While some organizations are leery of the upfront cost of upgrading their telephony systems, it’s almost always a worthwhile transition that brings multiple benefits to a business, including a lower total cost of ownership.
We recently worked with an East Coast retailer that used a traditional large PBX (News - Alert) vendor telephony system at its company headquarters, which included about 700 employees. The system was fine, but management was building a new headquarters and wanted to deploy a more comprehensive and innovative system to encompass all corporate employees across multiple office and distribution center locations. The company also needed to improve its help desk call handling process and reduce its number of vendors.
After studying the company’s requirements, we recommended and worked with the customer to implement a telephony refresh, which included new IP telephony equipment and replacement of the old system. The new systems permitted voicemail integration with Lotus Notes, offered unified messaging, in-house collaborative voice/Web/videoconferencing capabilities and wireless phones.
We also installed a new small contact center application and wrote custom scripts to maintain needed functionality from the old system, while providing new features to optimize call handling and improve efficiency for agents who worked at the highest grossing retail locations.
Due to customer timelines, we implemented the new systems over two years. The first users were in a brand new distribution facility, and the new telephony system enabled us to provide additional features at a much lower cost than possible with their TDM system. We then implemented upgrades for all IPT equipment to the entire corporation later the next year.
In transitioning from TDM to IP telephony technology, the customer consolidated its voice vendors. We also supplied formal training on the new systems to the customer’s technology staff and lead telephony engineers. This increased confidence for handling any on-going systems issues, and reduced maintenance support costs, which was a significant driver for the customer's conversion.
In the end, the customer has new systems that provide higher functionality, better integration with its other technology systems (data network equipment, corporate directories, corporate e-mail, video endpoints), and lower overall on-going maintenance costs. It also has acquired additional licensing for other advanced features (presence status, PDA integration), which it will roll out to its users next year.
Kevin Gift and Cliff McGlamry are master consultants at Forsythe Solutions Group
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi