Future directions - By Matthew Spearman, Group Manager People and Innovation, City of Burnside, South Australia

Article image - Future directions - By Matthew Spearman, Group Manager People and Innovation, City of Burnside, South Australia Matthew Spearman enjoying the Skype for Business headset.

The City of Burnside is one of Adelaide’s oldest residential areas, 10 minutes from the central business district of Adelaide, nestled at the base of the Adelaide foothills.

The Council has a population of approximately 45,000 and employs more than 160 staff, the majority of whom are based at the Civic Centre.

In March 2016, the Council’s telephone and Contact Centre solution was showing signs of ageing and after a series of challenges and system failures it was determined that a new solution was required as a matter of priority.

With a limited budget and a drive for innovation, we decided to implement a Skype for Business Solution with headsets for everybody using the EngHouse TouchPoint solution as Council’s Contact Centre.

The project was somewhat pioneering, as we were the first Council in South Australia to implement the TouchPoint and Skype for Business combination.

We were also the first SA Council to introduce headsets for all staff instead of phones, to make considerable savings. The cost of a headset is much less than a desk phone, which made the move very attractive despite the odd case of “headset hair”.

It was a real team effort between IT, Customer Experience and Building Maintenance, who kindly delayed other projects so that we could prioritise the urgent system replacement.

We looked at all available, leading edge solutions to ensure we met all of our requirements, such as pricing and support. We also put a high focus on unified communications and craved an enhanced end-user experience.

All the standard solutions exceeded our project budget. Skype for Business was the only competitive solution with a ‘headsets for everyone’ model. It stood out as the best value for money and the most innovative of the solutions we reviewed.

The Call Centre (Enghouse Touch Point) is slick, easy to use, fully integrated to Skype for Business and has the capacity to record all calls. It ticked all the boxes while greatly improving the ease of use for our Call Centre staff.

We implemented a gradual transfer of staff from our previous setup to Skype for Business. Individual teams were provided training sessions and Skype for Business Champions were established. Our Executive Team gave it its full support and each General Manager and the Chief Executive Officer provided updates to all staff throughout the process. At the end of the rollout, we did a survey of staff that helped significantly with our post-implementation review.
Call clarity has significantly improved and the headsets alleviate sore necks and enables staff to use two hands when on calls. The overall feedback is that the solution is very modern and easy to use.

Seventy five per cent of staff members were very happy and 12 per cent were somewhat happy with the rollout.

The results of the survey combined with information gathered from IT requests were used to target refresher training and resolve all remaining project implementation issues.