Suncorp embarks on IP rollout to more than 200 sites

8000 end-point rollout IP-enables half of its workforce

Financial services provider, Suncorp, has embarked on a plan to IP-enable half of its workforce across six corporate sites, six contact centres and 200 regional offices and branches across Australia.

In a competitive four-way pitch, Suncorp selected Avaya for the 8000 end-point rollout which includes communications infrastructure in new buildings to replace existing legacy systems.

Suncorp's executive general manager of IT infrastructure services, Paul Cameron, said the impetus for the project started when the company commenced a five-year network strategy plan with the goal of standardising its platforms, rationalising an IP core and ultimately converging its voice and data networks.

"We selected Avaya based on the strength of its strategic technology roadmap," he said.

The vendor was initially selected to undertake a 2000 end-point roll-out across a new greenfield site known as Brisbane Square.

It was the success of this implementation that led to an enterprise-wide IPT roll-out with the head office and contact centre program, which is expected to reach completion in about eight months.

Suncorp is also planning to introduce a converged voice and data network into six of its contact centres, with the goal of improving workforce management, reporting capabilities, increasing visibility across the business and demonstrating a proven ROI.

"Suncorp insures the financial wellbeing of millions of Australian households - just imagine the flexibility introduced by leveraging a converged IPT infrastructure in the event of a wide-scale natural disaster," Cameron said.

"Leveraging the new IPT infrastructure, we can now immediately ramp up our customer support services to handle inbound insurance claims by utilising IP-enabled handsets on any desk, in any location across a virtual environment to create the most agile, responsive customer service team available."

Suncorp is also embracing the vision of Unified Communications, and will shortly complete installation of Microsoft Office 2007 with a number of collaborative tools, including video, instant messaging and integrated voice.

Cameron said introducing an IPT foundation means Suncorp will have one information highway and it won't matter what device or protocol travels along it.

"For instance, mobility is vital to our organisation with staff moving between buildings and travelling interstate, now employees can hotdesk from any location using their own phone number and associated applications and we can continue to cut costs and enhance capabilities," he added.

"IP-enabling our voice platforms is the first step towards unifying communications for employees - adding e-mail, fax, voicemail, video, instant messaging, presence, mobile access, directory integration and audio."

Avaya South Pacific managing director, Carlton Taya, said the rise of IP telephony has provided more than voice connectivity at reduced costs.

"IP telephony is the foundation for Suncorp to now proliferate on voice-embedded business applications to transform its operation in areas such as mobility, customer service, productivity and collaboration," Taya said.

The rollout commenced earlier this year with plans to progressively upgrade regional offices and branches according to an asset lifecycle management plan.

Suncorp brands include GIO, AAMI, APIA and Vero.

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