Travel firm discovers converged new world

For TQ3Navigant, the primary reason for making the move to VoIP is to reduce the costs of maintaining its telecommunications infrastructure.

The North American corporate travel management company provides end-to-end travel services such as corporate airline, hotel and rental car bookings; travel management consulting; and meeting and convention planning.

According to Mark Haggerty, IT manager, Canadian region, TQ3Navigant, the firm was previously using a networked ACD product from Mitel and was looking to upgrade to VoIP, along with the network capability to include multiple agents in a queue.

With several Canadian offices, TQ3Navigant wanted to standardize its voice communications network. After looking at various other options, TQ3Navigant migrated to Mitel’s 3300 IP Communications Platform (ICP), which features embedded voicemail and unified messaging. TQ3Navigant agents work in a team environment, Haggerty said.

“It’s not a call centre, per se, where you have one phone number that everyone connects to. You actually have three agents to speak to on your team and everyone is provided with a dedicated consultant.”

But during periods of downtime, TQ3Navigant wanted to have a consultant helping out another team. “The 3300 allows you to sign in to multiple queues…that was one of the main reasons [for moving to VoIP],” he said.

According to Paul Butcher, chief operating officer at Kanata, Ont.-based Mitel Networks Corp., organizations first need to understand what security implications are around VoIP and have a strategy around it.

VoIP isn’t just about cutting long-distance calling costs anymore — the technology is more about running and supporting convergent applications, Butcher said.

“To run remote access, collaboration presence, ad hoc videoconferencing — all the things you can do in that converged world, is why people do it,” Butcher said. “If you’ve got legacy PBX and legacy network connections, the client can keep those and we can actually augment that structure with convergent [products]. And between those two worlds — the legacy world and the convergent world — we can get transparent connectivity.”

TQ3Navigant also has a number of remote workers — remote access was a key reason for the switch to VoIP, Butcher added. “Typically if you have a non-VoIP system, you have a phone number coming into a PBX and then it leaves the PBX and goes to a home office number.”

The new VoIP-enabled system means that these remote agents can be dedicated to the team as if they were in the office, Butcher noted.

According to a recent survey, cost savings is noted as one of the key drivers when it comes to the strategic decision to implement VoIP and other converged applications. Based on a Nemertes Research survey of 90 IT executives, the startup costs of a VoIP network will be offset in the long run by “significant savings.”

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