Software Communications System

Case Study: Easter Seals-Goodwill

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Simple, open, and feature-rich: SCS extends collaboration and cost savings

The Client

Montana-based Easter Seals-Goodwill (ESGW) Northern Rocky Mountain is a private nonprofit serving disadvantaged families, and children and adults with autism and other disabilities. ESGW provides vocational and workforce development programs, child care, preschool, and hospice throughout Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming, and also maintains Goodwill retail stores in Montana and Idaho.

The Challenge

ESGW's primary motivations for pursuing a new communications solution were cost savings, enhanced collaboration, and future-proofing. With employees spread across four states, the company wanted to reduce long-distance and hosted-conferencing charges.

ESGW was also looking to replace an aging PBX infrastructure that in many cases lacked next-generation features and functionality. They saw an open, unified communications (UC) solution as the way to go.

The Solution 

ESGW has deployed SCS, a powerful, easy-to-use, easy-to-manage UC solution capable of scaling to thousands of users. Based on open standards using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), SCS provides robust UC capabilities, including secure presence and instant messaging, integrated voice conferencing, unified messaging, single-number reachability (Find Me/Follow Me), desktop-based video conferencing, and tight integration with Microsoft Outlook and IBM Lotus Notes/Sametime. 

ESGW is taking full advantage of an open approach to communications, selecting Polycom phones, one of the many endpoint products supported by SCS. Employees are using the Polycom SoundPoint IP Phone 650 for advanced features, while the SoundPoint IP 550 phones are being used in common areas and lobbies and Polycom SoundStation IP Audio Conferencing 6000 units in boardrooms. 

The Value Props 

ESGW evaluated several vendors before selecting Nortel's SCS. "The SCS delivers a simpler and superior user experience while significantly reducing costs," says ESGW Director of Information Technology George Kupka.

Cost Savings: over $28,000 per year

ESGW had been using expensive outsourced voice conferencing. Call volumes and toll charges associated with the expansion of their highly successful Welfare to Work program were projected to increase annual costs by more than $28,000. SCS erased those costs.

"There are substantial cost savings with the conferencing, both in outsourcing and the associated long-distance fees." Kupka says. "Plus, we find that it's a much better experience than what we were getting from the previous vendor-it's easier to use, has better voice quality, and is much more scalable."

Inclusive pricing means all applications for all users

"Nortel SCS had the best solution, with an inclusive pricing approach that was cost-effective and easy to understand and provided the best overall value," says Kupka.

SIP-based open standards for interoperability and future-proofing 

"Even though other vendors had what they called 'open-standard' solutions," says Kupka, "they weren't nearly as open as the Nortel SCS solution."

Support for seamless implementation

With an SCS certified Nortel Partner providing the local telephone service and working in conjunction with Nortel, says Kupka, "It's one-stop shopping from end to end." 

Kupka says the rollout went smoothly: "The switchover was done overnight, and with a little training, my guys came in the next morning and made and received calls without any problems."

Improving efficiency with easy-to-use features

ESGW executives are constantly on the go but stay connected with a single number -no matter where they are or what device they are using. 

"Another benefit we're seeing," says Kupka, "is the use of Call Groups, and they're easy to set up. We set one up for the IT help desk. When a call comes in, the phone will ring on all four technicians' desks, and the first one available will pick up. This is a real time-saver. We're responding faster to our customers, and we know that the right people are responding to our customers' needs. Our employees are a lot happier too." 

Kupka says his employees have found SCS very easy to use: "It's intuitive and the interface is simple. The sound quality was something we were not expecting. We thought the sound from our older PBX was standard. Then we used the SCS, and, wow, what a difference. It's not choppy or crackly like the old PBX. Everyone's raving about it."

The Bottom Line 

With SCS, ESGW has a unified communications solution that's improving their ability to serve customers while driving operational efficiencies and saving money. Based on their experience, ESGW plans to add four more sites across the organization.

"The choice was clear," says Kupka, "The SCS solution was by far the best investment for us, and we have trust in Nortel."

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