Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) serves over 4,500 members across the city region’s 10 local authority areas.
Providing a range of advisory and support services to businesses which range from sole-traders to major corporates, it is the UK’s largest Chamber of Commerce.
The GMCC has enjoyed a long relationship with Avoira, beginning with provision of mobile telephone consultancy services and, in 2015, the installation of a cost-saving and service-enhancing SIP trunked Avaya IP Office communication solution.
With that Avaya solution ageing and Covid restrictions creating new communication demands, in 2020 the Chamber again turned to Avoira for a state-of-the-art solution.
The first Covid lockdown saw the Chamber having to close its prestigious offices in Manchester then, when restrictions eased, social distancing rules limited access to just ten people. Then, as government curbs again tightened, its doors once more closed.
Through these disruptions, GMCC’s 35 staff needed to work remotely in order to continue delivering the vital services upon which its members rely.
“It was quite hard for people to get hold of us and for us to make calls when we were working from home,” explains Head of Research, Subrah Krishnan Harihara. “Addressing those limitations was the real driver for considering a new solution.”
To do so, Subrah was looking to integrate external telephony with GMCC’s existing technology, notably Microsoft Teams. “The key thing was to have one tool for internal and external communications.”
We recommended upgrading GMCC’s Teams by enabling Direct Routing, a low-cost subscription service which enables calls to be made and received over any Teams enabled device using existing DDIs.
“Amongst the various options available to us, integrating telephony with Microsoft Teams, a tool that people were already using on a day-to-day basis, seemed a logical step-forward,” says Subrah. He notes that familiarity had come from the lockdown-driven use of Teams videoconferencing which “staff took to it very easily and found it very beneficial.”
With the additional service demands created by Covid set to be exacerbated by Brexit and the coming on January 1st of new procedures, Subrah requested Avoira enable the additional functionality over the Christmas break.
We conducted a remote migration from the Avaya system which was “very smooth,” says Subrah. “Avoira made it very easy for us. All we really had to do was supply the names to which extensions could be allocated and the rest was handled by the Avoira team.”
Following that successful implementation, GMCC is now looking to secure further benefits by augmenting Direct Routing with Clobba recording and analytics tools.
GMCCs staff can now easily make and receive calls via the Teams client on their laptops, tablets or mobiles, wherever they are, without needing to access another application or service.
“If we’d gone for another solution, we would have been using Teams for our internal communications and videoconference, then a separate tool for external calls. That’s not efficient,” emphasises Subrah.
He also sees the solution adding value once the immediate Covid crisis is over. “Teams, Office 365 and other cloud-based technologies will be absolutely critical in helping organisations ensure they are resilient against other disruptions, even a localised internet outage. Who know what’s around the corner?”