Towergate installs IP network for better call handling

Insurance broker Towergate has standardised on an Avaya IP telephony platform to improve its call-handling and ensure it can cross-sell between its different divisions. The company has installed the main platform and is now running VoIP simulation tests across its network as it switches on the service office by office.

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Insurance broker Towergate has standardised on an Avaya IP telephony platform to improve its call-handling and ensure it can cross-sell between its different divisions. The company has installed the main platform and is now running VoIP simulation tests across its network as it switches on the service office by office.

The firm also plans to virtualise and thereby halve its Dell server count to 350, most of which support the thin clients the majority of its employees use.

TOWERGATE: AT A GLANCE

100 IT staff

3,500 employees, of which 80% are customer facing

100 offices

Microsoft SQL Server 2005

Microsoft Dynamics including CRM functions

Avaya Contact Centre Express

Avaya Communications Manager Server

The highly acquisitive firm, which provides a near even split of commercial and consumer insurance services, has bought over 130 other insurance businesses in the last 10 years and has over 100 offices handling calls that it needed to link better.

Max Carruthers, group operations director, told Computerworld UK that when one office received a customer call it would create cross selling opportunities. But this would often require the call to be transferred elsewhere in the group and for the caller to join a new phone queue.

The company said the new network was helping it retire a mixture of legacy telephony systems from its acquired operations. “We had a problem with legacy systems that were running out of time,” said Carruthers. “Some of our older Avaya switches were supposed to have ended service in 2006, but Avaya extended their service until now.”

Towergate is using not just an Avaya-based IP telephony platform but also Avaya's Contact Centre Express software to smooth the integratation of back office technology. The network overhaul, by communications firm CCT, began in February and willbe rolled out to all offices during 2008. Training and maintenance are covered under Towergate's contract CCT until 2010.

The next phase in the project will see Towergate install Avaya’s Communication Manager Server for centralised management of the network.

Besides more integrated call handling, other benefits of the project include reduced operational expenditure and greater flexibility to roll out new services to the phone-using staff.

The insurance firm runs predominantly on Microsoft software, including customer relationship management and desktop systems. It uses Microsoft SQL 2005 reporting services, and Citrix software to support most of its applications.

Last month, Towergate bought software firm Open International to secure its supply-and-offer software which is widely used in the insurance industry.

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