Improve Productivity & Cost Efficiency

Case Studies

The University of Parma



The University of Parma has 30,000 students, 1,100 lecturers and 1,000 technical and administrative employees in numerous faculty buildings scattered around the old Italian city of Parma. The University wanted to upgrade their communications infrastructure – an iS3000 network comprising ten separate systems installed almost 15 years previously – to reduce costs and improve efficiency. NEC proposed an IP-based solution using the UNIVERGE Communication Server, initially to operate in combination with an existing iS3000 network, but eventually intended to replace it. A MA4000 management solution was used to ensure a smooth migration to IP telephony, re-using the existing terminals and applications while increasing overall productivity. MA4000 can manage all an organization's voice servers simultaneously with virtually no interaction by the administrator on a daily basis. Its user-friendly interface is simple and requires almost no training, so an administrator can begin using the management system immediately.

The implementation itself took only two working days. The first day was to check the existing PBX configuration, making adjustments in preparation for a smooth transition. The second day was used to train the administrators and perform functionality tests.

The university now enjoys vastly improved communications, enabling faculty and staff to work together far more efficiently. Major savings in travel costs and commuting times have been achieved, access and response to calls from outside have been streamlined, and server capacity has been upgraded. And all this has been achieved while at the same time reducing costs.

A great advantage of the SV7000 solution is that migration can be phased to take place at whatever speed suits the client's needs. Many past investments in equipment and training can be retained since the network enables seamless interoperation with existing assets while raising network management efficiency and supporting new productivity enhancing applications such as presence and unified communications.

College of the Canyons



College of the Canyons is a community college in Santa Clarita, California with a student population of more than 24,000. California's recent financial crisis posed a serious challenge for the college: at the same time as state funding was significantly cut, enrollment applications skyrocketed. “A lot of people who were out of work enrolled in community college to get additional training for their current career or for a different career altogether,” says Robert Betancourt, Telecom Coordinator for College of the Canyons. Calls from outside were increasing, with switchboard operators taking about 1,000 incoming calls on ordinary days and double that number during registration periods and special events. Typically, incoming calls to the campus were answered by the school's auto attendant, which gave callers a list of departments from which to choose. The calls are routed from there. But as call volume increased, the automated attendant became increasingly difficult to navigate, and external callers as well as campus staff became frustrated with long hold times. Operators were inundated, as the bottleneck at the switchboard created a vicious cycle.

“Our automated attendant system was antiquated and didn't really serve our needs anymore,” says Betancourt. With resources for new technology purchases also tight, the school sought the most cost-effective way to improve customer service, to enhance and allocate existing resources as efficiently as possible.

The answer was a contact-center solution from NEC called UCB (UC for Business). With its robust features for contact-center and front-desk operations, UCB alleviated the bottleneck in incoming calls while allowing dynamic allocation of resources. An announcement feature provides callers with status, wait times and progression of their call. “Telling callers why they are on hold and keeping them updated as time progresses ensures callers won't hang up just as they reach the front of the queues,” says Betancourt. Callers can also decide if they want to hold or call back, which improves customer satisfaction, and the announcement feature can direct callers to resources on the school's website. UCB also has presence, which lets switchboard operators see who is available so they can easily and quickly make informed decisions before transferring calls. Betancourt concludes “They totally understood our situation and how tough it can be to explain to college decision makers the need for more resources in a recessionary environment. NEC's solution is helping us solve some of our challenges and do things better utilizing what we have.”