Case Study: Tax Technologies, Inc.
SCS is the competitive edge for a provider of tax and technology solutions
Tax Technologies, Inc. (TTI), helps Fortune 100 tax departments maximize their tax application and planning processes at a reasonable cost. All solutions are Web-based, providing Software as a Service (SaaS) via platforms developed in-house.
Approximately 95 percent of TTI's 100-plus U.S. employees are telecommuters. Another 125 employees work in a centralized office in India. The company's outsourced proprietary communications solution was hard to use and offered limited features-no voice conferencing, for example. Up to 40 percent of calls were dropped due to poor voice performance.
TTI wanted a reliable, open standards-based unified communications solution with integrated applications (such as voice conferencing) that would both drive productivity and save money. And they wanted to manage it on their own.
Nortel's SCS, a powerful, easy-to-use, easy-to-manage UC solution capable of scaling to thousands of users, was the perfect fit. 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. For additional reliability, TTI chose the SCS High Availability option, which offers dual-server redundancy to maximize overall performance and reliability.
Most TTI employees use the Nortel SCS softphone, which is ideal for mobile and remote employees, offering VoIP, presence/IM, video conferencing and video/voice call recording. Others leverage IP phones and the Nortel plug-in for Microsoft Office, making and receiving calls directly from the application.
Cost savings: nearly $40,000 a year
TTI was spending $2,500 to $3,000 a month on outsourced conferencing charges. "Now we can bring this functionality in-house," says Erick Wentlandt, TTI's director of information technologies. "We're also now doing our own moves, adds, and changes for additional savings. Our projected ROI is less than 13 months."
Superior voice performance
"With our transition to SCS, voice quality is clear and we no longer worry about dropped calls," says Wentlandt. "The system is working flawlessly."
The Value Props
With a Web-based management system and intuitive self-controlled end-user applications, SCS is so simple to manage and administer that TTI does it all in-house. As Wentlandt puts it, "You don't need an engineering degree to make changes or get your softphone to work."
A transparent cost structure
"The biggest thing is that SCS is truly an all-in-one package," says Wentlandt. "There are no hidden costs like with the other vendor we were considering. All users get all features, with no additional core hardware or per-application licenses."
Unified messaging and Find Me/Follow Me "are fantastic features for our mobile employees that weren't available on our previous system," says Wentlandt. Also a big hit: the secure IM and built-in desktop video conferencing capabilities, which help connect TTI's U.S. employees with their colleagues in India.
TTI's executive assistant loves the ability to document meetings by recording conference calls. The technical writing team uses their recorded conference calls to help improve release notes on the software they develop. Also well received are the Automated Call Distribution and hunt-group capabilities, which are much simpler to use than the previous solution's.
"One thing we really like about SCS is that all the features and capabilities are integrated," Wentlandt says. "For example, the Web-based video conferencing is built directly into the soft client. They interface very nicely; the functionality is very user-friendly."
Keeping mobile employees connected
"A couple of weeks ago," Wentlandt says, "one of my guys was driving down the Interstate and called me using his Nortel softphone with a high-speed cellular connection. It worked flawlessly. Fortunately, his wife was driving."
"Pretty much all of the alternatives we looked at were at least partially proprietary, but with SCS we get a pure standards-based solution using SIP-and from a company we trust: Nortel," says Wentlandt.
The Bottom Line
"We did our homework," Wentlandt says, "and the Nortel SCS was simply the best return on our investment: an open standards-based solution with better functionality and an intuitive interface, all in a cost-effective package. With SCS, we're evolving our communications and saving money in the process."
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