Puma is one of the world’s leading sports and lifestyle companies, and has a long-term mission of becoming the most desirable Sportlifestyle brand.
The company develops and markets of a broad range of products including footwear, apparel and accessories. PUMA operates in more than 80 countries world-wide, and its revenues for the fiscal year 2006 was €2,369.2 million. The company employs 180 staff in the UK at its facilities in Leatherhead, Batley and Manchester.
For over seven years the company had relied on an ageing BT Meridien TDM based PBX to manage all its inbound and outbound calls. A third-party organisation supplied and supported the old system and they levied a charge for every new move, or change that the Puma made. According to IT Manager at Puma, Dave Butler, the maintenance cost was not the only issue, the system was also inflexible and had severe limitations with regard to call routing, and voice mail capabilities, plus integration with the company’s other automated processes was virtually non-existent. For a dynamic company operating over three offices, these costs and rigidity were having an impact on the company’s ability to run an efficient business, as it struggled to exert full control over its proprietary telephony environment.
Butler explains, “Our incumbent telephone system was very antiquated, and sat completely outside of our IT infrastructure. We had no control over telecoms and were therefore totally reliant on an external provider to manage this critical aspect of our business. Things came to a head when our Managing Director missed an important call which he had been trying to arrange for several weeks, purely because the system could not route it correctly when the call came in.”
Coming from an IT background Butler knew that the communications world was migrating toward a pure IP environment for converged voice and data applications. Therefore, an investment in a voice technology that would integrate directly into the company’s existing network infrastructure would provide a platform from which the company could develop a number of communications-based applications for the future.
Butler comments, “We decided that a ‘pure’ IP telephony solution was the only way forward as we could then treat voice as just another ‘standard’ business application that could be integrated into our existing contact applications such as Lotus Notes.”
The company then embarked on an extensive procurement programme that researched all the technologies and products on the market. Butler explains, “We looked at a number of solutions, but many of the products available were just disguised TDMs with an IP label. Unlike some of the ‘hybrid’ products, the system from Swyx however was completely software-based and was therefore the only offering that met all of our selection criteria.”
The SwyxWare solution was installed at all of Puma’s offices and interconnected via the company’s Intranet, connecting its three UK operations together in a single network. There was an immediate benefit of this installation as it enabled Puma to consolidate its two previous receptions to a single facility at Batley.
Swyx partner, NGC Networks, who supports the new telephony system worked in tandem with Puma’s IT team to provide sophisticated call routing and an out-of-hours message facility that resolved its ‘missed calls problem’. They have also helped them with the integration of its Lotus Notes application.
Butler comments on the results so far, “We have been very impressed with the system so far, the key benefit for us is that it has brought a key business process, back in house and therefore under our control. This has provided not only a very flexible telephony platform, but also saved the company a significant amount of money in maintenance costs”
- Short to medium ROI expected
- An integrated application that can be supported in-house by the existing IT team
- Centralised reception facility
- Sophisticated call routing that meant that no calls are lost
- Ability for staff such as sales personnel to ‘hot-desk’ regardless of the office they are working from or work remotely
- Free calls between all offices
- Moves and changes can now be completed within minutes rather than days without incurring any costs
- Voicemail can be accessed from anywhere via email at no extra cost
Butler concludes, “The SwyxWare solution provides a technology platform which we can use to build future applications to meet the dynamic needs of our business. We have already integrated Lotus Notes, and we have plans to integrate our order processing system at a later date.”