Holland America’s New Fax Technology Helps Prepare for Smooth Sailing

Holland America Line's award-winning five-star fleet of eight luxury cruise shipsoffers premium cruises to 253 destinations worldwide, including Alaska, the Caribbean,Panama Canal, Hawaii, Mexico, Eastern Canada, New England, Europe, South America and itsGrand World Voyage.

Holland America Line has won the "Best Value in Cruising" award from theWorld Ocean and Cruise Liner Society for the last seven years. Holland America also is thesecond highest rated line in the world in the large-ship cruise line category in the 1998Conde Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Awards.

The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and employs approximately 3,600people at its land-based offices.

The Problem

Holland America has carried more than seven million passengers across the oceans sinceits founding in 1873. Today, Holland America is considered one of the world's premiercruise lines, as evidenced not only by its continuous recognition in a very competitiveindustry, but also by its own customers -- travelers and travel agents.

For passengers, a cruise represents a time for much-needed R&R; for HollandAmerica, however, the story is very different. The success of each cruise is dependentupon a flurry of behind-the-scenes activity-bookings, changes to bookings, air deviations,invoicing and more.

To handle this high-volume, continuous and critical communication, Holland America usesfax technology; in fact, the company sends out nearly 10,000 faxes every day. And, becauseHolland America is dedicated to providing only the highest quality services, theorganization determined it would entrust its vital fax communication only to a companythat could deliver an equally high-quality product in return.

The Solution

Holland America selected CommercePath as its fax solutions provider. CommercePath is aline of scalable, operating system-independent production fax servers and modules thatprovide simultaneous high-volume fax services to mainframe, midrange and LAN applications,EDI translators and e-mail. CommercePath uses a virtual server environment and distributedcomputing capabilities to spread high-volume processing activities across multipleservers.

Holland America currently uses the HostFax and NetLink modules. Commerce Path serves asa production fax interface to Holland America's IBM mainframe system. The company uses twoUNIX-based CommercePath servers with 12 phone lines each to receive faxes from themainframes via TCP/IP. "These

CommercePath servers are typically workhorses," says Peter Searls, SeniorProgrammer Analyst at Holland America. "We keep them running 24 x 7 and they rarelygo down."

According to Searls, Holland America recently evaluated CommercePath's Windows NT-basedservers and anticipates upgrading to those servers soon. According to Searls, the NTservers offer the same reliable

functionality as the UNIX-based units but feature a browser-based interface."Using the new Windows interface for CommercePath to modify server settings issimple. And the browser technology makes it very easy to access faxes for resending,"says Searls.

While CommercePath products in general provide a high level of flexibility, the WindowsNT CommercePath servers are extremely versatile. "The Windows NT-based CommercePathservers have the capability to send a fax simultaneously via e-mail as well as via modem,which represents a significant time savings, considering the number of faxes we generateeach day," he says.

Searls says Holland America will also be able to do load balancing with the Windows NTCommercePath servers. "One server will act as a repository for faxes and then willdistribute those faxes out over the rest

of the servers," he says. "That will prevent us from seeing any faxes backingup in the queue. Instead, each fax will go out as quickly as it arrived."

Holland America uses the CommercePath NetLink module for outbound fax delivery andmanagement from Windows applications at the desktop. NetLink puts all the benefits of acomplete enterprisewide fax solution on a PC, allowing Holland America to save time andmoney while improving efficiency. Holland America uses NetLink on three workstations tosend faxes from the company's PC network via TCP/IP to their CommercePath servers.

Holland America uses both NetLink and NetLink Pro. "We use both modules to sendout an average of 225 faxes -- primarily air deviations -- each day from PCs," Searlssays. "The NetLink module allows us to enter address information directly into theQuick Addresses window. The NetLink Pro module allows us to use a program to fill in thatinformation, which improves speed and accuracy." NetLink supports public and privateaddress books, schedulable delivery and broadcast fax in a convenient, easy-to-use format.

According to Searls, before the company went with NetLink, it had been using an olderfax application from a competitor. However, Searls says, "It had a lot ofproblems." It also wasn't Y2K-compliant and wouldn't integrate with the CommercePathserver. Holland America didn't have to look far for a solution; CommercePath's NetLinkprovided everything they were looking for. "We've been very pleased with NetLink'sperformance," says Searls. "It has been problem-free since itsinstallation."

Searls adds that as good as CommercePath products are, product quality alone is not theonly reason Holland America stays with the company. "CommercePath's technical supportis superior," Searls says. "I can't say enough about them. CommercePath supporttechnicians are very responsive and diligent. In addition, their support staff has lowturnover, which has enabled us to develop a very effective working relationship."CommercePath's service, along with their hardware and software, make for atop-of-the-line fax solution," he concludes.