Ealing Council de-risks technical migration
Ealing Council pushes the envelope of what’s possible with technology. As part of their Digital Strategy, Ealing Council was the first government body to use Microsoft Office 365, the first to use Microsoft Skype for Business cloud telephony and the first to have cloud contact centre all linked together.
The challenge with migrating their telephony away from traditional ISDN to cloud was the management of their telephone numbers across the two telephone platforms, Microsoft Skype for Business Cloud Phone System and the hosted Skype for Business platform used for integration to their contact centre. The problem was that Ealing’s telephone numbers were in a single number range so couldn’t be ported to two platforms, as the incumbent telephony supplier couldn’t split the number range.
Ealing faced a difficult choice. Either trombone calls, which would mean delivering calls to one platform and redirecting them to the other platform, which would incur unnecessary call costs or the alternative was to change all public facing numbers. “In the past changing numbers was just a matter of informing residents by sending out a lot of leaflets. However, in today’s digital age, there are so many places that your phone numbers appear it would cost a fortune to update everywhere. Given today’s financial climate, both options weren’t suitable” explains Kevin Griffin, Chief Technical Architect, Ealing Council.
Ealing had a relationship with BT who suggested the smartnumbers service. The smartnumbers service puts the management of call routing for each DDI into their hands and hosts their number range so they can route calls through any platform we wish without changing public facing numbers.
Now with smartnumbers, calls to the contact centre numbers are routed to the contact centre’s GCI platform, and calls to other council staff route through the Skype for Business cloud to wherever staff are working, which is great for flexible working.
“Smartnumbers is a key service for us. We are great believers of looking at what other value we can get from the technology. So we will start using smartnumbers for business continuity planning such as delivering calls to mobile in the event of an emergency” explains Kevin.
Kevin adds “The great thing about smartnumbers is that it enables a hybrid of telephone solutions to work together. For example, we could migrate services that are currently on ISDN, to use mobiles by diverting existing fixed-line numbers to mobile, to use Skype for Business or we could use a totally different telecommunications operator”. Concluding, Kevin adds: “using smartnumbers we have the flexibility to use a whole blend of technology to meet each service’s needs best but maintain a consistent presence to the public, something which we’ve never been able to do before. The team at smartnumbers helped us solve a challenge that we thought was unsolvable”.
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