Hosted IP/PABX cuts down costs

Thursday, 25 November, 2010

Point Project Management (PPM) is one of Australia’s leading project management consultancies, operating within the building and property industry. PPM provides project management services to clients in both the public and private sectors. With 23 employees operating across its three Australian offices and the relocation of its headquarters, PPM required a phone system that could support the company’s fast-paced growth.

The challenge they faced was increasing business efficiency while maintaining company growth. Since its inception in 2006, PPM has experienced exponential growth. In four years, the company has grown from one staff member in Canberra to 53 staff in six offices across Australia and providing services as far as Papua New Guinea.

The company needed a scalable phone system that could grow with their business, while increasing business efficiencies. Employees were also often shifting between offices, so the company needed a phone system that could address their need for seamless communications.

“Our company was expanding rapidly, with three new offices opening across the country and overseas and additional staff members. We needed a reliable and efficient phone system that could provide flexibility to accommodate our organisation’s changing needs,” said Brendan Bilston, Managing Director at PPM.

“It was essential that we acquired a phone system that could support our consultants’ call needs no matter where they were located - at our headquarters or clients’ sites - and traditional phone lines do not offer that flexibility. The system needed to be scalable and flexible to support the business as it grew. Diverting calls is a very involved process with traditional PABXs,” he added.

“We didn’t want to have a PABX in every state, which would be costly. There was also the question of allowing for calls between offices that would not be too costly, whether these were within Australia or with our overseas offices,” he said.

After some research, evaluation and deliberation, PPM decided that a VoIP phone system would be the most beneficial.

“VoIP would provide cheaper calls if we could find a hosted solution rather than paying for costly infrastructure. More importantly, VoIP also offers more flexibility, integration with our email, and would be scalable. We needed an enterprise-level solution but didn’t have enterprise-level budgets,” Bilston said.

Bilston and his team evaluated M5 Networks Australia along with other hosted VoIP providers. After an extensive screening process, M5 was appointed to provide and manage PPM’s voice services due to its expertise in hosted IP phone systems and additional features that it was able to customise to PPM’s particular needs.

A ‘one company’ IP phone system utilising a single hosted telecommunications framework was installed, removing the need for PPM to purchase and manage the system. The system allows all PPM offices to operate on one network which permits free internal calls through a four-digit extension for each end user.

M5 also customised the system so that users shifting between offices could log in to any desk phone, installed at desks in every Australian office. Another major feature was the ability for employees to make calls via their laptops. This enables calls to be received and made through M5’s system so that call quality remained high, and provide clients with surety that they can reach their PPM adviser anywhere.

PPM was also able to centralise its call handling to a single reception located in the head office in Canberra. This has become the national reception for all call enquiries across all of PPM’s offices.

“As a relatively small company, we don’t have a dedicated IT department. Having our phone system hosted for us has changed the way we use our phones because we are able to take advantage of the system’s state-of-the-art functionalities like big companies do without needing to manage it ourselves,” he added.

PPM was able to utilise a single telecommunication framework that allowed for free internal calls between offices and remote sites resulting in lower cost of calls. The company also receives just one invoice for all its offices.

“We were also able to centralise our calls to the head office in Canberra where our reception desk is located, eliminating the need to have receptionists in every state and providing cost savings for the company. Our receptionist has full visibility into who is available and who is currently on a call, so she can decide to take a message or put the person on hold,” Bilston said.

“Overall, we have saved about 40% in call costs while we have been with M5,” he added.

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