In this technology charged economy, it’s important for small organizations that want to scale their businesses to implement technology services and resources that will help them grow. Implementing hosted technologies, like VoIP and other hosted unified communications solutions, helps streamline a business to become faster and more efficient for both customers and employees.
The Montage Companies is an international group of education, technology and diversity consulting entities serving education, corporate and government clients. Their four sub divisions include Montage Diversity (diversity consulting, training, and staffing), Montage Education (educational services), Montage Technology (web design, software training, telecommunications and IT procurement/network services), and Montage Jamaica (a social entrepreneurship venture created to enhance education and technology resources on the Island of Jamaica).
It started out as a small, agile company that moved around a lot and needed a solution that would make the company appear larger. That required the flexibility of a phone system that would allow employees to represent themselves as if they were calling from the home office and not an off-site location. Most importantly, the company needed a cost-efficient solution that would not incur large expenses.
Enter Alteva’s hosted VoIP. The solution allows Montage’s employees to telecommute seamlessly and keep business running as usual without incurring extra costs – either by working from home or an off-site location – as long as they have a laptop and Internet connection. Montage has anywhere access to e-mail, voicemail and documents, enabling employees to be as mobile as they need to be.
For example, if a customer calls one of the Montage employees’ office lines, they will be unable to recognize that Montage’s employees are working from a remote location since in-bound callers will not change their calling patterns. The call automatically is routed to a person’s home or mobile line. Since the system offers number portability, associates could actually bring their phones with them and use them at whatever locations they want that has an Internet port – but still appear as if they are working from the office, and at no additional toll charge. The scalability of the solution enabled the company to grow even in small increments by adding one or two phones to the system at a time.
“As a small business, Alteva’s hosted VoIP provided us with a corporate eye to the world,” says Stephan Reeves, CEO and president of Montage Companies. “It was very easy to add on and scale our services as we built out each of our locations. As long as we had our hardware, all we had to do was plug in a new IP phone, and the configurations were already applied by Alteva in advance.”
Today, Montage has offices across the U.S. and in Jamaica with a lot of phone communication between them. By utilizing hosted VoIP, it can keep costs down with low international usage rates while providing business-class communications. Additionally, hosted VoIP offers excellent telecommunications survivability and disaster recovery capabilities to the hurricane-prone island.
The company currently is undergoing testing at its Jamaican location utilizing hosted VoIP at a Cyber School setup in Old Harbor, Jamaica, consisting of one teacher and two students. The goal of the school is to create a model that can roll out on a larger scale in communities across the island so each student can use computer-based resources to supplement his or her learning. In just six to seven months, students have shown incredible improvements, having started at a sub-kindergarten level to currently a third- or fourth-grade level.
The teacher at the Cyber School is using hosted VoIP to communicate with Montage’s headquarters in Philadelphia. Associates hold typical conversations with the teacher about day-to-day processes, receive daily updates on the school and its students, and walk the teacher through professional development and training of the online resources.
“With offices across the U.S. and internationally, we are able to communicate in the way that we want to as small but growing organization, and Alteva helped us to keep our costs way down in terms of daily communication with our teacher in Jamaica,” says Reeves. “We have e-mail capabilities, but sometimes you just need to have a conversation with someone in real time. Our team is able to communicate effectively, and we’re not shy to pick up the phone and make a call because it’s not going to be a cost hindrance to us.”
Outside of Alteva it would have cost Montage an estimated $10,000 for Jamaica toll calls over the past year, but now it is able to keep costs down and actually eliminate international charges using the Internet as the mode of transport. Reeves estimates a savings of more than $600 to $700 per month since the implementation of the Alteva hosted VoIP solution on the domestic side of the business, with the savings in regards to the Jamaica location an additional $8,000.
When applications are delivered from the cloud, the solutions promise quicker time for deployment, and they are far easier to manage and monitor. While it might be easier for a Fortune 500 company to maintain its own cloud, a small business can leverage a solution that is more cost effective by going hosted – letting someone else handle the implementation, the maintenance and any future upgrades.
As for Montage, the company is in the process of launching a pilot program with Alteva to implement another application from its UC solution set, Microsoft (News - Alert) OCS, an integrated voice/video/instant message/desktop sharing collaboration and communication tool. Since having added three new consultants (in Connecticut, Delaware and Florida) to its roster, Montage will be using the system to conduct internal meetings, training and webinars. The system should help to provide increased collaboration and reduce the need to travel for training.
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi