The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health stays connected with Annodata

November 28, 2016

28th November 2016

Founded in 1996, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) plays a major role in postgraduate medical education, professional standards, research and policy in the UK. It has approximately 17,000 members around the world and about 160 staff.

Headquartered in London, and with offices in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, the RCPCH is responsible for postgraduate training of paediatricians in the UK and runs the membership and Diploma of Child Health examinations.

The challenge
The RCPCH’s communications estate, specifically its telephony system, is essential to the running of the organisation. Its staff need to maintain regular contact with members and trainees to coordinate the often time-critical examinations process. As some of its members do not have electronic means of communication, staff depend on the ability to pick up the phone and talk to someone instantly.

Olly Rice, Infrastructure & Operations Manager at the RCPCH, explained: “Our phone system is one of the primary ways that we communicate with staff and our members. Sometimes the communication needs to be instant, especially for the examinations team, so it’s really important that we can just pick up the phone and talk to someone when we need to. There’s an immediacy that you get with the phone that you don’t get with other forms of communication so we needed to ensure that our telephony system was as reliable as possible, to reduce the risk of outages and to future-proof our systems.”

At the time, the RCPCH was using a hardware-based Mitel VoIP solution running on ISDN30 phone lines and, if the hardware failed, the whole phone system would go down. When the solution came to the end of its life, the RCPCH took the opportunity to explore smarter, more reliable and more cost efficient cloud-based alternatives.

The Annodata solution
The RCPCH started speaking to Annodata about what could be done and the managed service provider recommended virtualising the physical Mitel solution to improve the resiliency of the service, remove the headache of management and drive down costs.

Annodata duly rolled out a new fully-managed and fully-virtualised Mitel communications solution and placed it in the college’s existing VMware environment. To ensure service reliability, the solution came with additional layers of resiliency; if one server fails, the service can automatically move onto another working server.

The company took the opportunity to review its line rental arrangements and converted the RCPCH’s existing ISDN30 services to SIP. This change has yielded significant cost savings, as local and national calls became free of charge, but has also given the college greater control over their numbers.

Importantly, the entire solution is underpinned by Annodata’s industry-leading Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and ongoing support.

The Annodata benefit
Since migrating to the new Mitel solution, the RCPCH has noticed a marked improvement in service reliability. Olly said:

“We’ve got a rock solid solution, which is exactly what we need as an organisation. The additional resiliency of the system has been the big key win for me and has brought me a lot more peace of mind. Another big benefit is that we’ve now got the foundations in place needed to move forward with additional projects. We’re keen to improve our disaster recovery capabilities and explore mobile working, both of which required us to virtualise our telephony systems. We’ve taken those steps now, which puts us in a very strong position to build in new functionality when the time is right.

“We’ve also been able to realise some considerable cost savings by switching from ISDN30 to SIP as our calls are effectively free. As a charitable organisation, we’ve got a duty to make sure that we are getting the best value from our service contracts and spending our money wisely, so it’s great that Annodata has helped us shave money off of our bills,” he concluded.