When TRL’s aim to expand internationally was looking as if it would be undermined by aging technology, BT took the wheel to design a solution that will support TRL’s work for years to come.
From helping to design safer vehicles to assessing the impact of transport on the environment, TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) has been offering independent advice and testing to the UK government and private clients for nearly 80 years. But with the prevailing economic situation in the UK, the organisation decided to expand revenues in the Middle East, Africa and Japan.
Because TRL’s current communication solution had been in use for a while, it decided to take the opportunity to look at an upgrade.
Local points of contact.
Explains Paul Milton, TRL’s IT Network Manager: “To develop our global sales and project opportunities, we need local points of contact who can liaise with UK colleagues to deliver projects. They not only need to talk to us, but also to have access to the same intranet and documents as those people based here in Wokingham.”
To bring this strategy to life, TRL decided to appoint a partner with a proven track record in deploying Unified Communications and Collaboration solutions.
BT was the partner of choice, working closely with TRL to understand the organisation, its development plans and the impact this would have on working practices. As the UK’s leading Cisco partner, BT had the capability to approach this transformative project and a track record of similar successful deployments. Additionally, BT was able to offer interim support and maintenance for legacy systems until they were replaced.
Better access to experts.
With new communications and collaboration technology in place, customers around the world now enjoy better access to TRL’s staff, many of whom are world-recognised experts in areas such as transportation, safety, risk and infrastructure management and simulation and testing.
Explains Paul: “Our hardware platform has been upgraded to Cisco’s new UCS solution, our infrastructure software has been updated to the latest version and we have the latest Cisco Unified Communications. We can therefore make full use of up-to-the minute unified communication technology to improve efficiency and productivity.”
Features such as Presence and Instant Messaging enable long distance employees to work out which of their colleagues are available to contact, and instantly get in touch with them by the most convenient medium. Meanwhile, the introduction of IP telephony will enable calls to be made over the internet using PCs and laptops.
Says Paul: “Our people can be so much more flexible with this BT solution. The extension mobility feature enables them to log in at an IP-based phone and all their preferences instantly appear. Incoming calls are also quicker to answer, as if someone dials an individual’s direct number, all of their phones will ring, anywhere in the world, and they can pick up the one that’s most convenient.”
TRL expects to see an improvement in team working, with a range of collaboration tools available to escalate discussions, starting with IM and Chat, and moving on to video and document share - with remote staff having access to the same tools as everyone else. There has been an increase in the speed of response to customers, as employees can react more quickly to each other without having to leave their desk. The installation of WebEx conferencing has also helped reduce travel time and costs, by bringing virtual teams together online.
TRL’s people have benefited from training and assistance at every stage of the process:
BT’s training for our IT staff was excellent, and they were very supportive of our reception staff, who were the ones initially most affected by new user interfaces and functions
Paul Milton, TRL IT Network Manager
“Before go live, BT helped to minimise impact by carefully explaining what was happening, how new tools such as IM would benefit us and how to access the functionality.”
Capability and knowledge.
BT’s resource pool was vital to TRL and having access to extensive technical support was key to them. Such capability and knowledge of networked IT services were the reasons that TRL chose the company as its partner.
“Working with BT was a superb experience – we really enjoyed it,” concludes Paul. “They took time to fully understand our business and provided impartial advice to help us to identify the best solution for us. Our respective project teams became fully integrated, with similar working practices greatly enhancing synergy between them. BT pre-sales and technical expertise were impressive and the team were exceptionally professional and open.”