Case Study: TriCorp Federal Credit Union

Tricorp Federal Credit Union, a Maine based Credit Union servicing other Credit Unions nation-wide, used a hosted IP PBX service from VoIPnet Technologies with Aastra IP phones to increase productivity, introduce phone based applications and radically reduce telecommunication costs while ensuring virtually 100% up time.

The Challenge

  • Tricorp needed to replace an outmoded, failure-prone and expensive-tomaintain phone system with a reliable, full featured, easy-to-maintain system that allows users to connect remotely.

The Solution

  • Aastra 480i CT IP telephones
  • VoIPnet’s BroadSoft-based hosted IP IBX solution
  • 1 Edgewater Networks EdgeMarc 4300T

The Cherry on Top

That’s what Ryan Breault, IT manager at Tricorp Federal Credit Union in Westbrook, Maine, calls the XML rate look-up application that service provider VoIPnet Technologies built for him using the Aastra XML Developer Kit.

The application, which lets users press a feature key on their Aastra 480i CT IP phone to get an instant display of current rates and fees on the phone’s screen, wasn’t on Breault’s shopping list when he went looking for a new phone system two years ago.

“Employees can be anywhere in the building now and still conduct business. And the call center people don’t have to put customers on hold as much while they go to a file cab-inet to find something. That helps reduce frustration levels”

Ryan Breault, IT Manager
Tricorp Federal Credit Union

“But we’d been dabbling with XML for a couple of years,” Breault explains “so when we discovered the Aastra phones had XML built in, we found that very intriguing.”

Built-in XML is one of several reasons VoIPnet now sells Aastra phones almost exclusively. “The rate look-up application is just one of many we’re developing for clients,” notes company resident and COO Todd Wolf.

XML certainly made the solution for Tri corp sweeter. It already included a hosted PBX service, trunk lines and broadband connectivity. VoIPnet uses the Broad-Works IP voice platform from BroadSoft Inc., with SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), and at customer sites, routers from Edgewater Networks Inc.

Key Benefits

  • Custom XML “look up” application accessible on phones saves time
  • Cordless handsets increase employee mobility and productivity
  • Annual savings of 50% on communication costs
  • Highly redundant network ensuring virtually 100% up time

Wireless convenience

The solution also included Aastra’s SIPbased 480i CT phones, another cherry on top. The 480i CT is a state-of-the-art IP screen phone but also has a separate cordless handset, something not available from other suppliers, Breault says. The mobility it allows employees makes them way more productive. “They can be anywhere in the building now and still conduct business,” he says. “And the call center people don’t have to put customers on hold as much while they go to a file cabinet to find something. That helps reduce frustration levels.”

Tricorp started off looking for a replacement for its five-year-old phone system, which was prone to failure and expensive to patch and update. “And it didn’t have the feature set we needed,” Breault says.

The replacement had to be reliable with a full feature
set and good voice quality. Tricorp employees had to be able to connect to it remotely and use it as if they were in the office. This was important because as part of a green initiative, the company lets workers stay home to work several days a month. The new system also had to be easy enough to administer that he could put it in multiple remote locations as part of a new disaster recovery – or as Breault prefers, business resumption – plan the firm was developing.

Tricorp considered pitches from all the usual suspects and was about to pull the trigger on investing $100,000 in an IP-PBX for headquarters and a second off-site system for business resumption. Then an IT colleague suggested Breault talk to VoIPnet.

Big Savings

Breault probably didn’t need the cherries on top. VoIPnet offered everything Tricorp needed, and because it was a hosted solution, the capital cost – mostly for the phones – was a fraction of what the company would have paid for an on-premise system. “We’re saving gobs of money,” Breault says.

In fact, Tricorp will save 50% a year on communications costs over what it would have paid. “And that’s forever,” he notes. “That’s a saving we’ll see every year. Plus we have more features and more stability. And the customer service is outstanding. If we do have an issue, VoIPnet’s support staff is right here.”

The company was able to scrap expensive plans to equip a business resumption facility. The beauty of a hosted IP and SIP-based solution is that users can access the PBX from anywhere they have broadband Internet access, make and take calls, collect voice mail and even transfer calls to colleagues.

Now if Tricorp experiences a catastrophic failure, employees can go home and work and customers don’t even have to know. “The person at the other end of the phone has no idea whether they’re calling you at the office – or if you’re in Taipei,” Breault says. Employees can use a home phone or mobile in a pinch, or take one of the Aastra 480i’s home with them. The company is also looking into providing a softphone to use on laptops.

Many Lines

With four network control centers dotted around the U.S. and a highly redundant network, VoIPnet can ensure virtually 100% up time – crucial for Tricorp’s business resumption strategy. “We could lose half the country and we’d still be in business,” Breault says.

The same solution features that supportTricorp’s business resumption strategy also of course make it easy to support the work-at-home green initiative. Another winning aspect of VoIPnet’s BroadSoft-based hosted PBX service is that it can be integrated easily with the Citrix system employees were already using to remotely log in to the Tricorp network to access applications and data.

But it was the XML application that really put a smile on Breault’s face and clinched the deal. The application is proving even more beneficial than expected.

Tricorp is a corporate credit union, meaning that its customers are other New England credit unions.

The rate look-up application initially helped Tricorp employees, especially contact center agents, get rates faster – saving employees, and customers, time. But now the company is making the application available to customers directly over the VoIPnet network.

“More and more institutions are hitting a button on their own phones to get our rates,” Breault explains. “Which means they’re not tying up our contact center lines and agents.”

The Aastra Advantage

The XML capability is one of a bunch of reasons VoIPnet consistently uses Aastra phones. Aastra also offers a wider range of models than competitors, its phones integrate superbly with BroadWorks and the EdgeMarc routers, they look much like the Nortel phones many customers are comfortable with – Aastra purchased portions of the Nortel legacy phone business years ago and continues to manufacture Nortel products – and they are “very cost competitive.”

And Aastra has bent over backwards to work with his company, Wolf says, helping with XML development, supporting VoIPnet at trade shows and solving the few problems that arise. “The support we get from their engineering people has really been phenomenal. Whenever we’ve had issues, Aastra has dealt with them very quickly.” So for Wolf too, the Aastra XML capability is a big juicy cherry on top.