Wrexham Glyndŵr University Case Study
Whilst one of the UK’s youngest universities, Wrexham Glyndŵr University boasts a pedigree dating back to 1924, when it first began offering degrees.
It serves students across three campuses. The main site in Wrexham is complemented by a cutting-edge high-level optoelectronics research centre in St. Asaph and a specialist animal sciences facility in rural Northop.
The university had an end-of-life Nortel PABX running off ISDN lines and subject to call charges.
“The network switch was well out of support and we couldn’t get patches for it,” explains the university’s Director of Information Services, Justin Williams. “It was high on the IT risk register and pretty much top of the list of things I was asked to sort out when I joined.”
The university was also keen to embrace digital transformation by transitioning from old world on-premise PABX to new world unified communications.
“The original thinking was to replace like -for-like with a PABX, but, from my experience in previous roles, I was keen to move towards a more integrated, collaborative solution,” confirms Justin. This would also enable acceleration of hybrid and collaborative working which the university had already started to promote.
Another key factor was cost. “The university is very cost-conscious. Anything involving capital investment is given a high level of scrutiny.”
In addition to addressing the university’s creaking telephony infrastructure, the pandemic accelerated the need for collaborative tools.
“People had already started moving away from things like Sharepoint to use Microsoft Teams for collaborative working,” notes Justin.
Avoira’s engineers recommended building on those foundations by integrating Direct Routing with Teams. This cloud-hosted, low-cost subscription service enables calls to be made and received over any Teams enabled device using existing DDIs.
SIP trunks were specified to replace costly ISDN lines and eliminate punitive call charges, with Teams - certified Yealink handsets and EPOS | SENNHEISER headsets recommended for the university’s users.
Finding Avoira’s proposition compelling Justin presented a business case which stated: “ With significantly reduced line rental costs and zero call charges, the Direct Routing option delivers additional functionality, greater flexibility and mobility with significant operational expenditure savings.”
Avoira then partnered with Justin and the university’s Technical Services team to map its implementation. “They were very helpful, discussing how we might best design the solution and be most cost-efficient in terms of getting rid of lines, server circuits and things we didn’t need,” he enthuses. “All that was really good, a really smooth implementation.”
Project planning experience, engineering expertise and partnership working saw seamless integration of Direct Routing.
The solution has delivered what Justin rates as “carrier grade” call quality, impressive reliability and enhanced functionality with features such as auto-attendant, hunt groups , call queuing and conference calling.“
The financial benefits have been substantial. “We’re looking at operational costs savings of around 65%,” reports Justin.
He concludes: “I’ve been delighted at how stable the service has been. That’s testament to the work Avoira and my team did in planning and getting the design and roll-out right.
“It’s been great, a really good project that’s been very well received by everyone.”