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Managing an in-house business communications system is time-consuming. Some companies do not have the manpower or the time to oversee the required maintenance on an onsite system. InfoSnap, based out of Austin, Texas, decided that without a telephony technician on staff, they would continue with a hosted telephone service, but was it possible to upgrade their current service to one that cost less, without sacrificing quality, flexibility, or the features of a full-scale unified communications (UC) solution? The new service needed to be stable, versatile, and cost-effective. Put to the test, Digium’s hosted Cloud Services solution with UC had the most to offer at the best price. The first step required assessing InfoSnap’s current relationship with Cypress Communications. The stability of the existing Internet/telephone provider was in question after having changed hands multiple times in the past few years. It took some work configuring InfoSnap’s cloud-hosted support systems because both the previous network and bandwidth was insufficient.
“We had been with Cypress for five years and our contract was up for renewal,” says Jonathan Issler, director of Operational Technology at InfoSnap. “We were paying a lot of money but we were not really happy. We had continued to grow, adding users without any analysis on how it was affecting costs. When we saw we had doubled the cost of the original contract, we knew it was time to look at options for a new system.”
Headquartered in Austin with an office in Bethesda, Maryland, InfoSnap provides online registration solutions to over 600 public, charter, and private schools internationally. These services dramatically cut costs and time associated with admissions, enrollment, signing up for summer camp or extracurricular activities. The forms must be easy to use, but require powerful reporting and reviewing capabilities to manage the incoming data. They also need background tracking to improve communications between students, families, and the school. “We have a process for protecting private biographical information and anything else a school needs to enroll a student; and we manage web interfaces that can approve, filter, process, correct, and deliver accurate information to the appropriate databases.”
Issler says they were not sure where to start in finding a hosted solution that would easily integrate with their existing proprietary CRM software. They called on longtime business partner, ARG Solutions to make a recommendation. “ARG has been around the industry for a long time and we trusted them to make a sound recommendation while we continued to do our own internalresearch,” says Issler.
“I tinker in open source software, and I had seen demos of Asterisk on the server. I was familiar with the power it had,” says Issler. He also knew Digium owned Switchvox, an all-inclusive VoIP PBX solution, powered by Asterisk. His fear was that an Asterisk configuration required technical knowledge he wasn’t sure he had, nor the resources or time to dedicate to it.
A local cloud-based communications provider introduced InfoSnap to Digium’s hosted Cloud-based solution. The company focused their services on helping businesses transition into the cloud by starting with the most active targets: phone, email, and data backup. They began running demos and trials, testing all of the servers, the new Digium HDVoice VoIP phones, the IVR support systems, etc.
It was clear InfoSnap could move to a more flexible and sophisticated hosted system for half the cost of their current setup. Compared to ARG’s recommendation, both would bring costs down by about 50 percent, but Digium’s cost was just slightly less than Earthlink Business. ”Ultimately, EarthLink Business wasn’t as easy to configure or as customizable, so we went with the Digium,” says Issler.
InfoSnap bought 120 Digium D-40 high definition phone sets that support advanced integrated applications like voicemail, call log, contacts, phone status, user presence, parking, and queue metrics so the user can access information instantly.
“We were trying to get everything up and running before school started back but when it came time to sign the contract, they asked us if we could hold off for a couple of weeks. That put us into mid-September, but even with a 90-day delay, it worked out when we discovered Digium was clearing the way for their new subsidiary, Digium Cloud Services in Austin.”
Digium’s acquired Cloud Services in September 2013, bringing all sales, operations, and support under the Digium Cloud Services umbrella. Digium manages the hosted service end-to-end, tightly integrating and easily expanding services as needed.