Client: Douglas Macmillan Hospice
Established in 1972 in North Staffordshire, Douglas Macmillan Hospice provides specialist palliative care to adults with progressive, advanced disease and a limited life expectancy. The Hospice employs around 220 staff and has the support of over 700 volunteers who work in all areas of the hospice as well as a network of 20 hospice shops.
Unified Communications and Structure Data Cabling
Cisco 7900 Series IP Phones
Cisco 2921 Series Integrated Services Router
Cisco Unified Presence
Number of users: 150 phones on network
Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 5000 contains voice, messaging, mobility, and video capabilities integrated as an all-in-one system on a single server.
We worked with MLR Networks on our Cisco Wireless Network implementation; they understood our needs and we knew we could trust them…We had no hesitation in working with them for our Unified Communications solution.
The Hospice chose Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 5000 and MLR Networks, a Cisco Premier Partner and an existing IT partner with the Hospice.
The new system, designed and installed by MLR Networks, is made up of 150 Cisco 7900 Series IP telephones with voice, messaging and mobility and Presence functionality. “We already had a relationship with MLR Networks, we worked with them on our Cisco Wireless Network implementation; they understood our needs and we knew we could trust them to work in sensitive areas of the Hospice. We had no hesitation in working with them for our Unified Communications solution” says John Mayer IT Manager, Douglas Macmillan Hospice. Timing was critical; any delay would impact on the start date for the building work. The system was configured off-site and installed at the Hospice over a two-week period. The transition from the outdated telephony system was smooth; with full training provided to all 50 volunteer reception staff, with no downtime and minimum disruption to the normal running of the Hospice. During the design stage MLR Networks identified a lack of cabling which could have disrupted the installation of the new system. However, as proven experts in structured cabling, they installed additional fibre optic and Cat 5 cabling without any extra delay.
“Being able to move users and desktop phones easily has been the greatest benefit so far. Our reception area has been in four physical locations in the past six months and we have relocated them with no downtime at all to incoming call handling; we simply pick up the phone and plug it in at its new location, all set up is then automatic,” says John Mayer
Many of the medical and nursing staff are not office based so can be difficult to reach. With Single Number Reach, calls can be automatically routed to a range of devices, from the desk handset, to laptops, smart phones and tablets; staff can be contacted as easily as if they were in an office. Using Jabber and Cisco Unified Presence functionality, staff are able to let their colleagues know when they are available and messages can be passed on using instant messenger, even when the user is offline.
Lowering the total cost of ownership
“We had a perception that Cisco would be more expensive, however the maintenance plan provided by MLR Networks is considerably cheaper than the outgoing system and of a much higher standard. Taking this into consideration over a five-year period, we expect the system to work out more cost effective than upgrading the old PABX.”
As part of the maintenance contract MLR Networks provides 24 x 7 monitoring from its head office in Cheshire which enables its engineers to provide proactive maintenance and support services.
“We’ve worked with MLR before so we knew we would get a professional support service, with a personal touch. If I need to, I can speak directly to an engineer without going through a large call centre first. The 24/7 proactive fault monitoring service, spots any problems as they arise – someone at MLR will ring us if something is wrong, often before we have even noticed”
Proactive professional maintenance and support
In the future, the Hospice can add further capability to their system, such as apps for smart phones to support home working. The 20 Hospice shops could be added to the network, potentially lowering the Hospice’s communications bills.
“From a technology standpoint, our preferred system was always Cisco, we knew we would be future proofing our investment.”