Focus Group helps a top-flight architect practice overcome a major telephony challenge.>
When the phone system at its regional office failed, Peter Taylor Associates Limited needed to get a new system up-and-running in a matter of days.
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Peter Taylor Associates Limited (PTAL) is a well-established architecture practice that serves both the private and public sectors.
Founded in 1978, the company operates from regional offices located in London, Birmingham and East Sussex and is proud of its reputation for providing services that meet - and exceed - client expectations.
As a leading designer of residential and mixed-use schemes, the practice offers pre- and post-planning architectural services and is frequently engaged in complex projects that require intense liaison with design and build contractors. So, when a major power surge took down an ageing telephony system at its East Sussex office in Uckfield, the disruption to office communications proved devastating, as Will Taylor, Company Secretary at PTAL explains:
"The implications of the loss of our phone system were significant. We had to divert our main phone line to office mobiles, which were ringing off the hook. The limitations of our digital telephone system meant we weren't able to route inbound calls to our other sites - as a result, the pressure was well and truly on to maintain open lines of communications with clients and off-site project teams."
Keen to resolve their communications conundrum fast, PTAL called on Focus Group to come up with a solution.
Focus Group would have the know-how to come up with a resolution that could be put in place quickly.
"Responsible for maintaining the telephony systems at our London and Uckfield sites, we were confident that Focus Group would have the know-how to come up with a resolution that could be put in place quickly," says Will.
"True to form, they were very quick to respond. Within the week they had purchased, set up and installed a new IP telephony system on our behalf - ensuring that all 30 of our on-site users were confident about using all the new system's features."
"Despite the fact that we were up against it, in terms of timescales, Focus Group was incredibly diligent when it came to laying-out the options open to us," continues Will.
"Evaluating our current operating environment and projected future requirements, they provided some carefully thought-out recommendations on the best way to move forward and were very helpful and quick to respond when we had questions or needed advice. Looking back, it was clear they wanted to ensure that the urgency of our current predicament didn't pressurise us into making a 'panic' decision that in the long run would prove untenable for the business."
With the way forward agreed, Focus Group's engineering team took just one day to complete the on-site installation. Ideal for fast-growing businesses, the newly installed Ericsson-LG communication platform is packed with out-of-the-box features like voicemail, voicemail to email and on-demand call recording.
In the event of a disaster, the new IP telephony system means it will be possible to instantly move services across to one of the company's other office locations, without loss of functionality or expensive call forwarding costs.
"From my perspective, what's truly impressive about Focus Group is how they were able to get us out of a communications blackhole in an incredibly fast timescale. When something like this happens, you need to be confident you're working with a partner that is more than motivated to resolve issues fast," explains Will.
The Uckfield office is already reaping the rewards of its telephony update and has initiated a series of advanced call-handling hunt groups to optimise the management of incoming calls.
"It's made an enormous difference to how we answer calls. In a fast-paced business like ours, callers want to talk to people first so they can get decisions in motion without delay."
For the future, plans are already in hand to network the company's Uckfield, London and then its Birmingham offices - a step that will give PTAL even greater communications flexibility. Evaluating how this will advance the company's responsiveness, Will says that it's "when working on projects, it's important that internal communications within PTAL are as easy and practical as they can be to ensure everyone is working together towards the same goal."
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