House of Travel increases productivity and cuts cost with digital communications

House of Travel increases productivity and cuts cost with digital communications

CIO Dave Veronese says combination of Gen-i Voice Connect and Microsoft Lync 2013 puts company at ‘bleeding edge of new technologies’

.House of Travel CIO Dave Veronese says the company has improved staff performance and reduced costs since moving from a traditional communications system to a combination of Gen-i Voice Connect and Microsoft Lync 2013.

Voice Connect is Gen-i’s Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) voice communication service that delivers high audio quality, connects with either an in-house or hosted PBX and can be readily integrated with other ICT services.

“When we first looked at switching to Voice Connect and deploying Lync as our corporate PBX, there were few other organisations in New Zealand that had made the transition,” says Veronese. “While that puts us at the bleeding edge of new technologies, it does give access to the very latest functionality and ensures we are able to take advantage of new releases and advances for many years to come.”

He says staff in the House of Travel stores particularly appreciate the removal of clunky desk phones. These have largely been replaced by wireless Bluetooth VoIP headsets for a more tidy and modern workspace. They also benefit from the growing use of video conferencing that Voice Connect supports.

“Our staff are enjoying the mobility and flexibility that comes with this new way of working, such as being able to work from home, participate in video meetings remotely and easily make calls while travelling,” says Veronese.

House of Travel operates under a joint venture business model, with Veronese’s team providing ICT services that support 1150 people across 80 sites, including retail stores, corporate division Orbit Travel, online sales and the central holdings company.

In 2013, he converged all of the business’ IT and telecommunications contracts and negotiated a group solution that would reduce cost and allow them to quickly roll out new technologies.

Following a competitive tender, House of Travel renewed its voice, mobile and data services contract with Gen-i in January 2013, and extended their long standing relationship by another three years.

The contract supplements an existing contract with Revera, now part of Gen-i, for its data centre hosting in Christchurch and Auckland.

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Veronese says more stores are expected to use the new new voice and unified communications platform. “We met our target of migrating 100 users by the end of 2013, and expect to easily exceed our target of 350 users by the end of 2014.”

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