Service First

Comms Business Awards 2014 Finalist reseller Koris details a Microsoft Lync deployment they designed, implemented and maintain for Saffron Housing Association across two sites and multiple mobile devices.

Saffron Housing Trust manages over 5,000 homes throughout East Anglia. They expanded their operations to a second office in 2013 which prompted a review of their communications infrastructure. Saffron turned to Hertfordshire based Koris for consultation on and implementation of a new communications platform to cope with their expansion.

Saffron’s existing telephone system was an out-of-date digital platform which could not deliver the functionality and benefits of a cutting edge Unified Communications system.

To meet Saffron Housing Trust’s requirements, Koris proposed a Microsoft Lync 2013 Unified Communications solution.

The need for effective communication between staff across sites was well catered for by the Microsoft Lync 2013 platform. Lync provides traditional PBX voice capabilities whilst integrating a host of new features such as instant messaging, presence indication and video conferencing. In addition to this, effective distribution of calls throughout the organisation and mobile access for remote workers was also catered for by Lync.


Saffron staff and tenants have all noticed improvements delivered via the Lync solution.

Sarah-Louise Forrest, Repairs Team Leader, noticed that there have been far fewer complaints from tenants about call waiting times since deploying Lync. The automated routing and monitoring of calls has reduced waiting times and far fewer calls are now dropped, which translates into quicker response times and better service to Saffron’s tenants.

Christine, who takes calls on reception, cited Presence as a key feature and said “I love Lync. As the first point of contact it has really improved my working life. I can instantly see whether colleagues are available which really helps when re-directing tenants’ calls.”

Koris says that the user features are fully integrated into Saffron’s system running on a variety of devices. This includes a variety of desk-phones including Polycom CX600s which provide on-screen presence status indicators for each user’s contacts. Lync also runs on Saffron’s mobile handsets, and with new multi-device wireless headsets live calls can be switched between devices ensuring ease of use for workers on the move.

“Lync is a key part of the new infrastructure to improve Saffron. Lync gives us much more than a standard telephone system could,” said Stephen Flowitt-Hill, Director, Saffron Housing Trust.

To ensure that Saffron could make the most of their new Microsoft Lync platform, technical IT and end user training was provided.   Saffron were also supplied with a full day of go-live support, with a Koris technician on-site ready to deal with any user queries on the first day of system use.

Alan Roper, IT Manager, Saffron Housing Trust, commented, “The primary factor in choosing Koris was the solution alongside their work ethic and responsive service in pulling together the proposal. Koris’ technical consultants really listened to our needs and got it right first time. When querying other companies’ proposals we found that they had missed vital elements which Koris had identified.”

Rounding off the deployment is a Koris ServiceFirst contract which includes agreed SLAs with a level of support tailored to their own needs. The Koris technical support team work alongside the Saffron IT team over Lync, effectively becoming part of the Saffron technical team.

IT Manager Alan Roper sums up: “Koris’ support has been very good. We haven’t had any major problems but Koris’ consultants are available on Lync for any queries. I highly rate the service and support we receive from Koris. It’s fast, thorough and very professional.”

Lync User Features

Microsoft Lync is a fully modular platform that now provides Saffron with the following capabilities, all accessible from a variety of desktop and mobile devices:

  • Instant Messaging
  • PC to PC Voice and Audio
  • Audio & Video Conferencing
  • Presence Indication
  • Reception Console
  • Automatic Call Distribution
  • Hunt Groups
  • Interactive Voice Response
  • Click to Dial
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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine