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A housing association was undergoing rapid expansion caused by recent and ongoing mergers with other housing associations. The growth in the number of sites, employees and clients made the housing association reassess its voice and data communications infrastructure.
The mergers were resulting in a mix of different systems. Each housing association had its own PABXs and its own wide area network and voice suppliers. The PABXs each had a different set of features, telephone number ranges and management processes.
The housing association realised that it had to simplify and unify its overall communications architecture. This would improve internal communications as well as external communications with its existing and new clients. It also realised it needed a flexible and easily managed solution to meet the challenges of future mergers. At the same time they did not want to make a major new capital investment to resolve these issues.
The housing association needed a partner with the necessary expertise and with a proven, integrated solution that could meet the following objectives:
• Consistent voice and data services to all staff regardless of location
• Ease of management
• Reduction in complexity of infrastructure
• Reduction in overall cost
• Minimum up-front investment
• Call centre capability, initially small but with flexibility to grow
As a result, the housing association sent a Request For Proposal out to the marketplace, including the incumbent voice supplier. It wanted a strategic, scalable, converged solution, including a call centre. It also wanted any solution to incorporate strong management capabilities, so the infrastructure could be centrally managed and administered. A key requirement was simplification of administration, both for users and its system administrators. The housing association was not only concerned about reducing telephone bills, it also wanted to improve the efficiency of its staff.
As part of the RFP process, the housing association considered three main options:
• Take the traditional approach and upgrade its PABXs (proposed by its current supplier)
• Adopt a simple Internet voice service
• Introduce a consistent network that incorporated a managed virtual IP telephony solution.
The PABX option was rejected because of initial investment and ongoing expense, as well as weak management capabilities. Simple Internet voice was dismissed because the complexity of use and lack of security for the many diverse users and because of the variable quality of voice calls. The housing association opted for virtual telephony to benefit from the simplicity of a centrally managed service provided on a resilient converged network, which had been proposed by an alwaysON reseller. The customer also made a cost comparison of the options, in which virtual IP telephony was found to offer the lowest overall cost.
Our reseller was able to offer a total solution for voice and data based on a common platform, whilst providing the benefits of the economies of scale of a service provider to the housing association. Virtual IP telephony made good commercial sense; it stabilised the communications costs allowing them to be more easily planned and managed and avoided large up front capital expenditures.
The housing association was assured that identical IP phone feature sets can be simply and quickly configured centrally for any users. They also adopted a single number range for over 500 extensions across all its sites. Through eliminating PSTN and ISDN30 lines and replacing them with a converged voice and data network, costs associated with trunk lines were reduced.
By dealing with a single service provider for voice and data, the housing association has a one-stop shop for all its communications needs. Since this decision, the housing association has simplified its telecommunications services. It has made significant savings related to its operational expenditures and a 30% reduction in call costs. With the freedom and flexibility inherent in the virtual telephony solution, the housing association has seen improvements in employee productivity and has benefited from the consistency which its users now see.
The customer is pleased with its virtual IP telephony solution, while our reseller has locked in a stable recurring revenue stream, enabling it to plan its own growth with confidence.
Today, virtual IP telephony is a proven solution for all sizes of business. As more businesses embrace the advantages of virtual telephony, resellers are discovering the benefits of recurring revenue streams and the lifetime value of delivering the full range of customer communications.