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Headquartered in Dublin, with sales offices in New York, Boston and San Francisco, Kleinwort Benson Investors (KBI) is a global financial services company that has been managing assets for institutional clients for over 30 years. With over 80 employees in Ireland, the firm had outgrown its Dublin offices and was a planning a move to a new location in the Irish Financial Services Centre.
The move presented an opportunity to upgrade an ageing telephone system and take advantage of advances in communications. “We had an in-house PBX which was ten years old. It was very old equipment so we took the decision to leave it where it was,” said John Riordan, Network Manager at KBI. “We had to decide whether to get an in-house PBX or venture out onto the cloud.”
The advantage of the hosted model is that companies subscribe to telephony-as-a-service, turning a capital expense into an operational cost. No more hardware investment, maintenance or management; the cloud provider takes care of everything, enabling the client company to focus on core business. KBI weighed up the benefits and decided to go the cloud route. A good experience with BT, which had supported the firm’s old PBX and provided network services, persuaded KBI that it had found the right provider. It was timely because BT had just launched its Cloud Contact product, a contact centre solution that can also be used as a full-featured PBX.
KBI uses voice recording and fax-to-desktop functionality that would have required multiple providers and added significant costs if it had gone for an on-site PBX. “The support charges for all the different pieces would have worked out far more expensive on-premise than going to the cloud with BT, where everything is provided under one umbrella,” explained Riordan.
BT Cloud Contact gives organisations a highly scalable communications platform that delivers telephony and other features back to clients as a service.
Hosted in BT’s data centre, it ticks boxes for KBI by relieving the burden of having to manage and maintain an on-site PBX, while guaranteeing the levels of security and compliance a financial services company needs around storing and recording phone calls, fax-to-desktop functionality, and a duty of care to ensure that communications are always available and opitimised.
All of these requirements are fulfilled by BT Cloud Contact. It also provides features that are important to the firm: intelligent call routing; call recording and storage.
KBI also uses BT IP Connect from BT, a Virtual Private Network that provides the performance, reliability, and security of a leased-line network with any-to-any scalability and enables telephony to be prioritised as a business critical application. With its previous provider, connectivity was confined to a broadband link which gave the firm limited bandwidth and security guarantees.
The decision taken, the migration began. Switching out a PBX service is never easy but Riordan was pleased with the way BT managed the transition. “We raised issues as they came up and BT was on them straight away. There is nothing that I could fault,” he said.
As well as fulfilling the business criteria and relieving the inhouse IT function of managing a PBX, BT Cloud Contact typically delivers a 25-30 per cent cost saving over the old PBX. “And that’s not including call costs, that’s just looking at the annual subscription charge,” said Riordan.
The IP-based phone system is also easier to administer when it comes to adds, moves and changes. A couple of times a year there might be a requirement to move someone’s phone to a different desk. “We can actually administrate it ourselves now, as opposed to having to ring somebody up and asking them to change a name on an extension. It’s quick and simple for us to do,” he said.
Another benefit of the cloud PBX is that it removes the risk of the telephone system going down. With its old PBX, a disaster recovery plan was in place to port numbers to another site if there was a problem. Now, because it sits in the cloud, it’s not an issue. “It really doesn’t matter where you are,” said Riordan. “You have your phone, you plug it in, and you’re up and running.”
KBI has invested in a BT solution that can facilitate further expansion while allowing the business to concentrate on generating revenue rather than worrying about technology. A classic example of how the cloud adds value, it also demonstrates that even the PBX, a stalwart piece of kit owned by almost every business, can be moved and made more agile.
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Download the Kleinwort Benson Investors Case Study