Case Study: PFW Systems
SCS redefines communications for a premier provider of software solutions
PFW Systems Corporation has been developing, marketing, selling, installing, and supporting premier software solutions for construction and agricultural equipment dealerships throughout North America for more than 30 years. PFW is based in London, Ontario, with some 75 employees.
In looking to a unified communications (UC) solution, PFW's management team aimed to save money, improve employee mobility and productivity, and streamline their business processes. It was imperative that the solution be feature-rich, simple to use, scalable, based on open standards, and cost-effective-with a transparent and pricing model.
PFW installed 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.
And unlike like competing solutions evaluated by PFW, SCS offers per-user pricing that gives employees access to all the advanced UC features and applications without "application-specific" user licenses or additional core hardware costs.
PFW is also using Nortel 5520 switches, Nortel 3455 Softphones (for remote access), Polycom Soundpoint IP Phones, and LG-Nortel IP Phone 6830s and 6812s, as well as the Ingate SIParator® 19 (for connection to their broadband service provider).
Cost savings: nearly $10,000 per year
With employees using softphones instead of calling cards, PFW is saving more than $3,000 annually on long-distance calls alone. Even better, the company saves more than $6,000 annually on outsourced conferencing fees thanks to SCS's integrated Meet Me conferencing, which makes a personal conference bridge available to each employee at no extra charge.
With its array of UC applications, SCS expands on PFW's business-process integration initiative. Employees can more effectively communicate and collaborate with colleagues, partners, and customers whether they're in the office, on the road, or at home. They're more productive-and PFW is more competitive.
Enhanced customer service
SCS's open standards and services-oriented architecture (SOA) allowed PFW to write their own application to integrate with SCS. It's called VoIPLink, and PFW both uses it internally and offers it to their equipment dealerships. Incoming customer phone calls trigger PFW's customer portal application, which brings up on the user's screen all relevant information about a customer. Staff at the dealerships using PFW's business solution now have all the information they need to provide excellent service-the customer's current orders, account status, the status of equipment being serviced, and much more-before they even answer the call.
"The ability to customize the SCS quickly and cost-effectively has allowed us to dramatically improve our customer service," says PFW "technology evangelist" Joshua Van Buskirk. "We believe in the benefits provided by VoIPLink, so we also use it internally to better serve our own customers-the dealers themselves."
The Value Props
With a Web-based management system and intuitive "self-controlled" end-user applications, SCS is simple to implement, manage, and administer.
"The transition from our old system to the new one was easy, with little training required," says Van Buskirk. "With Web-based configuration, adding new users and phones or making adjustments to existing phones and users is a straight-forward process. We do it in-house and save on expensive outsourcing costs."
Effective communication and collaboration
PFW finds that SCS means faster resolution of customer and internal queries. "Through presence information, employees can now see when their colleagues are on the phone or away," Van Buskirk says. "If you need an answer and they're on the phone, just send an IM for their response when they get a spare moment-no more voice mail tag."
Traveling employees are easy to reach now that they have softphones. And they're able to access their voice mail via e-mail attachments on their mobile devices, reducing the time it takes to dial in and pick up messages. Find Me/Follow Me features also allow customers to easily locate PFW employees when they're away from the office, which means fewer missed calls and better service. With these capabilities, PFW can empower its employees to function from anyplace they have Internet connectivity.
Says Van Buskirk, "With SCS's open standards and inherent SOA capabilities, we've got a future-proof solution that links our applications and communications, and lets us do the same for our customers. That's definitely one of the reasons we selected this Nortel solution."
The Bottom Line
"Our primary considerations were cost, scalability, ease of administration, support for open standards, and the ability to integrate software with minimal investment in time and resources," says Van Buskirk. "We wanted a solution that would run on our IT platform and that could grow and evolve with us-while saving us money. All those evaluation criteria have been met. We've got a simple-to-use solution that's allowing us to introduce a wide range of UC applications that are improving the way we do business, and that's allowing us to introduce those applications to our customers. And we have trust in Nortel. We're poised for the future."
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