The Multiple Sclerosis Society and Hosted VoIP
The Business Background
The Multiple Sclerosis Society is the UK's largest charity for people affected by Multiple Sclerosis. The Society, whose mission is to help enable people suffering with MS to live their lives to full potential, funds MS research, runs respite care centres, provides grants, education and training on MS.
The MS Society, which was founded in 1953 and has 350 local branches across the UK with a central office based in London and regional headquarters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is a large charity that in terms of its operations should be viewed to have the same needs as a large corporation. Furthermore Many MS sufferers work for the society whether from home, central or regional offices.
As a charity, the MS Society need to make sure they are getting the best possible service in terms of cost and quality, every cost is accountable. Any expenditure that isn't bettering their company or their cause is deemed wasteful. Having the most cost effective technology that enhances communication is therefore an essentiality.
Unique industry with unique Business Needs
The Multiple Sclerosis Society has unique business and personnel needs. MS is a debilitating disease and the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults. The MS Society makes it their mission to employ MS sufferers, either within their offices throughout the UK or as home-workers. These home-workers need to be able to be a part of the larger office network and contactable at all times within the communications system, be it currently via office email and phone and in the near future by video conferencing.
Furthermore The MS Society had needed to cut down their constant travelling for meetings between the four regional locations throughout the UK. As a Company that need to look at every outgoing cost they needed a solution that would enhance inter-company communications with such features as video conferencing and therefore reducing the need to meet in person. Furthermore to have a communications solution, which enabled home-workers to be contactable by a simple extension code, as well as appearing on the larger network was ideal.
Understanding the Clients' Needs
Previously, each home worker would simply use their own home phone, on their own home phone number. Not ideal, and almost impossible due to the preparations of conducting conference calls and transferring calls.
Put simply The MS Society needed a new phone system that would support their status of a forward thinking and well-resourced organisation. The existing phone system at the head office was thought to be at least 12 years old and was prohibitive in that it would not scale up to accept any more users. Furthermore the lack of features was also becoming restrictive to the Society's work so the decision was made that a new, modern, scalable IP phone system was needed. Furthermore The MS Society needed a cost-effective and future-proof communications infrastructure that would allow the sharing of important information via voice, data and ultimately video conferencing across all four regions.
With many home workers suffering from MS, and with some unable to get online or able to efficiently use a softphone, a bespoke IP solution was essential. Furthermore for the MS Society workforce to get full usage from the solution one-to-one management, site installation and individual training was essential.
Innovative Solution for Greater Productivity
MS Society needed a new telephone system and asked their communications consultancy, IP Solutions, to source a provider. IP Solutions invited Voicenet Solutions, a leading UK hosted VoIP supplier to tender and were then contracted to implement the system.
Voicenet Solutions could have simply given MSS and their 4 main offices a shiny new phone system and left it at that. Instead, however after extensive consultation gathering information on the needs of all employees and their communication usage and the
logistics around the many locations including home-workers, Voicenet Solutions were able to devise a rollout of the product that would enable the MS society to gain as much from their new communications solution as possible.