For Paul Seibert, the cost savings that Sprint Complete Collaboration yields are welcome, but what matters to him most are the flexibility, scalability, and management capabilities that this hosted Unified Communications solution brings.
Seibert is Director of Network Operations for Intrepid USA Healthcare Services and Snelling Staffing, both based in Dallas. The companies are owned by Patriarch Partners and share a data center along with the network infrastructure support team headed by Seibert. Collectively, the two companies have more than 200 offices across the contiguous United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Intrepid USA was founded more than 20 years ago with the idea that patient care should be personalized care. Today Intrepid has 74 offices in 21 states.
Snelling, a leader in human capital management, was found more than 60 years ago with its first office in Philadelphia. Snelling now has more than 115 corporate-owned and franchised offices in 32 states.
“My team consists of just seven people, including me to support two medium-sized corporations,” Seibert says. “We’re supporting 750 to 1,000 users between the corporate facilities and remote sites, and like most IT departments we are always trying to do more with less. And that requires looking for ways to focus internal resources on more value-added activities. This hosted solution allows us to do just that with respect to our telecommunications needs."
Seibert and his team had been looking at a hosted solution for some time, especially since they have had to relocate some 75 percent of Intrepid's offices in the last three and a half years. Office moves, adds, and changes involved dealing with up to 20 local telco providers and multiple vendors across the country, and Seibert wanted to be able to manage these from a centralized management utility.
With some of his older telecom equipment reaching the end of its life, he saw potential in Sprint Complete Collaboration, the comprehensive hosted and fully managed UC bundle. He jumped at the chance to trial the new solution, seeing the “perfect opportunity to look at our phone system globally." Seibert says even though he is reluctant to outsource, “I realized that this is one of the areas where it really makes sense.”
He might have been able to accomplish centralization through a premises-based approach, Seibert concedes, but he believes a hosted solution is the better choice. It avoids a significant investment in hardware for both Snelling and Intrepid, as well as the management challenges of a premises-based system that would have overwhelmed his lean staff. Also, the hosted option is highly scalable and assures a level of business continuity that both companies demand.
“If we have a disaster scenario, now I can redirect phones on the fly in a matter of minutes through a centralized management utility,” Seibert says. “Especially with Intrepid, we have to have telephone access 24x7, without exception. If our patients can’t reach us, we can lose our license to operate in some states.”
He has similar control over office relocations, which now aren’t as stress-inducing as in the past. “If we move an office to a different location, when you deal with the telcos you have to get a new phone number, and forward the old numbers to the new ones for a while,” he explains. “There is a cost for that, and it adds up. Now if an office moves, the phone numbers go with it, since they’re tied to the SIP. I can redirect a line at a moment’s notice, forward it to anyone on my network, and it’s not long distance since it is still being internally switched.”
Seibert had been using Sprint’s MPLS network services for data, and says it made perfect sense to utilize the same infrastructure by putting more services across it, with centralized management. There are other benefits as well, such as consistent telecom operations across both companies, ease of establishing new office locations, and the need to deal with only a single provider, Sprint, rather than multiple vendors and service providers. Also, the range of service packages available with Sprint Complete Collaboration allows Seibert and other customers to tailor the packages to their user populations.
Sprint Complete Collaboration also opens the door to many new options for Snelling and Intrepid. Seibert sees mobility, wireless integration, and extending the office to homes and remote sites as huge benefits. While he won’t take advantage of those immediately, he’s laying the groundwork and says the flexibility to add them later, as business requirements change, is invaluable.
The two companies are already seeing cost savings. Seibert anticipates 30-40 percent per month in savings for Intrepid in the first year and 10 percent savings in the years following, thanks to reductions in long-distance and local charges. But that’s not what matters most to him.
“Cost is always a consideration, but is not our primary motivation,” Seibert emphasizes. “If it came out that there was zero savings, the bottom line is that I have management capabilities and scalability and flexibility inside this organization that I have never had before. Now I can do so much more with a small staff.”
Seibert adds that the support he receives from his Sprint account team has been fantastic, and Sprint’s single-point-of-contact approach fits his philosophy perfectly.
“Leaning on one account team and one support team were huge selling points in my opinion - managing the process for us end to end, whereas other vendors did not have all of the in-house capabilities. My experience with Sprint has been head and shoulders above the competition – and has saved us money, and more importantly, critical time.”