Norfolk College switches underperforming standalone phone system for one integrated with Microsoft 365.

THE CLIENT

Top performing college
East Norfolk Sixth Form college was established in 1982 and is the home of learning to over 1600 students. It is the top performing Sixth Form College for Great Yarmouth and Waveney.
Teams Phone Systems

THE CHALLENGE

Unresolved issues
When Julie Biggs took over the IT Projects Manager role at East Norfolk, there were some serious technical issues with the phone system which were not going away, despite the college having a pricey support contract. Julie brought DMS in to make good, having used their services in a previous role elsewhere. The College didn’t renew its support contract and continues to enjoy DMS’ more flexible support arrangement.
Hacking last straw
The College already had a digital phone system, but in early 2023 the application they were using was hacked. When their telephone maintenance company ran a software update the college, and other system users, lost the ability to make external calls. Confidence in the system was rocked.

THE SOLUTION

Making the most of the Microsoft licence
Julie decided to look at Microsoft Teams. She liked the idea of having a system that would integrate with other applications that were in daily use. The College already had a Microsoft A5 software licence which included the Teams phone system. It was all very appealing.

DMS took on the work, including it in their network support contract. The arrangement with the phone company could be terminated after the handover.

THE PROCESS

Consultation and background configuration
It was six weeks from initial discussions with DMS to completion, with the work itself taking only three. The system was configured in the background and fully tested with a new temporary number, with no effect on the college. When the testing was complete, and with Julie’s approval, the existing system was set to forward all calls to this new temporary number. Again, the college wasn’t affected as the new system was already working in the background. Then a porting request was made to move the college number to the new system, at which point the old contract was cancelled. Because all the work and testing were done in the background, this final move was seamless too, with no disruption to the college as its regular phone number now belonged to the new MS Teams phone system.

IT Consultancy
Smooth handover
Julie was pleased with the handover; “The phonebook needed some tweaking to transfer to the new system, but everything went very smoothly; voicemail, messages, auto attendants, all working seamlessly from day one.”

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    BENEFITS INCLUDE

    “Our existing handsets worked fine with the new system, so no expense there; many people prefer the headsets connected to their computer, especially for MS Teams meetings”.

    Integration with Microsoft 365
    The integration is a real plus, it’s so much easier and quicker to make a call. Users can click on contacts within Microsoft applications to make calls; before, our phone book which was only available within the phone system so had to be accessed separately.

    Device flexibility
    The ability to use mobiles or other devices is beneficial too, so staff can stay in touch wherever they are, saving time leaving or listening and responding to voicemails. 

    THE SAVINGS

    Savings and support streamlining

    Implementing MS Teams phone system at East Norfolk College has saved money and streamlined the technical support.

    “We were using two physical servers for the previous telephone system and associated firewall which were on their last legs. Straight away we saved the cost of replacing these” said Julie”.

    Now the College pays less than £100 for their Monthly ISP Phone Costs for SIP trunks with Call Bundle.  Except for some headsets, there are no additional hardware or peripheral costs; existing handsets have been configured  for the new system. And, there is no longer an additional maintenance contract, DMS covers the phone system as part of the network, providing support as and when required.