Award winning architects embrace new ways of working with Teams Voice

Established in 1989, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) is one the UK’s leading architectural practices, with 500 staff based across offices in London, Bristol, and Oklahoma City in the US.

Winner of a long list of industry awards, including the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2015 for the “technically sophisticated” design of Burntwood School in London, the company specialises in delivering cutting-edge solutions for their customers.

As their website states: “We believe in making places, as well as buildings, that work over time and have lasting qualities intrinsic to their architecture.”

The challenge

The success that AHMM has achieved in recent years has led to a significant increase in its workforce, with colleagues dispersed across a growing office estate and multiple building development sites.

Despite this, their philosophy has been to maintain the human touch, with all inbound calls coming through to the reception team so callers can be directed to the right person without the impersonal Auto Attendant experience of, “Press one for Department A. Press two for Department B. Press three for Department C.”

There was a third challenge: COVID-19, with all 500 members of staff suddenly having to move to home working in April 2020."

And so it goes on. We all know the situation, with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons playing in the background.

But then there was another challenge.

AHMM’s phone system was not up to the job of directing callers (including existing or potential customers) through to the right person. And if the right person was out of the office to oversee a current design project, callers had to leave a message and wait, rather than getting straight through to their mobile phone.

Finally, there was a third challenge: COVID-19, with all 500 members of staff suddenly having to move to home working in April 2020.

The solution

As a long-standing customer of Intuitive Systems & Networks (ISN), AHMM approached the technology provider for help. The team at ISN reviewed the challenges that AHMM faced and identified Microsoft Teams as the best platform for improved collaboration. In addition, ISN called upon its strategic partnership with Claranet so that our UC specialists could provide a complete solution.

Delivered in partnership with Intuitive Systems & Networks

This coincided with the release of our newly-designed Teams Voice platform, combining workforce collaboration with a Hosted Voice service that could scale up and offer everyone their own personal number for the first time. Although a new combination of managed technology between Microsoft and Claranet, AHMM were ambitious in their future planning and decided to adopt both platforms at the same time.

Teams Voice means the company can :

  • Replace Skype throughout their business with Teams.
  • Extend modern collaboration tools to their users.
  • Enable remote workers and colleagues in different offices to seamlessly collaborate and communicate.

I would like to say thank you for the support in rolling Teams out through the organisation. This is a major step forward for us."

The result

With Teams Voice installed remotely, AHMM’s workforce were immediately able to:

  • Establish channels and groups for key projects and initiatives.
  • Take and transfer external calls to users across their business.
  • Make calls to their customers and partners from their Teams client.

With the unfortunate outbreak of COVID-19 as the project came to the end of its roll-out phase, AHMM were also in a strong position to adapt at speed and maintain business as usual with all staff working from home.

As Elliott Smith, IT Infrastructure Manager at AHMM, explains in his feedback to ISN and Claranet:

“I thought that I would give you a bit of an update after the successful go live of Microsoft Teams at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris today.

“We’ve cut over this morning at 08:30am, and at this moment in time had 263 calls across the Teams / Direct Routing / SBC platform – great news.

“Any outstanding issues have been mitigated by creating users with conditional forwarding set or logging into a bank of phones (such as a switchboard) with one account. Other than that, everything else has been fine. We will obviously keep an eye on the connections going forward, but so far no one has had any problems.

“Over the next few weeks we will look to remove the old phones and start the port of the number range to Claranet.

“Finally I would like to thank you all at ISN and Claranet for the support in rolling Teams out through the organisation. This is a major step forward for us.”

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