Unified Communications

High-End Audio Outfit Lowers TCO with West's Hosted UC Solution

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  February 04, 2013

The article originally appeared in the Jan./Feb. edition of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

When it comes to audio, D+M Group knows its stuff. The $1-billion, Mahwah, N.J.-based company is a manufacturer and distributor of high-end audio equipment for use in commercial applications, the home and in vehicles.

But when the company needed a new phone system for its own offices, D+M Group wasn’t sure at first where to go. After some research, however, the company selected VoiceMaxxCE, a Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution provided by West IP.

As a result, the company was able to lower its total cost of ownership by about 70 percent, says John Jackson (News - Alert), vice president of global infrastructure and vendor management at D+M Group.

In looking for a new phone solution, Jackson says, he sought unified communications capabilities that lived in the cloud. That way, D+M Group wouldn’t have to make a large upfront capital expenditure and build a team around the solution to support it.

Verizon (News - Alert) was one obvious candidate for D+M Group to consider for the job, as it already had a large partnership with the service provider. But Jackson said Verizon was not ready to release its cloud-based IP PBX (News - Alert)/UC solution when D+M Group wanted to make its move, so it looked elsewhere.

In addition to Verizon, AT&T and West IP (with which D+M Group had a global agreement for voice and Web conferencing) were on the short list. In the end, Jackson says, D+M Group chose the West IP solution based on price and functionality.

West IP’s price per user was 15 to 20 percent less than that offered by Verizon, Jackson says.

“Since we have a much larger relationship with Verizon than we do with West, that meant they were serious about the opportunity,” he added.

D+M Group also liked the West IP option because it is based on a developed platform that was already proven with other customers. The platform also delivers call center functionality, which was something D+M Group wanted as well.

Integration was also a consideration for D+M Group. West IP already had integration between its IP PBX/UC solution and CRM tool D+M Group was using. And when the company started talking with West IP, the supplier already was working on integrating its solution with Lync.

That was important as D+M Group was already using Lync via a cloud-based deployment.

“What we want to do is make sure any investments we make, there’s some integration between those solutions later on, even if there isn’t today,” he said.

But in the end, the biggest benefit D+M Group got from selecting West IP was probably the support it received during the implementation process.

The project management team from West IP operated as an extension of the D+M Group team, he says, adding that his company has more high-level resources than technical ones.

As a result, working with West was seamless and involved the same team over and over again.

“The hand-holding from them was great,” he said.

As of late November, D+M Group – which has about 2,500 employees and about 30 offices worldwide – had rolled out VoiceMaxxCE at its offices in the Netherlands, the U.K., the U.S. and at new offices. And it was considering whether to bring its large office in Japan onto the cloud-based solution, or whether to integrate that office’s legacy solution with VoiceMaxxCE to allow for lower-cost and more seamless communications among locations.

Virtually every location at which VoiceMaxxCE is now used had a different ERP and different phone system, given that D+M Group has expanded over the years via M&A. Of course, that means D+M Group no longer has to shoulder the expense of maintaining this wide array of different systems.

Edited by Braden Becker