SQW Group

Phone System to Skype for Business (and on to Microsoft Teams)

The Scenario

SQW is a consultancy specialising in economic and social development. Founded in 1983, they currently have c50 staff, operating from offices in Cambridge, London, Edinburgh and Manchester. The firm is part of SQW Group, alongside Oxford Innovation, which provides incubation services to innovative start-up and high-growth companies, Oxford Innovation Services, which provides coaching, training and mentoring support to high growth businesses, and the Oxford Investment Opportunity Network, which is one of the UK’s longest running angel investor networks, connecting entrepreneurs and firms with highly active potential investors. SQW Group

Syplex have supported SQW with their IT for many years, providing assistance with the introduction of new software, cloud transitions and many more complex consulting projects, as well as regular day-to-day user support.

For this particular project, we had established that SQW would be better served by switching from using their old 3rd party VOIP system for PSTN calling, to running their telephony through Skype For Business (SfB), which they were already using for internal calls, dial-in conferencing and sharing screens. SfB allowed them to use headsets to conveniently dial anyone in the company at the click of a button, and by adding Skype PBX plans, they could now also dial out externally using the same headsets and simple interface, removing the need for traditional PSTN lines.

This transition enabled them to use a single system to make phone calls, video calls, chat and online meetings, using whatever hardware they preferred. The system became fully integrated with the rest of their Microsoft Office 365 environment, allowing them to accomplish everything they needed in terms of telephony and conferencing using one reliable, familiar, integrated platform.

Syplex has also assisted their recent transition to using Microsoft Teams to enable better collaboration with a richer feature-set.

The Solution

We managed the transition so that it would be seamless for users, allowing for minimal downtime and making sure every detail was carefully planned in advance. Managing all of their sites with separate phone systems was a logistical challenge, but we completed the project without any hiccups.

Analysing Requirements

We spent time carefully planning the transition, making sure every user was accounted for and the SQW staff knew exactly what to expect. Proper planning is vital to ensure that no unexpected surprises or delays come up!

Purchasing handsets and licences

After researching the most cost-effective and user-friendly options, we bought the Skype For Business licences, calling plans and hardware that best suited the SQW team, and assigned them in advance to the correct users.

Porting numbers

By porting over their existing numbers, we enabled SQW staff members to continue using their previous phone numbers and extensions, thus avoiding the need for call forwarding and updating stationary.

On-site installation and support

An engineer was on-site on transition day to set up hardware, and support users in case they had any teething problems.

Conference Room Solution

We also purchased and installed Polycom 8500 conference phones, later upgrading to Poly Medium Room Systems For Microsoft Teams Meetings for the meeting rooms in each office, giving them excellent voice and meeting support for conference calls.

Ongoing Support (managing licences, plans, add-ons andupgrades)

We continue to support SQW with their regular IT systems management, maintenance, software licensing, advice, user Support Helpdesk and more.

The Conclusion

SQW have now successfully used Skype for Business for several years to accomplish rich communication using just one integrated system - encompassing PSTN calling (dialling ordinary numbers), dial-in conferencing, instant messaging and knowledge sharing.

This means instead of needing to pay for and use multiple systems, they could simply use the familiar Skype for Business system (which is part of their Office 365 subscription) to do their telephony as well.

This was achieved with minimal disruption: by making sure their existing phone numbers were correctly ported over, planning ahead so that we took care of every details, and keeping user interruption to an absolute minimum.

SQW's recent transition from using SfB to the new and improved Microsoft Teams has also gone smoothly. Their staff are now able to take advantage of even more integrated functionality, to improve collaboration and make knowledge sharing across different parts of the business easier.

- Luke Delahunty, Director, on his experience of the transition

"Syplex were friendly, responsive and professional throughout the process. They understood what we were seeking to achieve, and obviously cared about our needs"