivates employees to make transformative changes, as well. Just ask Xceleration, the incentive company that organizations around the world turn to when they want to enrich employee performance and customer loyalty.

For example, one of Xceleration’s most successful programs helps companies reward their employees for positive interactions with customers. To track these important encounters – and net new “points” to earn all sorts of rewards — employees simply log onto Xceleration’s secure, online RewardStation® Marketing site. Initial rewards might be used for a gift certificate to a favorite store or restaurant, and points accrue over time for even more enticing rewards such as trips to luxury resorts. The program is designed to continuously woo employees with bigger and better incentives – and companies almost always see a marked upswing in customer satisfaction and repeat business.

So what challenges could possibly emerge in such a positive scenario? For one, the program’s popularity with employees often tested the limits of Xceleration’s online capacity. With each new program launch, Xceleration’s RewardStation site would experience an enormous surge in traffic before eventually contracting back to normal levels. Xceleration dealt with these major fluctuations using a combination of expensive, in-house servers, and outsourcing some of its capacity needs to a data hosting provider. This was a costly model to assure capacity would be there when needed.

What’s more, the data hosting provider did not offer the level of security that Xceleration required to attract customers with rigorous SLA requirements for online sites that collect proprietary company and customer data. Xceleration’s IT department spent a good deal of its time managing these security needs, which took precious hours away from developing ever more innovative incentive programs. Xceleration clearly needed a different online infrastructure that could flexibly adapt to traffic capacity changes and meet the strictest security requirements, preferably without incurring costly operational expenses that would eat into new profits.

The Peak 10 Solution

First, Xceleration decided to move its additional capacity servers to a different provider, this time opting for a company with a reputation for much more than just data hosting. It chose Peak 10.

Joe Miller, director of technical solutions at Xceleration, immediately noticed a substantial difference between Peak 10 and Xceleration’s prior data hosting vendor. “With our former provider, it always felt like we were company X, Y, or Z. Maybe we were just too small for them. At any rate, the experience with Peak 10 was – and still is – completely the opposite. We now have a partner that collaborates with us at every stage of decision-making,” said Miller.

One of the first decisions was to try out Peak 10’s intrusion detection managed service, which Peak 10 precisely tailored to Xceleration’s client SLAs. “This approach helped us evaluate Peak 10’s managed security services without giving up the remaining value that we had invested in our own physical servers. It was successful on both counts,” observed Miller.

At this point, Xceleration was ready to cross off the next item on its list: costeffective traffic capacity. Members of the Xceleration team attended a Peak 10 Engineering Series on shared and dedicated enterprise cloud environments, and were intrigued by Peak 10’s description of the benefits of cloud versus traditional in-house data management. Xceleration decided to try the shared cloud option first, and soon experienced firsthand Peak 10’s reputation for agile and affordable scalability.

“We alerted Peak 10 of a new program launch that would likely attract thousands of simultaneous new visitors to our website. Peak 10 told us no problem; they would double our CPU and memory as soon as we needed it. And they did just that, without a hitch or a complicated workaround,” said Miller. “We could not have done that on our own unless we bought more servers.”

We’ve definitely won new accounts because of Peak 10’s expertise in meeting even the most stringent data security requirements,” said Miller. “And our programs run so much more smoothly with Peak 10’s quickly expandable capacity, we’re able to launch more of them on a faster timetable.”

The Results

Xceleration has experienced so much new growth, in fact, that the company will soon be moving into Peak 10’s private cloud environment to utilize even more capacity. At the same time, Xceleration will hand over additional managed services to Peak 10, from system monitoring and problem resolution to disaster recovery. Xceleration’s in-house professionals can continue their focus on developing new, innovative ideas.

And the Xceleration team will certainly make the most of this newly-reclaimed time. As Joe Miller noted, the incentive company has experienced exponential growth in the last year, much of it due to being able to prove to new customers that Xceleration’s Peak 10 cloud infrastructure is highly secure and can swiftly accommodate new traffic surges at a moment’s notice.

“Peak 10 is a vital partner that makes so much of what we do at Xceleration possible,” concluded Miller. “I definitely recommend this company to my peers who are considering a leap to the cloud. Peak 10 cut through all the marketing clutter about cloud technology and showed us what it can really deliver.”

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About Peak 10

"Our values are the foundation for everything we do at Peak 10, and are ultimately what enable us to earn our customers' business and their trust."
David H. Jones,
Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest