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Home-Start Lincolnshire, the family support charity, has modernised its various telephone and conferencing communication systems to provide more flexibility for its employees and volunteers, and reduce costs. The organisation has deployed an innovative cloud-based unified communications (UC) solution from VIA so staff can stay better connected when working from their various office locations, at home, or when out on home visits with the local families they support.

 Driven by a business need to reduce costs, the decision was taken to consolidate the number of office buildings they operated out of by over 50% – reducing down from nine to four locations. As a result, the charity wanted to ensure that staff could work remotely, but still be easily and simply connected to each other and have seamless telephone system capabilities regardless of where they were working from. In addition, the organisation also wanted to reduce the time and costs of having to operate and manage many different fixed telephone systems.

 As part of an IT Transformation project, which included migrating to Microsoft Office 365, the charity chose to replace all separate legacy telephone (PBX) systems with VIA Voice, the cloud-based Skype for Business UC solution which seamlessly integrates with Office 365.

 The VIA Voice solution operates securely over the Internet with all communications encrypted end-to-end, therefore protecting sensitive information. It allows employees to freely talk, Instant Message (IM), audio/video chat and email across a variety of devices, such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

 As a part of the agreement with VIA, Home-Start Lincolnshire staff can make calls to UK landline telephone numbers free of charge, helping to reduce annual operating expenses and provide certainty when budgeting. VIA Voice’s conferencing facility enables staff to setup and host audio and video conference calls with both internal staff and external third parties for free.

 The charity also has access to the VIA Portal, which enables customers to simply and easily setup and manage unlimited inbound telephone call flow routes which includes time-of-day routing, Auto Attendant, touch-tone Interactive Voice Response (IVR) messages, department ring groups and group voicemail. These capabilities ensure inbound telephone calls to the charity are directed and handled in the most efficient and effective way, straight to the appropriate staff.

 Tracey Ruddock, Chief Executive at Home-Start Lincolnshire, said: “Replacing our separate conventional telephony and audio conferencing systems with VIA Voice has helped us to boost workforce collaboration and productivity, which is extremely important when providing services to those in need. The new platform gives our employees more freedom and flexibility, whilst also helping us to make significant cost savings.

 Alex Tebbs, Director at VIA, said: “Home-Start Lincolnshire provides valuable services across a large geographical area stretching more than 2,500 square miles, so staff are constantly on the move. VIA’s mission is to help Microsoft’s customers (especially those who have adopted Office 365) to leverage and maximise their investment and reduce unnecessary third party costs. VIA achieves this by providing a single, consistent UC user experience based around Skype for Business with key enhancements. The VIA Voice solution provides the charity’s employees with greater access to work-based applications and allows them to be in constant communication with their colleagues, even when carrying out home visits.”

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