Public Sector Focus

16.01.17

Cloud phone systems redefine public sector costs

James Passingham, chief technical officer at Foehn, highlights some cost-saving possibilities in the company’s Buyer’s Guide to Cloud Phone Systems for the public sector. 

The rise of cloud phone systems 

As central funding dries up and cloud services experience a rising tide of popularity, more and more government bodies and local authorities are choosing this technology platform to modernise their phone systems and drive ‘next stage’ cost savings.

As IT, with its ability to deliver ‘much more with less’, takes up a bigger proportion of departmental budgets, public managers and IT professionals alike are becoming aware of the different service flexibility, productivity benefits and financial savings delivered by the cloud. 

However, the telephony market is traditionally awash with jargon and confused messages over cloud’s benefits, which is why Foehn has produced a free Buyer's Guide for public buyers considering or procuring a cloud phone system. 

As communications technology evolves, unified communications fail to match their hype, and ageing systems wear out, we’ve found public bodies at different stages with their thinking; some are holding on to what they have while others are well advanced with their approach. Typical scenarios include: 

  • Public bodies already using hosted telephony
  • Organisations with on-site telephone systems that are reliant on external maintenance partners
  • Public bodies maintaining the status quo or upgrading, but driving down system set-up and ongoing maintenance costs 

Changing mindsets 

But successful take-up of Open Source solutions and modern cloud-based IP (Internet Protocol) communications is as much about challenging established thinking as the technical aspects of a new telephony solution. 

Some public organisations are reluctant to change, content to sweat an asset with some life in it rather than rethink customer service possibilities. Others recognise the combination of cost-saving, flexibility and operational benefits from a modern IP system. Whatever the organisation’s point on the journey, mindsets are most effectively changed through successful implementations showing clear cost savings, greater service flexibility and new ways of working. 

The office of the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) moved to a hosted PBX and cloud phone system in the cloud, better supporting its offices and streamlining the work of its call centre. As well as saving at least 30% on telephony and network system costs, the LGO now has 50% faster network connections. At Boston Borough Council, the senior management team procured a council-wide cloud telephony system for improved call centre performance, flexible working and greater disaster recovery resilience. 

The Buyer’s Guide: cost-savings and new service options

The Public Sector Buyer’s Guide to Cloud Phone Systems provides practical information, guidance and top tips for buyers making the decision to move to cloud telephony. It shows how a modernised communications infrastructure reduce overall running costs and improves departmental service capabilities. It also sets out advantages of Open Source in telephony as an alternative to proprietary systems. 

Almost all public bodies need to factor in rapidly-rising service demand alongside steep budget decline when moving to cloud telephony. Here, the guide illustrates how local authorities can rethink a business case, telephony costs and introduce more flexible working. The LGO’s cloud system has brought about highly flexible working by its staff, whether in the offices, on the road, or at home, while Boston Borough Council is saving 40% over previous on-premise models over a five-year period. 

Open Source

Since the launch of the UK government’s G-Cloud in 2012 and its digital strategy in April 2013, adoption of Open Source in the public sector has rocketed: buyers have rejected the vendor lock-in, high costs, unreasonable delays and abandoned projects experienced with the proprietary approach while Open Source technologies are commonplace in UK industry, notably the telephony sector itself. 

Cloud telephony is achieving ever-wider appeal in public organisations as it delivers cost efficiencies, more workplace flexibility and new service capabilities, even as our public services are fundamentally and rapidly reshaped. 

Download the Public Sector Buyers Guide to Cloud Phone Systems, here

About Foehn 

Foehn is a multi-award winning provider of cloud communications technology, delivering IP telephony and contact centres to the private and public sectors since 2000 We are an innovative, flexible and attentive SME and what also makes us different is that we are passionate about Open Source technology. It enables us to provide innovative solutions that are more feature rich, easily integrated and cheaper than the proprietary platforms from legacy multi-national vendors. Foehn is proud to be a member of the Government's G-Cloud and Digital Marketplace framework, as well as being selected as provider of IP telephony services on the government's new Network Services framework. Foehn can transform IP telephony for public sector organisations, improve efficiencies and reduce fixed telephony costs by as much as 40%.

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