The City & Guilds group, the vocational education organisation offering more than 500 qualifications to two million current learners, has become the first customer to deploy ICON Communicate from Azzurri Communications.
ICON Communicate is a fully managed cloud-based suite of communications services incorporating IP telephony, unified communications and contact centre services. The solution essentially enables 2,500 City & Guild employees to work from anywhere, be they in the office or working remotely.
"We have a desktop that follows you anywhere you are - anytime, anyplace, anywhere - you're now working from your mobile device or phone so it's enabling softphones and homeworking," Ian Turfrey, CIO at the City & Guilds Group, told Computing.
City & Guilds chose ICON Communicate in order to bring together all of its communication tools while removing the need to run its own in-house services.
"It didn't make sense to have five different telephony providers and similarly now it doesn't make sense to have a support agreement and physical infrastructure. This is now the next stage in the evolution," said Turfrey, who believes in a "cloud first" strategy for IT infrastructure where appropriate.
"Office 365 is moving email to the cloud, Lync works in the cloud. The key thing is cloud first, especially where we've commodified IT. But when you start looking at business-enabled IT you need to think a bit more carefully and I'm not going to move our online transactions to a totally cloud-based solution," said Turfrey.
"You'll always have some services on premises depending on the service," he added.
City & Guilds considered a number of solutions providers for its communications project, but the combination of the services offered and the cost made the educational organisation opt for Azzurri.
"When we look at the managed voice infrastructure and the internal telecommunications solution it was a very compelling cost proposition for us to migrate these services over to Azzuri rather than a separate provider," said Turfrey. "So moving to managed voice and further reducing my spend, from copper ISDN, really made sense for us as a cost proposition that we got."
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