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Enterprise PBX system next best thing to Unified Communications

Polycom unified communication software license - an old school mobile phone

“Shouldn’t we be using Unified Comms by now?”  It’s a common question asked of IT and of course the answer any IT Manager would like to give is simply “Yes”.  But it’s not simple to get a UC project off the ground, particularly to get business buy-in.  And at the end of the day, the core function for most staff members at the moment is simply to pick up a telephone and talk.

Nevertheless, Unified Communications is the end-point that we’re all heading towards.   To argue otherwise is to try and hold back the tide – it’s coming in regardless.  Personally, I think that video, instant messaging, sharing in real-time and voice all rolled into one platform has some real business benefits, particularly in bringing teams together.  Just wait until someone puts the camera inside the screen and you’re looking at the other person eye-to-eye!

If you’re still a non-believer then just look back to the adoption of mobile phones.  When they were the weight of a housebrick and you had to carry them around like an esky, only a select few of us had them and others couldn’t see the need.  Now they’re light and loaded with features and you couldn’t live the same life without them.

So a UC future is where we’re headed, but what about now?  Some businesses just aren’t as ready as they would like, or simply can’t justify the inevitable CAPEX of Unified Communications.  But that old PABX won’t hang on forever.

The challenge is this: how do you satisfy the immediate needs for business telephony, while ensuring you don’t inadvertently choose a path that requires you to backtrack and invest even more capital when your company is ready to act on Unified Communications (a situation called “technical debt”)?

Let me tell you the answer…

The Challenge

Our client had grown strongly over the past decade through acquisition, but their communications were becoming an increasing pain point because they couldn’t expand their PABX and they couldn’t support all its users.

They had no less than 10 separate PABX Systems and over 30 advertised PSTN numbers in various offices around the country (not including the five x 100-number ranges for their offices).  The PABX’s were coming to the end of their useful life.

But that was just part of the puzzle.  The rest of the challenge was, in their words:

  • “Amalgamate some (not all) offices into a shared reception and call handling system”
  • “Add Call Queuing for some business units, but not all”
  • “Give us the ability to use Lync (now Microsoft Teams) for some teams, but we’re not all ready for that yet”
  • “We need CRM integration…possibly.  We haven’t selected a CRM system, and the one we are thinking of wont support Lync yet.”
  • “Video is a must have, but not yet….  We don’t have agreement from all stake holders on hardware spend”
  • “Simplify our Phone Bill – we have 5 carriers that are all at different rates”
  • “We’ve added two new offices this year, but they may be temporary”
  • “And we may need to change platform quickly next year.”

The Solution

The more we engaged with the client the more we came to realise they really should be using a UC platform and we had several products that would fit the requirement.

When it came to the crunch though, the UC solution ended-up down the priority list against a number of competing ICT and Business Process improvement projects.

But they still had the problem of their expiring PABX’s.

That’s where the strength of Computer One Cloud Services kicked-in and delivered a proper solution that may be there for two years, or forever.  It ticked every box in their list.

Our Hosted Voice platform is a turnkey solution offering all the features of the big systems at a fraction of the cost.

  • Call Queueing
  • Voicemail, Follow Me and Roaming features
  • Emergency Announcements
  • Call Recording
  • Call Reporting
  • Extensive voice conferencing features
  • Fax to Email
  • Video Conferencing

Our hosted voice platform can be integrated with a broad range of handsets and softphones.

What it meant for our client was a solution to their current platform and a strong foundation for the move to UC at some point in the future.

The Results

Our client has a complete Enterprise Voice Solution, supported, managed and operated with multi-site redundancy.  And it is future-proofed which means no fork-lift upgrades if they change direction.  It can be integrated with different technologies.

Down the track our Hosted Voice can simply and seamlessly become the PSTN/SIP Gateway for Lync On Premise (again, now replaced by Teams) and in the Cloud.

Along the way, they have reduced their phone bill by 60% and lowered their support costs because the new system makes it easier to deploy a new user or move an existing one – it’s as easy as plugging a handset in and they’re ready to go.  Perhaps best of all, there was no interruption to service because we coordinated all the major changes behind the scenes.

Update: Covid19 affected most businesses worldwide, forcing a massive switch to working remotely for many teams and a sudden change to many phone systems.  Fortunately, the Computer One PBX system is great collaboration tool that can be used to enhance connections with customers and employees and we quickly rolled it out to those clients who found themselves requiring an immediate solution to a problem no-one saw coming.

Talk to us if you want an easy solution like that.

James Walker

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