University of Hertfordshire Case Study

Requirement: Unified Communications

GCI delivered a full migration to SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) for the University of Hertfordshire, ensuring that its Clearing process now runs smoothly as well as securing future communications.

The Client

The University of Hertfordshire is the UK’s leading business-facing University and an exemplar in its sector. It is innovative, enterprising and business-facing, and offers a wide range of both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The University is also one of the region’s largest employers, with over 2,700 staff and a turnover of over £238 million. With a student community of over 24,800 including more than 4,100 overseas students from 100 different countries, it has a global network of over 210,000 alumni. The rapid development of the University has also seen it placed in the top 100 Universities in the world under 50 years old.

Split over a number of campuses and geographic areas, the University was catering to around 25,000 students in total, with demand on staff and IT infrastructure quickly increasing. With a constant and growing demand for places, the University needed assistance in keeping track of all potential students who applied through its Clearing process; on Clearing days the University’s Call Centre often came under severe strain as a result of the sheer volume of calls it was receiving. The University of Hertfordshire therefore decided to appoint a single supplier for all telecommunications who would also maintain and migrate the existing PABX platforms. It also wished to rationalise, monitor and improve its communication costs, enabling the University to stick to its closely-controlled budget.

Technical Solution

GCI delivered a full migration to SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) for the University of Hertfordshire. SIP, also known as SIP trunking, is a cost-effective replacement for traditional ISDN which connects the PBX to the PSTN via broadband, Ethernet or private circuit into GCI’s national network. The solution means that the University’s callers can always get through; GCI’s SIP simply diverts published numbers to backup locations or mobile phones, instantly and from anywhere. This not only ensures that existing and potential students can contact relevant departments when needed - especially during key times such as Clearing and Accommodation selection - but also improves service flexibility and gives the University the opportunity to make real operational cost savings through free calls to UK 01, 02 and 03 numbers. Further savings were achieved with GCI leveraging the University’s technical investments by providing a flexible and scalable contract, whilst ensuring the best possible service to students. In doing so, GCI helped to ensure that the University remains a thriving and successful Higher Education provider.

GCI continue to work with the University to adopt new and innovative technologies that can bring real value to the staff and students, digitalising the classroom and allowing students to access a new way of learning.

Success and Company Benefits

The University of Hertfordshire has now futureproofed its infrastructure with a flexible and efficient system, meaning it can adopt technologies such as Skype for Business at any point in the future. Additionally, GCI now proactively manage the University’s portfolio of services - including the GCI SIP Solution - whilst providing an excellent level of service. The University’s contract is designed to enable for adding services. Thanks to GCI’s Active Support culture, the University have peace of mind that GCI regularly review services to find improvements and cost reductions for the University.

David Ford, Chief Information Officer at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “With application numbers ever increasing, we required a telephony solution that could support our high standard of service and support. GCI’s expertise in all areas of Unified Communications meant they could design and deploy a solution that not only delivered on today’s needs, but one that can support our future requirements whilst helping us to bring down costs.”

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