The Alzheimer’s Society, the UK’s leading care and research charity for people with dementia, their families and carers, is trialling Unified Communications technology provided by NEC Philips Unified Solutions. The solution, which incorporates Microsoft’s Office Communications Server (OCS) and Live Meeting, as well as NEC Philips’ IP telephony and Contact Centre technology, will help the Alzheimer’s Society to streamline business processes by improving the reachability and presence information of staff. This information is invaluable in helping to route the large number of in-bound telephone calls around the organisation to the appropriate person.
The Alzheimer’s Society outsources its IT functions to CharITyShare, which also works with NSPCC and the Children’s Society. The Alzheimer’s Society has taken the lead in the Charity sector in trialling Unified Communications in its new head office in London and upon successful completion of the trial, it plans to roll out UC across its 250 branches and up to 1400 staff nationwide..
Commenting on the Society’s investment in Unified Communications (UC), Phil Shoesmith, Head of IT says, “We expect to reap numerous benefits from UC. Improved staff connectivity and enhanced presence information will have a very positive impact on business productivity and efficiency. Given that we have more than 200 members of staff in our head office and numerous regional sites, the ability to find out at a glance which member of staff is available to take a call is invaluable in speeding up the decision making process and handling calls.”
By incorporating Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Alzheimer’s also plan to revolutionise their training sessions by running live broadcasts for delegates to attend remotely. Live Meeting provides a collaborative environment for making presentations, sharing files and even desktops, enabling real-time interaction between participants regardless of location. Attendees can also sketch on a virtual whiteboard, and when the meeting is over, Office Live Meeting archives a complete recording of the session. Phil Shoesmith says, “At present we are spending a great deal of time and money on travelling for meetings and training sessions and cutting out unnecessary business travel will not only save time and reduce spend but also generate environmental benefits.”
In addition to the benefits of Microsoft technology, Alzheimer’s Society will be able to realise significant cost savings as a result of moving to an IP-based communications infrastructure and this will allow the charity to invest more money in core services.
Phil Shoesmith explains, “The migration to IP communications across the network will reduce the amount of money the Alzheimer’s Society needs to spend on line rental and reduce call costs because all internal calls will be free of charge.”
NEC Philips is also enhancing Alzheimer’s existing call centre application to help deal with inbound calls relating to membership and donations as well as advice requests. The new NEC Philips call centre application provides management statistics which will enable the Alzheimer’s Society to allocate the adequate resources required to deal with the service levels demanded. The IP/UC infrastructure will enable it to take and handle calls at peak times even from remote locations.
Phil Shoesmith concludes, “We have an excellent working relationship with NEC Philips. I have been very impressed by the team’s understanding of our core business requirements, their creativity in designing a solution to meet out needs, their flexibility and their project management skills to deploy a solution.”
The Alzheimer’s Society has over 25,000 members and operates through a partnership between over 250 branches and support groups and the national organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The charity estimates that there are currently over 700,000 people in the UK with dementia.