ACL Group is one of Australia’s leading providers of used cars and non-traditional car finance. Specialising in used cars and car finance and incorporating brands including Motor Finance Wizard, Kwik Finance and Affordable Car Centre, ACL Group’s mission is to provide products and services to all types of customers, including customers who experience difficulty sourcing a car or car finance from mainstream car dealers and lenders.
“The Data#3 Business Productivity Services team worked closely with us to ensure that our 115 strong workforce could gain value from the tools available to them from day one.”
Rod Taylor, IT Manager, ACL Group
ACL Group employs approximately 115 people between its Gold Coast head office and six branches across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. It has high call volumes into its call centre, out to customers and between offices and dealerships.
Still paying lease costs on PABXs that were more than five years old, and using traditional PSTN services, the Group’s telephone costs were a significant business expense.
The existing head office PABX also took up a whole rack in a datacentre, had limited disaster recovery capabilities, and regularly required restarting or troubleshooting during business hours. The organisation had recognised the need for a replacement system and undertaken some background research, and with a corporate acquisition, the problem became urgent.
With 80 corporate PCs also due for replacement, Rod Taylor, ACL Group’s IT Manager, recognised the opportunity for an upgrade project that could move the organisation to a modern communication system such as Microsoft Lync, and simultaneously introduce the new PCs under a Microsoft enterprise license.
Without being prescriptive about the solution, ACL Group approached various vendors asking for recommendations about systems to meet their needs. Potential vendors were evaluated on their level of engagement during the development of their proposals and the level of understanding they demonstrated of ACL Group’s needs.
The quality of the Data#3 solution was something that other proposals simply did not offer, according to Rod Taylor. Rod had previous experience with Data#3 and knew their size and capability, providing further confidence in selecting Data#3 as the partner of choice.
Based on enterprise-grade Microsoft Lync 2013 and using Office 365 as the licensing model for Lync CALs, the solution comprised a suite of software, hardware and professional services.
A Data#3 consultant worked onsite with Rod Taylor to design the solution and plan its implementation. “We could not be happier, both with the solution and with the service Data#3 provided. I can’t recommend our technical consultant highly enough. He’s technically good, personable and was committed to understanding how we worked, what were the problems and how to solve them. He matched the technical solution to our business processes and requirements. In designing the Lync response groups solution he also helped us make a big saving over using additional call centre software.”
A centralised deployment model consolidated services and simplified the solution. A Lync 2013 Standard Edition pool was deployed in the primary datacentre at Varsity Lakes, with a second pool configured in the back-up datacentre at Eight Mile Plains. Sonus Session Border Controllers 1000 in each datacentre provide PSTN access via SIP trunks. A SIP trunk service to each datacentre is supplied by “OntheNet”, providing 60 channels of SIP using a dedicated ethernet cross-connect.
USB headsets and Lync-compatible handsets replaced legacy handsets across all locations, and all old fax machines were decommissioned and replaced by a cloud-based fax-to-email service.
All head office Direct in Dial (DID) ranges were migrated to the SIP services and all legacy PSTN services disconnected.
The Lync Edge Server provides federation and public services and KEMP reverse proxy. The internet connection into ACL’s datacentres is configured in an active/passive configuration, with Hyper-V replication for Edge Server failover in the event of a datacentre failure.
“The training was a critical part of the success of the deployment. The Data#3 consultant engaged users to enable them to see how the solution would work and understand the benefits.”
Rod Taylor, IT Manager, ACL Group
Rod and his team spent a significant amount of time “planting the seeds of change” – speaking with people across the organisation to discuss with them what possible solutions might look like. This involvement ensured stakeholder buy in, with team members able to see how the new solution could work for them in completing their day-to-day tasks. This preparation helped with the cultural transition so that people were comfortable moving from traditional handsets to a headset and software solution.
The implementation occurred as a progressive rollout:
The extensive training Data#3 provided as part of the head office rollout served in part as “train the trainer” sessions, providing Rod and his team with materials to use in training people at branch offices.
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