The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) exists to look after the 1.7 million British and Commonwealth dead from 2 world wars. A global 'not for profit' organisation, they care for cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations, in 154 countries, ranging from huge cemeteries for 12,000 in Passchendaele in Belgium, down to individual memorials in Scotland.
Collaboration solution provided by Softcat and Shoretel
154 countries with 80% mobile workforce
Reduced call costs and ease of management
The biggest challenge facing the commission was a huge mobility culture shift, as David Richardson, Director of Horticulture for CWGC, explains, "My role is based in Maidenhead but with a worldwide remit and travel, looking after standards and quality. Communication for me is really important because I need to be in touch with the office here and also colleagues worldwide."
CWGC engaged with Softcat, their preferred European IT infrastructure provider, who arranged an initial discovery meeting to understand the scope and major requirements. Softcat then provided collaboration options from manufacturers including Cisco, Avaya and Shoretel, along with the potential benefits of each solution, and followed the proposal with an onsite demonstration at the CWGC headquarters in Maidenhead.
80% of CWGC employees are mobile, so while value for money was a consideration, Softcat also considered that CWGC had a small team to manage a complex infrastructure and support requirements, and so the ease of management provided by the Shoretel solution led to it being the chosen technology, which was implemented by Softcat in under one month.
Following the initial installation at the Maidenhead head office, the solution was expanded to include Leamington Spa, along with sites in France, Belgium and Cyprus.
Will Webster, Head of IT for CWGC, outlines one of the major benefits of the solution, "To be able to take advantage of call routing internally across our IP Network was a huge benefit in terms of value for money for the solution."
Collaboration not only enables more productive communication for employees but also, by routing calls across CWGC's own network, the organisation has significantly reduced the cost of mobile calls.
The benefits are not just seen in the mobile workforce or implementation and management cost savings, as Enquiries Manager Jackie Withers outlines, "We receive a wide variety of enquiries within the team via social media, emails, letters, telephone – enquiries to trace someone's place of burial or commemoration. Collaboration is a really useful tool for us, particularly myself as the team manager, because I'm able to monitor how long the calls are taking, if any calls are backed up I can get extra agents on – we never had this available to us before so it's really transformed what data I have available."
Shoretel collaboration is supporting the enquiries team to handle over 12,000 requests for information from the public each year. This includes better routing of calls to customer service staff during peaks such as coverage of world war anniversaries on TV.
"We're now looking at leveraging our investment in unified communications by providing better connectivity services to our offices in South Africa, Singapore, Egypt, all our remote locations" concludes Will Webster.