Ringing the changes

Editorial Type: Case Study Date: 2018-05-01 Views: 1,899 Tags: Networking, Telecoms, LAN, Cloud, Comtec , Cisco
Comtec brings an injury management firm back to full health with a network upgrade to provide enhanced telephony and essential flexibility

When it comes to those working in the healthcare industry, lives are quite literally on the line. Businesses cannot afford to put a foot wrong, and so they are heavily reliant on robust, high performance IT infrastructures that can handle the most demanding of requirements.

This is especially true for a member of the British Association of Rehabilitation Companies (BARC), which specialises in the delivery of injury management services to the benefit of thousands of patients every year. Among its key priorities is maintaining the highest standard of communications at all times.

However, due to the firm's incredibly fast growth - with more than 90 employees spread across two sites in England - its telephony system and inflexible, expensive ISDN connectivity services were struggling to cope with demand, and consequently were no longer fit for purpose. It therefore needed an overhaul of its IT infrastructure that would be able to maintain the exemplary service levels expected of them.

Specifically, the firm wanted to be able to measure and optimise its call drop and call abandon rates, and have an efficient system that they could performance-manage with metrics designed to optimise the customer experience. After assessing its options, the firm decided to work with Comtec to lead the formulation of an optimised solution.

After conducting a thorough assessment of the firm's IT and communications infrastructure, Comtec decided to implement a number of new technologies that would solve the problems the firm was facing.

Firstly, Comtec decided it would replace the existing ISDN lines with SIP connections. There are numerous reasons for this migration: SIP line rental costs are between 50-60 per cent lower than ISDN and call costs are approximately 30 per cent lower. SIP also provides far greater on-demand scalability, which makes it ideal for the fast-growing capacity requirements of this organisation. Migrating to SIP connections also helps the overall resiliency of the firm's infrastructure, as it provides an additional level of disaster recovery by enabling numbers to be rerouted on demand.

Comtec also helped the firm to migrate from its old phone system to a new Cisco IP PBX platform, called Cisco Unified Manager Express (CUCM). This new platform supports all the familiar call features of the old system, but includes a far more sophisticated set of features for conferencing, messaging and UC capabilities. As a result, this new system encourages more internal and external collaboration, while supporting integration with databases to optimise the customer experience.

Finally, as well as upgrading the firm's connectivity to a 1Gbps core Local Area Network (LAN), based on Cisco infrastructure, which provides a more reliable switching platform to assure the exponential growth of data traffic, Comtec implemented a highly resilient and scalable Layer 3 VPN to provide wide-area connectivity across both UK sites.

Following the implementation of this new infrastructure the firm noticed positive differences almost instantaneously, not just from a financial perspective but also in terms of more efficient operations and performance. Most significantly, it meant employees could work remotely for the first time, which has helped to increase productivity and retain top talent by improving their work-life balance.

Substantial improvements were also noticed in customer service levels. The firm now applies a defined level of service to every call as opposed to relying on best efforts. More intelligent call queueing and knowledge-based routing ensures that callers always get the response they need in a timely manner.

Importantly, this new infrastructure allows the firm to adopt more cloud services. With on-demand scalability built in to everything from seat-licenses to SIP connectivity and LAN infrastructure, the firm's adoption of new cloud services such as Microsoft Azure is assured. NC