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Cementing the competitive advantage

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IPCortex makes it easy for redevelopment specialist to offer superior service and add value to their offering

The IPCortex system delivered:

  • Reduced costs due to simplified management, affordable maintenance and a low total cost of ownership
  • Increased reception staff efficiency due to use of the Open Communications Manager
  • Improved service given to tenants by streamlining configuration and billing process
  • Cutting edge functionality with unparalleled ease of use for staff and tenants
  • Increased value proposition to existing and prospective tenants

About St. Modwen

St. Modwen is the UK’s largest regeneration specialist. Revitalising town centres, historic locations and reclaiming brownfield sites for residential and commercial use, they have over 5000 acres of developable areas and 18 town centre schemes within their portfolio.
At 468 acres, Longbridge is one of their largest schemes. The ex MG Rover site is being redeveloped to include a new town centre, a technology park, 2000 houses and an industrial park. In addition to this, the site is also home to one of St. Modwen’s four UK innovation centres.

The Challenge

A phone system at odds with their core values

When the Innovation Centre at Longbridge was completed in June 2007, St. Modwen chose a digital phone system from a proprietary vendor. Innovation Centre Manager Andrea Bolton quickly found that the system was not a good fit both with their practical requirements and their future plans for the centre.
“Collectively, we didn’t have much experience with IP telephony so we opted for a digital system from a legacy vendor. However, I soon felt that the original system really wasn’t giving us the features we needed to position ourselves as an innovation centre at the forefront of technology. The reception functionality was basic and tenants just had a phone on the desk with voicemail – there was nothing innovative about it and no way for us to use the phone system as another way to add value.”

Management overheads threatening customer service

Andrea had also identified that the overheads of managing the system were making it a challenge to offer the responsive, efficient service that they’d built their value proposition around.
“We found that managing the previous system was very time consuming. The billing process was a nightmare and updating tenants – even just changing the name of the user or company – meant a complicated procedure of downloading and uploading large configuration files. More advanced changes, such as adding users, would mean needing to wait for someone to make the change for us. We’re hot on service here at Longbridge, and with two buildings, over 40 companies and 350 users it’s easy to see that it wouldn’t take long to have a negative impact on that service.”

The Solution

Andrea didn’t have to wait long to find an opportunity for change.
“We were forecasted to reach 20-30% occupancy within the first year of opening, but interest was actually far greater and before we knew it we were set to reach 80%. Fortunately, we’d only purchased handsets to cater for the forecasted users so rather than continue with the previous system we saw it as the perfect opportunity to replace it and get a solution that we knew would meet the needs of our tenants both now and in the future.”
“Our Head of IT was researching IP based systems and with the help of reseller FreeClix, who supply our entire IT infrastructure, we discovered ipcortex. We received a demonstration and we saw just how easily ipcortex could help us to add greater value to the package we offer our tenants”.

Greater control and efficiency for staff

Longbridge Innovation Centre opted for a VoIPCortex Multi Tenant IP PBX with four ISDN30 interfaces, using SIP trunks as a back up route for making and receiving calls. This solution would give Innovation Centre staff greater control over their phone system by making it easy for them to complete tenant configuration changes via an intuitive web interface, as well as simplifying their billing process by allowing them to input the figures into their third party platform. It was also one of Andrea’s key priorities that Longbridge reception staff have a visual operator console. With over 50% of tenants preferring to use reception to field their calls, efficient and intelligent call handling was a critical part of their service offering. For this, the web based Open Communications Manager would prove indispensable.

Increasing the value proposition for tenants

Furthermore, the system would allow tenants control over their own devices where required, access to call logs and statistics, as well as providing a wide ranging feature set – meaning that Andrea and her team would be able to accommodate tenants with equally wide ranging requirements.

“With 340 handsets the implementation was a mammoth task, but our reseller FreeClix was very supportive and we did the bulk over the weekend. With their help, we went to each tenant to identify their specific configuration requirements and to provide training. The FreeClix team are very knowledgeable and they were extremely efficient in helping us to make sure that we arrived with a configuration that would suit each tenant.”

The Value

Efficiency and simplicity for excellent customer service

“As an innovation centre with flexible lease terms, we need to offer the best service and greatest functionality to our tenants if we want them to stay. Getting the phone system right was essential, and the ipcortex has proven to be a wise decision.”

“Since the implementation we’ve become far more efficient. The billing process has become far more streamlined and setting up new tenants and changing existing configurations is so easy when compared to the previous system. The simple management interface has ensured that the front of house team, IT and telecoms manager and I have all saved a lot of time. We’ve also seen that the OCM has had a huge impact on the efficiency of reception staff and has also proven very useful for larger tenants – in particular, for those needing to see the presence or status of colleagues.”

A real reduction in costs

“The efficiency savings have meant that costs have been reduced, and this has also been apparent in that we now only use one phone system for the two buildings. This has reduced the hardware and maintenance costs, and we’ve also got much more physical space in the comms. room.”

A system to accommodate every tenant’s wish list

“Key to everything, however, is that we’ve now got a system that really allows us to add value – both through improved service levels and in that we offer all of the functionality to all customers. All of our tenants are completely different, with different requirements, and yet we still have a solution to suit all of them. We can sell the whole package, not just a phone on the desk – and that’s the real beauty of it.”

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