Background

Embracing UC with Skype for Business and Britannic Cloud

Aiming to provide business users with better collaboration tools and virtual meeting features than RCNi’s previous communications platform could support, the publishing house phased out its legacy system in favour of a comprehensive UC solution built on Microsoft Skype for Business and Microsoft Office 365. Voice services are now delivered from Britannic’s private cloud.

RCNi is the essential resource for nurses and allied health professionals, offering easy access to peer-reviewed print and digital content, career advice, CPD modules, events and awards. Wholly owned by the Royal College of Nursing whose 400,000 members make it the world’s largest professional body for nursing staff, RCNi operates out of offices in London and Cardiff.

“Britannic had already provided consistent and reliable service on our previous platform”, says RCNi ITC Manager, Alex Oldfield. “We therefore trusted its team of migration experts to smoothly move our users onto the Skype for Business platform, and our new voice services into Britannic’s private cloud.”

Drawing on 30 years’ telephony communications and integration experience, Britannic offered best practice advice and strategic direction throughout the project. Prince 2 management methodology mitigated risk during platform migration.

Service availability percentage

Users collaborate virtually with colleagues and clients

All UC and collaboration features delivered from one robust platform

RCNi Solution

Solution

Microsoft Skype for Business meets two important key criteria for RCNi: value for money and ease of use. Since RCNi was already consuming Office 365 from Microsoft’s cloud, the move to full enterprise voice with Skype for Business meant a considerably smaller uplift on licensing costs than deploying a new all-round system.

Alex Oldfield explains, “We were only a small step away from a cost-effective UC solution. It made good commercial sense to leverage the existing Microsoft Office 365 suite of software that was already in use throughout the organisation and to add licenses for voice onto the Office 365 licenses. As an added bonus, our users were comfortable with Office 365 and many already used Skype in their personal lives, giving us confidence that the transition to Skype for Business would be easy for them.”

Alex Oldfield, ITC Manager, RCNi

Seeing how colleagues that were early test users worked with Skype for Business changed how some of the more traditional handset users looked at softphones. They needed to see the benefits before subscribing to it but now the rich features of our UC solution influence the way our staff work, slowly but surely improving productivity across the company.

Technology

Skype for Business

Together, Skype for Business and the Office 365 cloud collaboration suite bundle email, VoIP telephony, voicemail, instant messaging, presence, document sharing, audio/video conferencing as well as online meeting functionality for a handy out-of-the-box solution.

netX

Britannic’s scalable, resilient SIP exchange platform natively supports Skype for Business and enhances quality of service. Hunt groups and IVRs enable intelligent routing and group pickup of calls. Flexible billing options.

Amazon Web Services

RCNi’s Skype for Business licences are hosted in the Britannic cloud. We put an interconnect from AWS into our own core to provide synchronicity between RCNi’s AWS-hosted Active Directory and the Skype for Business server, making implementation easy.

Phased Rollout

The Skype for Business platform was rolled out to a total of 120 users in several phases, starting with a test user base to evaluate the accuracy and efficiency of the rollout process, ensure the smooth operation of the platform, and to effect a gradual transition onto the new system.

RCNi technology

The results

RCNi now has full enterprise voice deployed company-wide. Users are benefiting from better utilisation of existing and new Microsoft applications including IM and presence which are available from within the applications, increasing productivity and encouraging new ways of working - regardless of location.

Business users such as RCNi’s product development team value the faster collaboration with overseas suppliers through the system’s conference and video call functionalities, and the easy-to-use, intuitive user interface of Skype for Business continues to spur softphone uptake. 

Service availability percentage

Users collaborate virtually with colleagues and clients

All UC and collaboration features delivered from one robust platform

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