the myIT blog

Lowering Your Cost Center and Enhancing Your Services

We finally kicked loose a project for a customer that allowed us to replace the following items:

  • Ethernet Switch
  • Firewall & basic wifi
  • Telephone System
  • A dozen phone handsets (we used Polycom 650's with a Janbra Dect wireless headset with signalling cable)
  • Overhead paging server
  • Outbound dialing from PC's via modem (using Act!)

The capital costs for these items is around $10,000.00 (USD), because the customer is mostly marketing outbound and there staff is on the phone all day long. They also are located in an out of the way industrial park that does not offer cable modem or DSL, so they have a bonded T1 (3MB synchronous Internet connection). We also wanted to completely separate the voice and data networks, so we used an Ethernet switch that has POE, basic L3 routing and QOS.  When utilizing an Internet carrier, we always insists on doing extra firewall work so we can properly classify and treat the voip connections with the highest priority, which means great call quality.

The old phone system did not have voicemail, and used very old clunky Nortel handsets and consoles. It also did not have any caller ID functions. The "night mode" consisted of an answering machine they had to turn on. All of the phone lines were analog POTS lines.

After looking at the first year in use, the customer has a net gain of 9,000.00, plus improved functionality.  How did they save so much? Simple. We turned off all of their POTS lines and utilized a sip trunking provider. The provider will cost them around 130.00 per month for their US/Canada calls as opposed to the 2,000.00 per month they were spending on the MCI local plan. Shaving over 1,800.00 per month off your cost centers with a greatly enhanced feature set at the same time is one of those things that keeps paying back!

Here's a condensed list of the features they gained.

  • Direct Inward Dial (users can have numbers that can be dialed from an outside line and ring right to their phone only)
  • Auto Attendant
  • Voicemail with email notification
  • Instant message notification with voicemail
  • Caller ID name/number
  • No modem dialing from their PC applications (Outlook, Act!, etc.)
  • MUCH Faster Call Setup
  • Wireless Headsets with wireless answer/hangup, no mechanical lifters on the phones
  • Call Parking, Call Pickup
  • Sales manager can view the status of all salespeople on the phone (from a mobile phone, tablet or desktop), including who they are on a call with
  • Carrier based call records and internal call records available on demand, queries and reporting
  • Video calling
  • Remote users
  • The new wifi in their plant allows a user to start an application on their smartphone and become an extension of the phone system

So after the first year, paying for these upgrades saves the customer 9,000.00 in the first year. There are also significant productivity gains. Since this is a capital project, if looked at over a 3 year period this is a savings of over $50,000 dollars.  Does this get your attention?

The work, plus additional work not listed here not related to the phone system, happened over a 3 day period, with no downtime. On the first day the system was brought up, firewall changed over, and switch replaced. The second day the handsets were added and training occurred. On the third day as users actively used the new system, the old handsets were removed. We think the old stuff is headed to ebay, but not sure its worth too much time to bother with.

This is not a typical deployment for us as hardware costs are usually lower for a firm this size, but the need for headsets and a single phone type for uniformity and training makes things simpler for everyone. Their existing service was horribly overpriced and everything they had was "really" old and needed an overhaul.

At the same time we reviewed a firm with a hosted VOIP service that "probably" could do better. I've found the call quality to be horrible and their costs to be high as their calling habits should cost no more than 23.00 dollars per month, and they are paying well over a hundred.

If it is time for us to help your firm lower your cost center, we're ready!