Unified Communications Case Study

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Taps XO Communications for UC

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  November 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

Sometimes the little things mean a lot.

For example, while Susan G. Komen for the Cure liked the opex model of its former shared tenant PBX (News - Alert) services, it found the solution’s costs and turn up times excessive when it came to adds, moves and changes. That – and the breast cancer organization’s desire to add call center functionality, do call recording, better support its mobile workforce, and integrate the communications capabilities of its Dallas and Washington, D.C., offices – led it to issue a request for proposals for all of the above.

XO Communications (News - Alert) answered the call and, in the end, won the business.

Aldo Ramirez, director of product sales at the nationwide provider of advanced broadband communications services and solutions, says Susan G. Komen for the Cure had a lot of requirements that hit XO’s sweet spot. Rather than owning and managing its own PBX, the organization wanted to outsource all that, so XO’s managed PBX offer (called XO iPBX) was a good match there. Importantly, XO offers an administrative portal that allows customers to do everyday types of moves, adds and changes (such as changing voicemail passwords, as just one example). For Susan G. Komen for the Cure, that added up to significant savings, and it meant no more waiting eight to 12 hours for such changes to be implemented, Ramirez explains, adding that XO helps out with major changes when required.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure went to all IP telephone sets with the move to the XO solution. Ramirez says the organization liked the idea of having a single drop for wiring, and being able to move the phones around without rewiring the whole closet. He adds that the organization also was attracted to the phones’ color displays.

In addition, XO brought together communications for Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Dallas headquarters and D.C. office, and enabled the organization to realize remote worker and resiliency benefits in the process. The customer’s 300-employee Dallas location had been on an older Nortel (News - Alert) platform deployed in a shared tenant service/rental situation; D.C., meanwhile, was using an older key system to serve about 40 workers there. XO introduced Susan G. Komen for the Cure to a managed services solution based on the Avaya (News - Alert) IP Office platform that delivers consistent functionality across both locations. Now, calls are easily routed between the two sites, and a receptionist from one office can handle calls from another.

What’s more, a teleworker license allows Susan G. Komen for the Cure workers to take and make calls from any location and appear as if they’re in one of the offices. The receptionists now have a more user-friendly interface through which to manage communications. And the new solution, which employs XO’s MPLS capabilities, allows for survivability should communications to either of the customer’s locations go down.

Unified communications is also part of the solution.

“It’s usually one of the first requirements customers ask for these days,” Ramirez says of unified communications. “It’s table stakes.”

Susan G. Komen for the Cure today uses the solution’s voicemail-to-e-mail feature, which allows for ease of communications management, especially when users are traveling. The organization also expects to enable click to dial functionality, among other features, via Outlook, says Ramirez.

“The solution provided by XO Communications provides a major step forward in the way Susan G. Komen for the Cure employees use technology to communicate,” says David Dawson, vice president of information technology at Komen. “The ability to increase productivity, ensure seamless communication across our offices and lower costs is important as we strive to effectively interact and communicate life-saving messages to audiences both within and beyond our walls.”

It’s been nearly a year since XO got the RFP from Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The customer moved to the new communications solution – which includes voice, Internet access and private data networking capabilities and services –in the May/June time frame.

XO’s ability to act as the single point to meet all communications needs is what ultimately helped it close the deal with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, says Ramirez. The customer has seen an overall savings of about 20 percent as a result of the XO-provided solutions, he adds. That comes from the elimination of long-distance charges; updated trunking; and, of course, big savings in terms of moves, adds and changes.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi