Imagine you’re an executive leading the information technology sector for a rapidly growing company with five locations, partially funded by the state, so your budgets are limited and scrutinized. Now imagine the organization is a healthcare agency, which must maintain compliance with increasingly strict regulations. Add the fact that many new employees are contract workers and need access to sensitive information, but only for a limited amount of time.
Lastly, imagine you must support employees who are constantly travelling between your five locations, as well as to hospitals, schools, clients’ homes, halfway houses, and other treatment facilities.
Now stop imagining and meet Mike Mann, Vice President of Information Technology for Intercommunity Action. Intercommunity Action (Interact) has served Philadelphia residents for more than 45 years with a variety of services including behavioral health and developmental disabilities programs, drug and alcohol addiction counseling, and senior citizen services.
Effective communication with various stakeholders is crucial to the organization’s ability to generate awareness, raise funds, and support its mission, while also meeting increasingly stringent demands and decreasing parameters to work within. Outdated technology and a lack of centralized control rendered effective communication nearly impossible for Interact.
In the spirit of tackling challenges one step at a time, the first thing Mann had to do was to unify the agency’s communications networks so that it was easy for incoming callers to find the right employee, no matter their location. Second, he had to make it easier for the staff to communicate between sites. With their previous setup of separate phone systems at each site, calling someone at another location meant dialling the full number.
Mann wanted his employees to have extension dialling so all of Interact could communicate as if it were all under one roof—bridging the gaps between departments and breaking down silos. Essentially, he wanted it to function as one business working toward common endpoints, rather than five businesses overlapping disjointed endpoints.
By replacing all five phone systems with one unified communications system operating entirely in the cloud (OfficeSuite Phone®) and moving email to Broadview’s cloud-based email service, Mann achieved his goals and gave his mobile employees remote access to calls, voicemails, and emails. Since OfficeSuite Phone® is not based on SIP technology—which stores some data in physical devices—it allows users to seamlessly switch between devices, increasing flexibility and mobility without any fallback or disservice to the people they service.
Being 100 percent in the cloud means that no data is stored in the phones; instead, the phones are input devices, like touch-screen monitors, and communicate among computers to translate the users’ touches. Since no intelligence is contained within the phones, a smooth transition is finally achievable. This enables Interact’s mobile workers to transform their mobile phone or a phone at another site into their work phone, with their individual speed-dial settings and voicemail, without needing help.
Once the agency’s communications were housed 100 percent in the cloud, Mann needed a way to manage it all. He had given the gift of flexibility and mobility to his employees to better serve their role within the organization, so now he needed a solution to serve his role as the keeper of this technology. Unified Communications networks boast not only mobility and flexibility but also scalability and accessibility.
Mike leveraged the tech to delegate tasks, allow different levels of access to various ranks within the organization, and most importantly allow employees to manage their own services based on their individual needs.
Mann’s days of spending hours performing simple changes for the staff are long gone. Employing a Unified Communications network among the multi-site organization ultimately allowed him to embark on a journey toward seamless growth and opportunity for an organization whose mission is to serve others, rather than get caught in a world of chaotic and complicated technologies.
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