Fortinet FortiWLM Review

Enables us to provide innovative, secure wireless business solutions to our customers

What is our primary use case?

We are an internet and telecom service provider, so we are not the final customer. We provide secure wireless LAN solutions to our customers, and for internal services as well.

How has it helped my organization?

We show how we can bring many positive results to different businesses.

We merge with the customers' bring-your-own-device solutions. It's easy to manage the WiFi, the customer does not need to buy more equipment, like tablets, for their employees. They can reuse equipment. And employees are definitely comfortable using their own devices and, from the IT and security perspectives, we are bringing security to these employees, with our solution. We innovate the business process. We innovate how employees work in their companies.

Also, in the case of stores, we are bringing new results and new income. We help them to grow their sales. Their customers like to go to their stores because they can access the information they need. They can connect to the wireless LAN, they can compare prices. We are making the business process faster and more secure, and customers like that. They can engage with the retail store.

Using this technology, the stores' loyalty programs are growing because, when customers go into the stores, they can connect with the loyalty programs to receive discounts and special items. This makes their customers more loyal to the stores, who are our customers.

We have some international retail customers, such as H&M, from Sweden, and another one from the U.S. and, in both cases, monthly sales have increased about ten to 15 percent. In these cases, income was one of the benefits that they received in the quarter after we installed the solution. The results were very quick.

In addition, we make the business process, the internal process of distribution and logistics, more efficient and connected. We're reporting, online, how they are distributing all the items to the different stores. And the inventory is connected to the wireless LAN solutions, so they know, online and in a centralized way, what the inventory levels are in the different stores.

What is most valuable?

Security is the feature we like most from Fortinet. In general, their security architecture is really great, because it involves everything: firewalls, wireless LANs, the user. Everything is really secure. That's a great feature from Fortinet. It's very valuable.

What needs improvement?

Sometimes we feel that we are buying the top-of-the-line technology and, six months or eight months later, we feel it is already obsolete. New smartphones bring new technology, new ways to connect. Sometimes we have this bad feeling that, even though we are investing tons of money, technology is moving faster than us. So even with this huge amount of investment, one year later we are totally obsolete compared with the new technology.

They need to make it move faster. They need to make it easier to configure, easier to monitor, easier to report.

We have great tech support from Fortinet, here in Mexico. But if we have a big issue, like a big bug, and they need to produce new versions of the software in their R&D departments, this is the slowest part.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. In the last 16 to 18 months, there have been no big issues related to the solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is really scalable. That is one of the decisive, key points we consider in all our projects. In the case of Fortinet Wireless, it is really scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

We get good response from the tech guys at Fortinet. Our experience with them is absolutely positive.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used to have some HPE equipment. We switched from those old access points. We use Fortinet as a preferred vendor, but if a customer wants or needs to use equipment from other vendors, we sell equipment from other vendors.

How was the initial setup?

Setting up the solution is really straightforward. The amount of time it takes depends on the customer. If it's a really big customer, the implementation process could take from three months to almost ten months. Once you have all the plans and you start installing, it's really straightforward and it can move fast.

For Mexico, a big customer is the one that has more than 200 retail stores. They are not as big as in the U.S. or in other countries, but for Mexico, a retail store that has 250 stores is a huge company.

The deployment strategy depends on the project manager and his staff. Because we are telecom service providers, we usually start with all the internet connections, and voice and data connection, using fibre. Once we have all that in place, we start building the local area networks.

In terms of deployment and maintenance, on average, I would estimate it's about eight to ten percent of the investment. It depends on the customer and the approach we have with the customer. We usually have two or three engineers, per customer, giving support. But that's not just for the wireless, that's also for the networking. For a huge retail company, we may have between five and ten certified engineers working on daily support for the customer.

What was our ROI?

ROI depends on the customer but it could be from six months to 12 months, on average. It's a good return on investment. More sales. More savings. It reduces the TCO, but I don't have the numbers. It could be a reduction of, maybe, 15 percent, compared to other solutions.

What other advice do I have?

It's definitely a great solution.

Negotiate with the vendor to activate the licenses at the moment that they install and configure the equipment. If you initially have a big project with a lot of equipment, and you have a six-month plan, licensing will start before you are using all the equipment, and that doesn't make sense.

In terms of how extensively it's being used and whether its usage will grow, it's really organic. People are using the internet and using all kinds of applications on a daily basis. It's growing, more people are connected every day. Usage is changing dramatically, exponentially, really. As more people use the internet and applications on a daily basis, our customers are required to increase services and, obviously, in a secure way.

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller/integrator.
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