Aruba Cloud-Ready Workplace Empowers LendingTree 

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LendingTree’s mission centers around empowering individuals to finance life’s essential aspects, such as cars, homes, and businesses. The process is straightforward: LendingTree customers complete a single form to receive their best loan offers, credit card options, insurance plans, and various financial services. Through a vast network of over 600 partners, LendingTree has assisted over 120 million customers in securing over $260 billion in loans, credit repair, and debt relief services. But a Cloud-Ready workplace was the need of the hour.

Paul Jenkins, Senior Director of Operations at LendingTree, elaborates on their mission: “As the leading online financial marketplace in the nation, our aim is to simplify financial decisions for significant life events through choices, education, and support.”

LendingTree, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, maintains offices in 12 cities across the United States and one international location. The company continually enhances its platform, combining organic growth and mergers and acquisitions to serve more than 10,000 customers daily.

A Digital-First Cloud-Ready Workplace Supporting Diverse Workstyles

In line with their corporate culture, emphasizing collaboration, fun, wellness, innovation, and diversity, LendingTree embarked on a project to create a distinctive 176,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in Charlotte’s vibrant South End.

Robin Bellefuil, Vice President of Real Estate and Workplace Solutions at LendingTree, explains their vision: “We envisioned a facility with a warm, residential atmosphere that accommodates various workstyles. We aimed for an iconic space that encourages employees to move around, fostering both collaborative and independent work.”

The result is a state-of-the-art, award-winning 11-story headquarters, featuring open spaces designed to maximize natural light and provide comfortable furnishings that create a homely atmosphere. The building incorporates modernized signage, smart meeting rooms, and IoT-enabled amenities.

Additionally, LendingTree introduced unconventional spaces not typically found in corporate environments, including a library, music room, game rooms, yoga studio, social centers, outdoor patios, and bar areas, encouraging employee socialization after work hours.

AI-Powered Cloud-Ready Workplace Networking Infrastructure

To support a collaborative and seamless workplace, LendingTree prioritized high-performance Wi-Fi and a robust wired network. They sought a cloud-enabled networking solution to ensure future branch deployments were swift and efficient.

LendingTree partnered with e+ Partners, a trusted advisor and implementation provider, to identify the essential features required for modern infrastructure. Brannen Taylor, Network Manager at LendingTree, notes, “We needed wired and wireless networks that performed equally well in our video-intensive environment, with intelligent features that provided proactive issue alerts.”

Given their commitment to safeguarding customer data, robust network security was paramount. After careful evaluation, LendingTree chose HPE Aruba Networking’s ESP solution for its security, resilience, and seamless user experience.

Aruba Network Delivering On Promises

Following the completion of their new headquarters and the return of employees post-pandemic, LendingTree’s infrastructure began fulfilling its promises. Paul Jenkins remarks, “Our Aruba Wi-Fi 6 offers flexibility for working in any space, enhancing productivity and allowing employees to enjoy their workday.”

LendingTree has also reaped the benefits of its wired networking enhancements. Taylor explains, “Aruba CX Switching, with Smart Rate, delivers substantial bandwidth to our users, efficiently increasing capacity through simple upgrades, eliminating the need for complex and expensive refreshes.”

The CX Switching line’s redundancy and intelligence features have improved business resilience, ensuring continuous network access and application availability. NetEdit automates network switch configuration, monitoring, and troubleshooting, further enhancing network uptime.

AIOps for Proactive Management

Key technologies include HPE Aruba Networking Central for AI-powered, cloud-ready workplace network management, and ClearPass for policy-based network access control, zero trust, and secure access service edge (SASE) cybersecurity. These solutions, accessible through a single, intuitive dashboard, unify wired, wireless, and branch networks.

Central’s AIOps capabilities enable proactive network management, empowering LendingTree to optimize network capabilities while minimizing costs.

Streamlined Branch Deployments

LendingTree utilizes Aruba Central to expedite branch office deployments, reducing travel and overhead expenses. Taylor explains, “With Aruba Central, we can modernize our branch offices remotely, eliminating the need for travel. Local partners install hardware, and Aruba Central completes the setup.”

Enhancing Security and Visitor Access

LendingTree values the seamless integration of wired and wireless solutions within HPE Aruba Networking’s partnership network. Integrations with Palo Alto Networks for Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) enhance security. Open API interfaces facilitate customizations, adding flexibility to network authentication.

Additionally, by implementing Envoy alongside ClearPass, LendingTree ensures secure guest Wi-Fi access. Visitors can access internal resources securely, and their devices are recognized during subsequent visits, streamlining interactions with internal employees.

Empowering Platform Developers

LendingTree’s new infrastructure simplifies user experience testing for platform developers. ClearPass enables company-provided devices to mimic external customer usage, crucial for testing products from the user’s perspective.

M&A Growth and Innovation

LendingTree plans to continue innovating its spaces as it expands its financial product offerings. This includes integrating additional building automation systems to connect more IoT devices to its ESP network. Taylor emphasizes the flexibility of their Aruba network in accommodating acquisitions, ensuring uniformity, compliance, and rapid integration of acquired organizations.

Empowering Transformative Experiences

LendingTree now delivers transformative employee experiences by enabling diverse workstyles. Networking technology plays a pivotal role, allowing employees to seamlessly switch between tasks, whether in a smart meeting room, on an outdoor terrace, or visiting the onsite healthcare clinic.

Paul Jenkins concludes, “With Aruba ESP, most people at LendingTree don’t even think about our network anymore. It’s like a utility—it just works.”

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