Cumbria’s District Councils

CASE STUDY

A Brief Introduction

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Based in Cumbria, Eden District Council and South Lakeland District Council operate a successful shared IT service model, and have a long-standing relationship with ITPS to provide backup, support and maintenance services.

When the councils took the decision to embark on a new strategy to deliver a more flexible way of working, they sought a solution that could also ensure full compliance with the changing security requirements of the Public Service Network.

Will you cope if disaster strikes

The Challenge

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The decision was made to replace their legacy phone systems with Microsoft Lync Enterprise, and implement the prairie Fyre contact centre solution.

This is a modular, integrated so􀈅ware suite based on the unified communications and VoIP architecture of the Lync platform and includes automatic call distribution, presence awareness, conferencing, messaging, and agent mobility in a familiar Microsoft Office interface. As an authorised reseller of Lync Contact Centres, and with a track record of complex installations, ITPS was the natural choice of partner to project manage the implementation within a knowledge transfer framework that would see the 12-strong in-house IT team eventually pick up the reins

ITPS Approach

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Stuart Henderson, Business Development Manager at South Lakeland, explains: “Replacing our phone system and switching to unified communications was a huge step, and ITPS were the natural partner.

We were previously using three different and unsophisticated telephony systems, none of which were integrated, or offered features such as video conferencing and instant messaging. We had sections at each council all managing phones differently and SLDC lacked even the simple ability to transfer calls between systems, plus a lack of knowledge internally meant it was not easy to configure voicemail or set up hunt groups for example. Our communications system was creating work and bottlenecks.

Results

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EXCELLENT FEEDBACK

Our decision to call in ITPS was based on their reputation for delivering good service backed up by high level technical expertise. They had previously handled our Exchange migration and backup solution, and we knew they also had experience of successful Lync implementation for global clients.”

ITPS’s consultants and engineers designed the infrastructure to allow the in-house team to test and feedback any issues. South Lakeland’s installation was rolled out department by department, with the support of external trainers, while Eden District Council opted for an instant changeover and training by the in-house team, thanks to the knowledge transfer project.

Feedback from users has been excellent. Some of them commented that the volume of calls they take has actually dropped since they have been able to set their preferences for call handling.

Implementation

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“Knowledge transfer was a key issue, and ITPS worked alongside us until our in-house team became self-sufficient, which gave us both control and reassurance,” adds Stuart.

“We felt the cost and operational benefits of the project very quickly. Previously it was a costly, logistical nightmare dealing with several phone providers, and switching to ITPS for our ISDN lines and calls tariff at South Lakeland cut costs and means we now receive one simple itemised bill.

Ben Wright, IT Services Manager at South Lakeland and Eden District Council, explains: “The implementation of laptops ran alongside the deployment and implementation of Lync, and the combined solutions provided a complete package for staff who can now work from anywhere, accessing the data they need in a secure way and maintaining full telephony connectivity just as if they were in the office. This works very effectively for presence, instant messaging and full voice connectivity, allowing staff access to everything they need no matter where they are working. We have plans to develop the solution further by adding Lync connectivity to smart phones, which will support even greater flexibility.”

Will you cope if disaster strikes

The ITPS Difference

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Stuart Henderson continues: “We are now managing our communications so much smarter, making life easier from a support perspective. We are gradually using features such as screen sharing, voice conferencing and video conferencing is next on our roll out list. We are also looking at creating a live chat button on our website using the praireFyre solution.

There are some long term benefits that we couldn’t have envisaged when started the journey. For instance we are exploring the federating possibilities to allow us to communicate quickly and easily with others outside our organisation, such as partners and suppliers, the NHS and other local authorities.

We are really happy with the service from ITPS. Lync was up and running very quickly. The team worked with us in partnership to make sure our infrastructure is a truly shared and seamless service that delivers a high level of customer care. Efficient call handling and the fact that our staff are accessible from virtually anywhere has fostered more collaborative working and transformed our communications.”

“Knowledge transfer was a key issue, and ITPS worked alongside us until our in-house team became self-sufficient, which gave us both control and reassurance.”

Stuart Henderson

Business Development Manager at South Lakeland

Get In Touch

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