NFON is the Catalyst for Digital Transformation at a Top London Council

Hackney London Borough Council unlocks millions in cost savings by migrating from traditional PBX technology to the cloud

Business Need

To replace ageing telecom infrastructure with a more effective IP telephony service capable of delivering efficiencies across the Council and improving how its 5,500 users communicate with one another and the community of Hackney.

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Business Results

  • Achieves year-on-year savings of over GBP 440,000 (GBP 2.2m over 5 years)

  • Removes the operational overheads, scalability constraints and business continuity risks of on-premise PBX infrastructure

  • Supports the reliable and efficient delivery of public facing services and back-office processes

  • Mobilises over 2,000 users to remain productive regardless of their location

How Public Sector Communications Can Play to Win

Everything humans use must ‘move with the times’. Not for the sake of fashion, but to stay relevant to changing habits and needs. At NFON, we see this time and again with communications systems and processes evolving to address how people want to work. Such evolution happens constantly, and it's all around us.

Community goals give London borough a sporting chance

Deep in the heart of London’s East End is Hackney Marshes; an oasis of green among the grey concrete tower blocks. Home to football pitches as far as the eye can see, Hackney Marshes is where generations of England captains like Bobby Moore, David Beckham and John Terry first played. It is the spiritual home of English ‘Sunday League’ football.   

But with playing numbers in decline, and the costs of maintaining pitches steadily growing, this hallowed ground has had to reinvent itself. Improved access, enhanced facilities to encourage walkers and cyclists, and new all-weather surfaces to maximise usage, are part of the legacy of the 2012 London Olympics. It’s an object lesson in ‘moving with the times’, and a credit to the vision of its operators, Hackney Council.

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Public sector austerity hits IT comms budgets too

Hackney’s achievement is made all the more impressive because UK local government authorities have been under intense budgetary pressure for the last decade. As their costs increase, Councils have seen budgets decline sharply.

As with public parks, Hackney has also had to save money from its communications budget without compromising quality.

Efficient communications is critical to the delivery of all Hackney Council’s public services. These range from libraries and leisure centres to social support and housing. Good comms also govern the slick execution of back-office business functions like accounts and HR.

When Hackney wanted to transform its IP telephony set-up, it turned to NFON. The objective: to deliver a more effective telecoms service that could improve efficiencies across the Council and, ultimately, the way the Council communicates. This, in turn, would enhance the delivery of services to residents and businesses across the area.

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A new, service-based delivery model for telephony

So out went the legacy PBX kit with its expensive operational overheads, lack of flexibility and inherent business continuity risks. In came a platform to mobilise and enable Council workers to be more productive and drive more innovative services.

“The NFON service has had a transformative effect, boosting productivity and equipping our desk-based and community-based users with new capabilities.” Matthew Pargeter, Project Manager, Hackney London Borough Council.

Hackney Council is now one of our biggest UK reference sites, with over 5,500 user licenses deployed. Compared to the Council’s previous solution, NFON’s enhanced telephony service nets annual savings of GBP £441,000, or more than GBP £2.2m over five years. But the benefits don’t end there.

Productivity, mobility, security and innovation

The move away from premises-based infrastructure to a cloud-based telephony service has also introduced updated conferencing and collaboration tools. This has cut the Council’s carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption and travel times to meetings.

Productivity has grown as Council staff have embraced over 160 advanced telephony features as standard. More than 2,000 mobile users enjoy fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) capability, with many more using our FMC app on personal mobile devices at no extra cost.

The service also incorporates contact centre capabilities including improved call management/recording, enhanced reporting, queue/workforce management, and customer surveys. Borough residents can get in touch using SMS, IM and webchat, as well as voice and email.

Our NFON cloud service also protects the integrity of important Council services. Data security is assured through our tap-proof call encryption, whilst voice quality and reliability is certified to the highest standards. In addition, free automated updates and patching of live communications systems ensures optimum system health.

Communications that are ready for anything

Hackney Council now enjoys improved continuity of public service delivery in the event of disaster scenarios, thanks to fully accessible, cloud-hosted telephony. This fact was hammered home when, shortly prior to being decommissioned and replaced by NFON, one of the Council’s old on-premise PBX hardware modules was struck by lightning! Fortunately, we were able to accelerate our deployment so that Council services were not impacted.

“NFON has delivered a reliable, scalable platform that has enabled extra productivity whilst saving hundreds of thousands of pounds.” Matthew Pargeter, Project Manager, Hackney London Borough Council.

Hackney Park

‘Next generation’ is an overused term in technology, but seems apt for the transformative evolution taking place at public sector bodies all over Europe, thanks to NFON. It’s amazing how innovative technology can support how people work.

Back at Hackney Marshes, the next generation of footballers is already working hard to achieve their potential and, one day, grace the global stage. With improved help, and the advantages of a world-class approach, who would bet against any of them?