Helping the Royal Air Forces Association move to unified communications

Customer introduction

The Royal Air Forces Association is a military charity that provides help and support to serving personnel, veterans and their families. The charity provides a range of services from  nurseries through to support for veterans. Gradwell’s work with RAFA on this project was around supporting the group telephone system to include ‘RAFA Kidz’ nursery settings, which provide childcare for the children of serving personnel located on RAF bases across the UK.

Key achievements

  • Unified head-office and remote locations into a single solution
  • Significantly reduced telephony costs
  • Improved service reliability for head office and nursery sites

The challenge

Seeking a solution to solve their strategic ambition of ‘access anywhere’ Carl Wood, IT Network & Infrastructure Manager, reached out to Gradwell seeking a cost-effective cloud-based VoIP phone system. They needed a solution that would enable them to rapidly increase the speed at which they complete the acquisition and setup process of new nurseries as they continued to grow.

For the years prior, the nurseries located on RAF bases that were a part of the RAFA organisation, and the head office were operating using an on-premise system, which was resulting in increasing costs, maintenance challenges and a lack of modern features. In addition, reliability was an issue for the systems on site, and any power outage meant that they lost access to their phone systems, so they needed something which meant that they could always maintain telephony access.

With a unified communications solution like 3CX, RAFA would have the ability to quickly spin up new instances and provide new numbers so that the nurseries could contact both the head office, staff, and parents.

Why the 3CX phone system was a great fit

The previous onboarding process for new nurseries joining the organisation was time-consuming and not user-friendly. Relying on third parties to make system changes to the legacy code was increasing the costs to the organisation and meant that they had limited control of the setup. They needed to remove the burden of support and maintenance so that their IT teams could focus on other priorities whilst ensuring that the phones were reliable across the organisation.

The 3CX phone system allows complex organisations like RAFA with head office, remote and on-site employees to have reliable access, wherever they are on any device. As RAFA’s objective was to grow and acquire more nurseries, 3CX was a great fit as it provided them with a far more agile and flexible option than an on-premise system, and they could quickly spin up new instances that were far more user friendly.

The benefits of implementing unified communications technology extends beyond this, as it also provided them with access to a host of new features that would benefit both the IT teams, and the end-users in the nurseries. Some of the features that stood out to Carl during the procurement process included identity / presence management, and the softphone apps. Both were key to addressing the ‘access anywhere’ strategy needs so that they could take calls wherever they are, and in the event of a power outage, they would always have access on other devices.

As a non-profit, cost management was key in this project. So, the simultaneous call license model that 3CX offers was a great fit. It means that RAFA only need to pay for the number of concurrent users, which was a good fit for the organisation where the calls are primarily inbound and internal.

“Gradwell were attentive and on the ball throughout the implementation. This really was one of the best IT service experiences I have had in my whole career”

Carl Wood, Network & Infrastructure Manager

How Gradwell helped

As a top tier 3CX partner, the services provided in addition to the great features of 3CX is what stood out to Carl during the rollout.

During the implementation and ongoing support process, there were a range of stakeholders to consider with varying levels of technical capability. The Head Office based IT team needed detailed technical support to migrate the on-premise system to 3CX, ensuring that the high levels of security were maintained given the military links. For the staff working out of the nurseries, the Gradwell support team were on-hand to ensure fast setup of new users, troubleshooting any handset issues, and provisioning of DDIs, drastically reducing the time it typically takes to get a nurseries’ communications up to speed.

In summary, the RAFA organisation, with Gradwell’s support, have now implemented a user-friendly, flexible communications solution that means 100s of staff can ‘access anywhere’. Telephony costs have been significantly reduced, and they are no longer reliant on third-parties to manage the system and make changes, resulting in a smooth experience for technical users in the IT team, and nursery staff across the UK.

To find out more about our 3CX offering, please contact us using the button below.

Learn more

More case studies

Transforming community support services with the Wave Phone System

Transforming community support services with the Wave Phone System

Marches Energy Agency is a fuel poverty charity dedicated to helping people keep warm in their homes through energy advice, home visits, grant facilitation, and training. With a focus on sustainable and renewable energy, they aim to empower individuals and communities...

Unifying Communications for Goldtempest

Unifying Communications for Goldtempest

Goldtempest are a growing marketing agency based in York. Prior to a recent merger of three individual agencies to create one group, each agency operated independently with their own phone lines and service providers. This resulted in a fragmented communication system...

Enabling Growth: The Envision and Gradwell Partner Success Story

Enabling Growth: The Envision and Gradwell Partner Success Story

This case study explores how Envision Communications Group partnered with Gradwell to quickly bring new VoIP services to market, helping them grow fast and stand out from the crowd. The story highlights the collaboration between two organisations, driven by a shared...