The high cost of Telstra tie lines, coupled with an ageing telephony system, has resulted in Mosman Council switching to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
The council's manager of IT services, Kevin Nonweiler, said the upgrade was long overdue.
“Our telephony system was 15 years old and it was an old analogue-based system,” Nonweiler said. “The reason to move forward into a new system was to move into IP-based telephony.”
The added cost of Telstra tie lines was a driving force behind the upgrade, with Nonweiler saying that this limited the number of handsets available to council staff.
“We’ve reduced the costs of Telstra in regards to the tie lines,” he said.
“ … An additional benefit was that the 12 or 20 tie lines [we had] limited the number of handsets we could have in the building.”
The council deployed Interactive Intelligence’s customer interaction centre solution last year, with the rollout taking two months and the product having capability for VoIP, BBX, IVP, unified communications and multimedia.
Despite the council needing an upgrade for some time, Nonweiler said government protocol held up the project, with the council choosing to seek assistance from the Department of Commerce rather than through a tender process.
“We went through what we needed to do but having seen the system now, we wouldn’t have taken as long [to complete the project],” he said. “The Department of Commerce kept delaying the contact.”
Since the deployment, council staff members are able to identify incoming calls, and have saved time and improved customer service, Nonweiler said.
“In the old system, we couldn’t tell where or when the calls in the system were coming from and the quantity of calls we were making,” he said.
“We’re able to do that now and the system came with an efficient database system that allows us to write our own reports.
“We’ve moved from a system that didn’t record when or where someone called you from to a system where we can actually tell where calls are coming from.”
Nonweiler said since the rollout concluded in early 2010, the council has broken even on project costs.
“What we’ve been able to do is reduce our costs but utilise the cost savings out of Telstra to refund the system,” he said. “So at this stage we’re at about break even.”
Mosman Council has also slashed costs in its telecommunications bill, with monthly bills reduced by $1200.
Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar
Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU