Dimensions Case Study

Requirement: Network Infrastructure upgrade, Unified Communications and Fully-Managed Support Service

AWARD-WINNING PROJECT FOR COMMS BUSINESS: "CONVERGED ICT PROJECT OF THE YEAR" 2018! Dimensions turned to GCI when it wanted to upgrade its ageing IT infrastructure, as well as consolidate its multitude of existing suppliers to just one in order to ensure total flexibility and greater cost efficiencies.

The Client

Dimensions is one of the country’s largest not-for-profit organisations geared towards helping those with learning disabilities, autism, challenging behaviour and complex needs. With over 7000 members of staff supporting people and their families across 750 sites, Dimensions plays an active part in helping communities UK-wide.

The huge challenge of supplying IT and network services to 750 sites across the UK was catching up with Dimensions’ ageing network infrastructure. With slow and sluggish bandwidth, the network was becoming insufficient for Dimensions and those it supports. The company was struggling under the weight of 22,000 support tickets a month and on average 1,000 “password reset” calls a week. Most importantly for Dimensions, legacy systems and poor network infrastructure was negatively impacting the support it could offer to those under its care, as well as the efficiency of its staff. The network was unreliable to the point of almost being unusable, and for those who depended heavily on it for learning, support and regularity compliance, this was a critical element that needed addressing - fast. The network therefore required a complete upgrade to support the evolution of the organisation and provide the flexibility that was necessary to deliver a future-proof and scalable IT strategy.

Wanting to reduce capital expenditure and eliminate the complexities of running on-premise systems, Dimensions placed an emphasis on making a strategic move to one single partner, as opposed to the 40+ it had at the time. To utilise Cloud-based services, further reduce hardware costs and improve collaboration, Dimensions also required a more efficient communications solution which would need to support high call volumes and could reduce waiting times, as call handling from staff and outside agencies was under pressure with an increasing number of enquiries into Dimensions’ regional offices.

Technical Solution

GCI upgraded Dimensions’ Network Infrastructure, meaning that the company could decommission its ageing on-premise servers and utilise Cloud Computing via GCI’s own dedicated and secure datacentres. By doing so, the charity will save on hardware and management costs, which frees up funds and personnel for other projects. A network boost to all nine core regional sites delivers dedicated dual-fibre MPLS network connectivity, with a further 750 sites receiving high-speed Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) or ADSL2+, enabling full Wi-Fi at all sites for staff, guests and their families. For collaborative communications, GCI also deployed 1750 Skype for Business seats which run fully from the Cloud in a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution. This was further enhanced by the deployment of 80 Enghouse Contact Centre seats, wall boards and integrated operator consoles at all regional centres, delivering an omni-channel solution that is fully integrated with Skype for Business. Enghouse are a leading expert in customer communications, providing one of the most comprehensive sets of Contact Centre interaction management tools in the industry. They therefore offer ideal synergies with GCI’s own Unified Communications and Cloud expertise, and with the integration of Skype for Business, Dimensions would benefit from an improved overall interactive customer experience. The solution would also afford the company greater cost savings and a feature-rich user experience with video conferencing, instant messaging, and the presence and mobility app. GCI also provides a Fully-Managed Support Service for Dimensions that ensures the company has access to technical staff round-the-clock, as well as relieving stress from its internal IT team.

Success and Company Benefits

Dimensions now has a robust Network Infrastructure with high-speed connectivity, with staff reporting that line speeds are already 100x faster. Its omni-channel Unified Communications solution and fully-scalable Contact Centre allows the company to deliver a more streamlined customer experience; with its Service Users typically having special needs and often being visually or hearing impaired, joining up their methods of communication makes it much easier for Dimensions to quickly assist them. 

An unexpected cost-saving benefit was that by using Skype for Business to deliver its training, Dimensions has reduced the amount spent on this crucial task by two thirds. Approximately 80% of its staff are not native English speakers, and previously the company’s trainers had to travel to each of the 750 individual sites to deliver essential training in the staff members’ native language to ensure vital information on lifting, drugs and more was not “lost in translation”. Delivering this training remotely means that Dimensions’ travel costs for training have been virtually eliminated, allowing the company to redirect this money back into delivering its life-changing services. Additionally, the use of Microsoft Teams to upload and update complex documents such as care plans means that staff members can fill in these forms in their own language, with Teams translating questions and answers as necessary to help avoid mistakes. Best of all for Dimensions, by consolidating all its suppliers and selecting leading Converged ICT Service Provider GCI to manage all its services, multiple challenges could be addressed at once whilst striving for maximum cost efficiencies, safe in the knowledge that the company is supported 24/7.

Mark Verrier, Head of IT at Dimensions, said: “This was no “ordinary” tender; we provided an exhaustive brief, containing 72,000 line items across 750 sites. We didn’t want to have “suppliers” anymore – of which there were over 40 – and instead wanted to work with just one partner that would truly understand our needs, culture and desired outcomes. GCI were the only company that we considered able to demonstrate this, and we felt that GCI wanted to do a good job for us, rather than just make money.”

Peter Watson, Senior Solutions Consultant at GCI, added: “The significance of the new operator consoles at all regional centres should not be underestimated in the overall increase in efficiencies. Call handling from staff and enquiries to Dimensions was an issue, but with the integration of Skype for Business, utilising presence and the mobility app, we anticipate further significant cost savings and an improved customer experience.”



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