Penlon transforms its communications systems with Claranet's Hosted Voice

Executive summary

Challenge: Penlon needed a strong communications solution but their PBX infrastructure lacked mobility and functionality, especially across multiple sites.

Solution: Claranet suggested Hosted Voice, their cost-effective, flexible and feature-rich unified communications platform, which integrates directly into Claranet's private MPLS network that Penlon were already using to connect their sites.

Result: With Claranet hosting its communications services, Penlon has seen significant time and cost savings, improved connectivity and has been able to roll out more collaborative ways of working.

About Penlon

Established in the UK over 70 years ago, Penlon is a world-renowned medical device manufacturer that designs and builds high quality products and systems for anaesthesia, intubation, oxygen therapy and suction control for the healthcare industry.

Although the company is based in Abingdon in Oxfordshire, Penlon maintains an office in the US and, through its network of distributors and partners, has a presence in 90 countries worldwide. The company therefore depends heavily on its communications systems to ensure that their disparately located and increasingly mobile workforce can collaborate and work together effectively.

The challenge

Penlon had previously used a long-standing PBX infrastructure to support its in-office phone systems. However, the business faced a number of communications challenges as it looked to increase collaboration between its disparate locations.

Tony Serratore, IT Manager for Penlon, explained:

“One of our biggest technological challenges is ensuring that all of our locations can communicate with one another efficiently. We operate from a number of locations nationwide and internationally, so it is imperative that our staff in these locations can still communicate and work together efficiently, despite the distances.

Our PBX system was reliable enough for phone calls, but severely lacked in mobility or functionality options; it could make or receive calls, but that was essentially it. With employees often working offsite on specific projects, this presented a problem when trying to keep in contact. Additionally, it created a significant business risk in the case of disaster. The hardware was very outdated and if it went down at any point, we would have no alternatives for communicating effectively with our employees and customers – something that would cost us dearly in lost productivity hours.

This was something we could not ignore. We needed a strong communications solution to support an increasingly mobile workforce."

The solution

Penlon was already using Claranet’s MPLS network infrastructure, and turned to them again for a solution. After a consultation period Claranet recommended its cloud-based communications platform, Hosted Voice. Powered by BT and Broadsoft, the service provides a complete telephone system without the need to install dedicated hardware. Hosted Voice is a cost-effective, flexible and feature-rich unified communications platform, which provides instant messaging and video conferencing capabilities alongside traditional voice calls.

The application plugs directly into Claranet’s private network and can be accessed from a range of internet-enabled devices. As the service avoids the public internet, it is not subject to fluctuations in bandwidth, meaning that service quality and reliability are maintained.

“Hosted Voice was attractive to us because of the way it integrated with our network,” Tony explained. “Given the MPLS platform’s reliability, we knew that our plugged-in communications platform would work just as well. Additionally, Hosted Voice can be accessed from any device connected to the internet, including laptops and mobile tablets, with all of its functionality available on each device. Mobility is a top priority for us so these features were key drivers for us adopting the platform.”

The results

With Claranet hosting its communications services, Penlon has seen significant time and cost savings, improved connectivity and has been able to roll out more collaborative ways of working.

“We examined the market, but no other system could match the price-per-user or expansive functionality of Claranet’s Hosted Voice service. Claranet has also removed the need for us to deal with multiple third parties to get up and running, which has been a real bonus.

“In many ways, the MPLS network has completely transformed our business. Our staff are more able than ever to work remotely with more effective communication channels available from any location. Employees have full visibility on the status of their co-workers (available, busy, offline etc.), and can quickly chat to them through individual dialling codes or instant messages. Additionally, all of Claranet’s services provide consumer-level user experiences on enterprise-grade technology, cutting steep learning curves.

“Our relationship with Claranet is very strong, they act more as consultative partners than service providers,” Tony said. “The Claranet team are always examining the way in which their MPLS network supports our business, ready to share their expertise on how we can best use the platform to our advantage.”

Penlon is looking to expand the services currently managed by Claranet, integrating the MPLS network into their managed Amazon Web Services offering. “We’re delighted with the service we’ve received from Claranet so far and are keen to grow this relationship well into the future.”

Download full case study in PDF