Ohio Business Machines (OBM) is a premier vendor of multifunction digital copier systems and document management software solutions. It brings more than 30 years of experience to the copy solutions business with a dedicated team of account managers and industry consultants who focus on processes and requirements driving documentation and other work flow activities. With offices in Cleveland and Toledo, OBM strives to provide customers with quick response and support throughout its service area of northern Ohio and and southeastern Michigan.
When OBM’s aging phone system and slow data services started inhibiting its customer response time, they called Tim May, sales manager at the business communications service provider N2Net, to find out how they could improve their communications and help employees to continue performing at high levels.
At the Cleveland and Toledo offices, OBM had separate, outdated phone systems that could no longer be supported. This became problematic over time as key features of the phone systems needed to be updated and there was no one available with the knowledge to do it.
OBM’s data infrastructure presented problems as well. Email took as long as 15 to 20 minutes to arrive in inboxes. The enterprise resource planning (ERP) system also ran slow as it was located in the Toledo office while most of the users were based in the Cleveland office and had to connect to it via DSL lines. At the same time, OBM sought to roll out a customer relationship management (CRM) system that was virtually impossible to do under its data infrastructure.
When N2Net analyzed OBM’s situation, it identified that it had two specific needs. OBM needed a phone system that would enable its sales force to be mobile and it needed reporting and certain call center features, such as the ability to listen in, whisper and barge in on sales calls. N2Net is a longtime reseller of Digium and May knew that Digium’s Switchvox Unified Communications phone system could meet OBM’s needs.
N2Net created an offering called Switchvox as a Service (SVXaaS) that it sells to customers at a flat rate per seat per month. In OBM’s case, because May knew the company very well, he rented them the 80 phones they required so they didn’t have a capital expenditure to purchase phones. So for essentially a flat monthly price per seat, OBM received the extensions, the usage, installation and IT management it needed. May also renegotiated the contracts with AT&T to include a new data infrastructure that SVXaaS runs on.
“OBM was able to implement a new 80-seat phone system without any real capital expense,” May said. “After restructuring with AT&T and adding Switchvox as a Service, OBM is only paying $200 more than what they were already paying for, which was a lot of services that weren’t working for them.”
After a two-week soft cut where employees had both the old and new phones on their desks, the new phone system first went live in Cleveland and then in Toledo shortly thereafter. OBM has enjoyed the benefits of the mobility, status, reporting and cell center features.
OBM has sales people in multiple offices that are highly mobile; more than half are in the office for only an hour or two a day. With Switchvox, they are now able to have their calls routed to their cell phones and they can also make calls from their cell phones that output the office caller ID rather than their personal phone number. While in the field, they are also able to receive voice mails in their email inbox to help them respond to customers in a timely manner. Additionally, OBM now has the ability to know the status of each sales rep. For example, if a rep is giving a demo to a customer, OBM will not try to put calls through to the rep to disrupt the meeting.
The call center and reporting features built into Switchvox have also been extremely important to OBM during training sessions. With Switchvox, OBM is able to listen in, whisper and barge in on sales training calls which helps groom its new hires – often recent college graduates – into confident sales people. They are also able to generate sales calls reports by extension, which fosters an atmosphere of accountability among the sales team.
In addition to offering SVXaaS, N2Net is also a VMware enterprise partner and migrated four of OBM’s servers to the cloud. This removed the choke points between the Toledo and Cleveland offices, enabling all of its data services to run faster.