The service took around three months to implement, and Collins says the company is now saving around 10 per cent on line rental and over 20 per cent on call costs. In addition, it is routing all calls via just one receptionist, instead of needing one in each office, and inter-office calls are now free.
"Our receptionist in Esher has been with us for some years, and really understands the company," Collins adds. "For her to be able to handle all of the calls for the company is a great asset.
"We did have a few teething problems with the VoIP system initially, but were very impressed with the speed at which Viatel handled these, and everything now works perfectly. The speed of accessing our servers has also improved significantly."
Staff now have remote voicemail access and can divert calls to home phones or any mobile phone, so enquiries can be routed to the right person, wherever they are. In addition, the new MPLS network enables Gieves and Hawkes to back up its data via the network, and it has cut the cost of network management because it is simpler to administer than the leased line.
Because the VoIP system runs over Gieves and Hawkes' network, the IT team can analyse calling patterns and adapt the call plan so that the company always gets the best deal on its phone calls. In the future, Gieves and Hawkes will be able to forward voice calls to users via email, so they do not have to phone in for messages.
Collins adds that a notable benefit is the ability to move between the two main offices but still be contactable on the same number. "I'm frequently in the Esher office for a few days, and then back in Savile Row, and it's really handy that our phone numbers move with us," he says.
Quite what past Gieves and Hawkes clients, such as Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington, would have made of it all is anyone's guess. But hopefully it would be "England expects," rather than "Publish, and be damned!"