Freebridge Community Housing has completed the implementation of a Microsoft Lync 2010 unified communications system in conjunction with Eurodata Systems to improve customer contact across the housing provider’s operations.
Following a pilot project based on Microsoft Office Communication Server 2007 R2, Lync 2010 was rolled out to Freebridge’s ICT team in April 2011. Freebridge reported that it had spent around £18,000 on licensing and £39,000 on consultancy and implementation with Eurodata and its Mitel telephony provider.
Dave Clements, assistant director of ICT and facilities, Freebridge Community Housing, said, “We knew communication between teams was key to our plan of improving customer satisfaction, and we didn’t want members of staff playing ‘phone tag’ to get an answer to a question. Implementing Office Communication Server means that staff can communicate faster by being aware of the availability of other staff members using the ever-present ‘jelly bean’ notifications before picking up the phone.”
Tobie Fysh, systems developer, Freebridge Community Housing, added, “We explored the Mitel route for unified communications but it didn’t give us the fully-integrated feel that we have with Lync 2010. We still have a considerable investment in the Mitel platform but felt that the best way to protect our investment in software and hardware would be to implement a fully Microsoft-based solution.”
After migrating all of the internal ICT Team to the Lync platform and following a suitable test period, Freebridge then rolled out the Lync system to its executive team. Clements said, “It’s a testament to the stability and maturity of the platform that we were happy to roll it out to a high-profile team first.
“Our executive team can take their phone wherever they log into Lync. Single-number reach and the ease of accessing voicemail from multiple devices, such as Polycom CX600 phones, laptops, and iPhones, means that we have generated enthusiasm from the top of the company for them to act as champions.”
Freebridge has already seen cost savings from using Lync. The company is currently working with Hemingway Design on the regeneration of an estate in King’s Lynn; by using Lync, project meetings can held using a Microsoft Roundtable video-conferencing device with external partners able to join using Apple Macs, PCs and PSTN phones.
Fysh said, “We can migrate to Lync Enterprise Voice at our own pace due to the way we have implemented the solution. It’s not a ‘rip and replace’ process, which means that we can concentrate on getting each team comfortable with a change of working style.”
Eurodata is providing on-going maintenance and support through a FlexiPoints contract, a points-based IT support service that, unlike traditional fixed-price contracts, means Freebridge only pays for the support it needs.