The Alzheimer’s Society is trialling unified communications that incorporates Microsoft’s Office Communications Server (OCS) and Live Meeting, as well as IP telephony and contact centre tech from NEC Philips.
The charity fields a large number of in-bound telephone calls and wants to streamline business processes to make staff easier to pinpoint and reach when it shortly moves to a new head office.
With an IT function outsourced to CharITyShare, the Alzheimer’s Society is among the first charities to trial unified comms. If the trial is successful it plans to roll out it out across its 250 branches and 1400 staff nationwide.
Phil Shoesmith, head of IT at the charity, said unified comms should bring numerous benefits.
"Improved staff connectivity and enhanced presence information will have a very positive impact on business productivity and efficiency," he said.
"Given that we have more than 200 members of staff in our head office and numerous regional sites, the ability to find out at a glance which member of staff is available to take a call is invaluable in speeding up the decision making process and handling calls.”
By incorporating Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Alzheimer’s also plans to revolutionise its training sessions by running live broadcasts for delegates to attend remotely.
Live Meeting is providing a collaborative environment for making presentations, sharing files and even desktops, enabling real-time interaction between participants. Attendees can also sketch on a virtual whiteboard and any notes made are archived for a complete recording of the session.
“At present we are spending a great deal of time and money on travelling for meetings and training sessions and cutting out unnecessary business travel will not only save time and reduce spend but also generate environmental benefits," Shoesmith said.
The migration to IP communications across the network is also expected to reduce the amount of money the charity needs to spend on line rental and reduce call costs because all internal calls will be free of charge.
The Alzheimer’s Society has over 25,000 members and operates through a partnership between over 250 branches and support groups and the national organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
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