Henley College Coventry is a vibrant and friendly medium sized FE college that provides education and training for approximately 5,000 part-time and 1,600 full-time students. The college has an excellent reputation for vocational courses in a wide range of areas including engineering, hospitality & catering, health & social care, hair & beauty, computing and sport.
The college decided that in order to meet the future needs of its staff and students, and to reduce its maintenance and telephony costs it needed to replace its existing telephone system. This case study explores the reasons behind that decision, the selection and purchasing process and the results it obtained from the new installation.
The College had an Avaya Index telephone system which had been out of manufacture for over 10 years. This meant it was no longer supported and parts were expensive and difficult to source. IT spokesperson for Henley College Coventry, Darryl Smith explains “The old PBX was at the heart of our communications system and received around 95% of all calls. But, because the model was discontinued and the operating system no longer supported we felt that we may be placing the college’s communications at risk.”
”Not only that but we had very limited voice mail. Messages could only be accessed via an internal telephone and only four messages could be processed at any one time, so with 200 users, many of which were sharing extensions, it was difficult for students to get in touch with them and this was clearly unacceptable as many critical messages were being lost. With the increasing financial pressure on colleges due to the economic climate and the latest spending review, it is also vital that we can increase efficiency and reduce costs wherever possible. With a new telephone system we hoped to make both short and longer term cost-savings as well as improve efficiency.”
- The Swyx solution offered support for 200+ users, was feature rich, future proof and cost effective.
- It includes unlimited voicemail which can be forwarded to email and easily retrieved from any location.
- Reduction of ISDN lines to SIP lines that can be increased/decreased according to work load (e.g. enrolments/holiday periods respectively)
- Hot desking facility (ability to access personal features like mailbox from any phone)
- Soft phone capabilities
- Auto attendant (IVR) enables reception to be centralised – the college has 2 outreach centres less than a mile away
- Fax to Email (removing the need for a physical device) for each user
- FMC fixed mobile convergence (wireless mobile phone compatibility, office mobility)
- Built-in Call recording
- Reduced space/equipment required because staff can share desks
- Built in continuity so there is a back-up system if one server fails
According to Darryl Smith, the college needed to make the transition from a traditional phone system to a fully IP (Internet Protocol)-based solution. He explains, “We understood that we needed to utilise the IT infrastructure that we already had in place, as this would make the College operate more efficiently for staff and students alike. For example, we needed features such as auto attendant, individual voicemail accounts, fax-to-email, plus the integration of email, wireless handsets and mobile phones. None of this was available with our existing set-up. We also expected that an IP based system would reduce both our call and maintenance costs.”