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Champions Great Leap to VOIP

Champions replaces ageing telecommunications technology with the benefits of ip communications from Zultys and fast track communications.

We were a bit daunted when we first started looking at VoIP, but the Zultys system has proven to add such great value to our practice, we couldn’t ever think of going back to a normal phone system again’ Stephen Champion, Managing Director

IP Telephony is building its case for improving business capability and effectiveness in accounting and financial firms throughout Australia. Encompassing technology that integrates telephone calls, voice mail, email and faxes, IP Telephony implementations, according to research group Frost and Sullivan, are now outpacing those of traditional PBX-based telephony systems.

When business growth and accounting firm Champions outgrew its old PBX system the company was faced with several options and with up to 70% of their senior managers time spent on the telephone directly related to company billing, it was not a decision to be taken lightly. With an obsolete telephony system that had been used for the previous 5 years Champions was faced with either replacing its system with a similar system, or implementing a system based on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) which promised reduced call costs and greater functionality.

After looking at systems from NEC and Avaya, Champions chose Zultys as the VoIP solution with which they would base the future of their business. In July 2005 after a 2 hour installation process on a Friday night, Champions moved to a converged voice and data network with support of Zultys partner Fast Track Communications who implemented the solution.

Based on what are termed ‘open standards’, Zultys was chosen because of its highly integrated solution. One small rack mountable box running on Linux contains the PBX, voicemail, firewall and Instant Messaging capabilities and with the systems capability to scale from 3 to 10,000 users seamlessly, Champions is also assured of never outgrowing their system again. Tony Warhurst, director of Zultys Australia, described the Zultys solution as the ultimate business leveler as the system delivers full functionality for all users regardless of the size of installation, giving SME companies the ability to look and feel like much larger companies.

A LEAP TO IMPROVED INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS

After the implementation Champions has found its internal communications capabilities have improved significantly. One of the most useful features of the business has been Instant Messaging that enables staff to send a short message that pops up on another staff members computer screen when they are on the telephone.

‘This gives me the ability to get quick answers from Stephen to urgent client enquiries when he is on the phone’ says Stephen Champion’s personal assistant, Lyn Stanger. ‘It has enabled me to greatly improve the response times to client enquiries’.Additionally the Zultys MXIE interface allows instant visibility of the current activity status of all employees meaning reception and clients are far better informed of staff activity and availability. This has also meant that fewer calls have ended up in a voice mail box.

A LEAP TO IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY

Whilst it was not even a consideration when looking to purchase the system, Champions has found that the headsets that come standard with the Zultys desk phones have provided an unexpected bonus to employees. ‘It makes an enormous difference for multi-tasking’, says Stephen Champion. ‘Employees can now type freely whilst talking to clients on the phone’.

The remote capabilities of the Zultys system have also helped lift productivity and effectiveness of senior managers who do some work from home. ‘Being at home is now the same as being in the office’, says Stephen Champion. ‘After downloading the MXIE interface into my laptop I have access to all my contact information at home. I can even see who is on and off the phone in the office and available for me to talk to, so I don’t waste time calling them when they are not available’.

Integrated contact management with Outlook and the convenience of ‘click to dial’ functionality means keeping in touch with clients has never been easier.

A LEAP TO IMPROVED BILLING AND MAINTENANCE

Being a services-based organisation the accurate time accounting and billing of clients is of crucial importance. With the phone log that comes standard with the Zultys system Champions managers are now able to view, sort and total their phone calls each day, or week by client. ‘I am picking up more phone calls that are billable, that previously I would have missed and our billing is now far more accurate’, says Stephen Champion. ‘With the click of a button I can see everyone I have spoken to and the duration of the call, which makes completing time sheets a breeze’.

Another benefit of the Zultys system is that it is a simple process to relocate staff, with their extension number, around the office. With full ‘plug and play’ functionality all that is required is for the cable to be connected to the Zultys phone and it automatically logs itself into the network with all of the staff members’ customised features intact. Additionally adding new phones to the Zultys system is a simple software license upgrade. In both scenarios no IT or telephony consultant is required, saving Champions costs that were previously incurred for similar activities.

A LEAP TO IMPROVED PHONE BILL COSTS

Champions is also experiencing the benefits of local, interstate and international telephone calls by routing telephone calls over the Internet through an Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP). Free inter-office phone calls through the Zultys system plus 10c untimed local and interstate calls are available through providers such as Engin and VCall, giving companies a strong return on their investment. ‘We expect to return our investment in 18 to 24 months based purely on the reduced telephone call costs that are available from various ITSPs’, Stephen Champion said.

A LEAP TO HAPPIER CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES

Better communications capabilities have meant that customers are better informed and have faster responses to enquiries. According to Stephen Champion there have been benefits for Champions staff as well. ‘The whole office is happier since the Zultys system was implemented’, says Stephen. ‘From the headsets, contact management and easier billing to the vastly improved call management, it all makes for a better and more efficient work environment.’

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