Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company (NYSE: HPE), today announced that LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE), the nation’s leading online marketplace that connects consumers with a range of financial services, has standardized on Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform) in its new Charlotte, North Carolina headquarters and across its branch offices, to enable a mobile-first work environment and elevated user experiences for its employees.
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A rendering of LendingTree’s new Charlotte, NC headquarters, featuring a modern, mobile-first work environment powered by Aruba ESP. Photo: LendingTree
LendingTree empowers consumers to shop for financial services like mortgage loans, re-finances, auto, business and personal loans, and more, the same way they would shop for airline tickets or hotel stays, comparing multiple offers from a nationwide network of over 500 partners in one simple search. LendingTree’s vision is to provide its employees with an elevated workplace experience that allows for flexibility, collaboration, and mobility.
According to Brannen Taylor, Network Manager for LendingTree, a networking solution that could match these core organizational values was a primary goal.
“At LendingTree, we’re encouraged to deliver truly outstanding products, so we need to be certain our work environment and technology infrastructure enables and reflects those values,” Taylor said. “The ability to deliver a seamless and consistent user experience across all locations was a key requirement.”
Working with e+ Partners, LendingTree decided to standardize on Aruba across the organization. The company is deploying an Aruba ESP-based network including 200+ Wi-Fi 6 Access Points (APs), Aruba CX Series switches, Aruba Central, and ClearPass, in its new six-floor headquarters.
Slated to open in January 2021, LendingTree’s new headquarters will be a state-of-the-art facility with modernized signage, integrated mobile-first capabilities, and open, flowing space including mixed use areas not commonly found in the corporate environment such as a library, music room, game rooms, patios, and bar areas where employees can socialize after hours. The mobile-first workplace will allow employees to use their smartphones, laptops, and other devices to connect securely and reliably from any location in the building and in outdoor spaces like the building’s private veranda. It will also allow employees to collaborate via any of the wide variety of UC apps in use at LendingTree or those used by partners and customers including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and AWS’ Chime.
An important part of LendingTree’s vision is the ability to securely connect associates, guests and customers to the network. To accomplish this, the organization is relying on Aruba ClearPass to provide visibility into who is connecting to the network, and to manage and control the appropriate levels of access each user receives.
Mike Musselwhite, CISM, CISSP and Senior Network Engineer for LendingTree, noted, “It’s important for us to be as flexible as possible, ensuring that everyone who comes into our offices can leverage the technology we have, but in a secure way that maximizes control. ClearPass makes it easy for us to do so, and its built-in integration with Palo Alto Networks is a bonus. Essentially, ClearPass allows our small Network Operations team to be more efficient.”
Aruba Central was also a key factor in LendingTree’s decision to standardize on Aruba. Central enabled fast and easy deployment, configuration, and management of the network infrastructure, eliminating the company’s previous time-consuming and resource-constraining efforts.
Said Taylor, “Last year, our team traveled the country to refresh all of our networking closets. With Aruba Central, we trained three team members who then rolled out configurations quickly and securely without having to leave their location. Central allows us to maximize network capabilities while minimizing costs to the business.”
Both Taylor and Musselwhite have been impressed with the “flawless performance” of the Aruba wireless, the robustness of the CX Series switching platform, and the capabilities afforded by NetEdit, Aruba’s switch configuration software, which allows the IT team to drive more consistency across their configurations, reduce human error, and proactively address any network issues that arise.
The Aruba ESP network will be a critical foundation for LendingTree’s growth. The company’s aggressive acquisition strategy means that onboarding and integrating newly acquired organizations quickly and uniformly is essential. Taylor remarked that the Aruba network will allow LendingTree to be flexible, maintaining their acquired companies’ policies and procedures, while integrating and ensuring compliance with corporate processes.
LendingTree’s future plans include more integration with the company’s building maintenance team, connecting more IoT devices to the network such as door locks and door strikes, and leveraging some of the AIOps capabilities within Central to gain greater insight into the network, integrate more applications, and streamline operations.
Said Taylor, “While standardizing on Aruba has answered our immediate needs, we’re also excited about the capabilities we have yet to leverage that will help us move our business confidently into the future.”
About Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is the global leader in secure, intelligent edge-to-cloud networking solutions that use AI to automate the network, while harnessing data to drive powerful business outcomes. With Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform) and as-a-service options, Aruba takes a cloud-native approach to helping customers meet their connectivity, security, and financial requirements across campus, branch, data center, and remote worker environments, covering all aspects of wired, wireless LAN, and wide area networking (WAN).
To learn more, visit Aruba at www.arubanetworks.com. For real-time news updates, follow Aruba on Twitter and Facebook, and for the latest technical discussions on mobility and Aruba products, visit the Airheads Community at community.arubanetworks.com.