Maximiser OS Masters Marketing Company Solutions

Peter Price is adamant that 'if you continue to do the same old things, you'll get the same old results.' Applying this belief to his business, he started Marketing Masters in 2002, Price wanted a modern telephone system to complement his new venture. Based in Liverpool, Marketing Masters was founded because Price had identified a growing need by an ever-increasing number of organisations that wanted assistance in winning and then retaining customers, in differentiating themselves from their competitors and in delivering a proposition that added real value for their customers.

Telephony Background

Sold on the cost-saving and productivity benefits of VoIP and OpenSource systems Price initially chose an Asterisk PBX with 3rd Party SIP handsets and SIP Trunks from VoIP service provider Gradwell. This IP telephone system was installed during 2005. At first everything was fine, but as the business grew, so shortcomings in the Asterisk system began to appear. As Peter Price explains, "As the level of phone calls grew, we were unable to manage, route and compress calls to a level that matched the bandwidth being delivered to us by Gradwell. Once we received too many calls, voice quality deteriorated and then calls would be disconnected. In addition, the system supplier and maintainer of the PBX was no longer around. Finally, there was the complete lack of a solid manufacturer presence behind the product. On the face of it an Open Source solution like Astrisk should be ideal for companies who want a modern IP PBX that can be developed and changed on an ongoing way to meet their evolving business needs. The reality for Marketing Masters was that by this stage we could identify no clear avenue for ongoing support, or implementing adds, moves and changes on a telephone system that was no longer doing what we required from it."

Finding The Right Solution

Enter accredited SpliceCom partner GHC (now part of Square Group Ltd.). Business Development Manager Adrian Bolton takes up the story. "From previous experience we knew that Maximiser OS could deliver a lot more than an Astrisk based system and once we'd established Marketing Masters' exact needs, we were convinced that it was the ideal solution. The fact that SpliceCom were a British company, indeed they're the only British manufacturer of business telephone systems, was also re-assuring to Peter."

With the Maximiser OS system being initially pre-configured to minimise the period of downtime following the disconnection of the existing PBX, the most problematic area of the transition concerned the SIP trunks. The Asterisk system utilised several proprietary 'single-line' SIP accounts, each of which required Astrisk related system codes to be entered within the online account configuration portal to utilise the service. Marketing Masters' main published number was tied to this service. GHC's SIP provider of choice is Gamma Telecom, whom they have found to be very consistent when deploying SIP trunks with SpliceCom systems. Gradwell had no porting agreement in place with Gamma. In addition SIP numbers can't be ported back to standard BT ISDN lines. The solution required Gradwell to convert the existing lines to a standards based SIP service, however, this meant that only a limited number of simultaneous calls could be handled, due to the original account being a single line implementation and not a true multi-line SIP trunk. Because of the limited call capacity, these lines were exclusively reserved for incoming calls on Maximiser OS, whilst a new SIP account from Gamma was commissioned for out going calls. Over time this will allow Marketing Masters to publish and transition to the new Gamma numbers for inbound calls as well as outbound and then decommission the Gradwell account once the majority of calls are coming in via the new lines. A total of 10 SIP trunks are now in use across the clients existing XEN 512MB SDSL connection. The use of G.729 trunk compression on Maximiser OS ensures that the desired number of simultaneous calls can be handled, whilst the problems with disconnected calls and reduced voice quality, due to the Astrisk system's inability to manage the available bandwidth in an intelligent manner, have been eliminated.

The original 3rd Party IP phones were replaced with SpliceCom's PCS 520 display phones, most of which are used in conjunction with the PCS 60 'Phone Partner' application, whilst a SIP Conference Terminal from Polycom has also been deployed on the SpliceCom IP PBX. In addition, Marketing Masters have integrated their Microsoft Dynamics customer response management (CRM) application within the browser of the PCS 60 'Phone Partner.'

Future Plans

With an eye to expansion, Marketing Masters has recently taken up the lease of additional office space in the same building. Due to Maximiser OS's distributed architecture, only a single cable needs to be run from the existing system to the new offices in order to facilitate the installation of further PCS 520s via a co-located Phone Module, or alternatively, SpliceCom's latest PCS 560 or PCS 570 IP Phones. This greatly reduces the costs usually associated with such an expansion, in terms of both time and materials.

The new office also includes 6 digital trunk lines, presented as BT ISDN2 connections. Maximiser OS?s ability to transparently support ISDN and IP trunks simultaneously means that Marketing Masters will be able to utilise the existing lines to further increase the capacity for simultaneous calls and to provide a back-up for the existing SIP trunks should the SDSL connection experience an outage.

In the near future Marketing Masters, will be investigating the integration of remote and home based workers onto their Maximiser OS system. The Square Group will assist in the implementation and configuration of secure connections between employees' homes and the office. This approach allows the home-based workforce access to the very same advanced Maximiser OS features that they utilise in the office.

The SpliceCom Difference

"I'm the Managing Director of a rapidly expanding Marketing organisation. I'm not the most technical person in the world, nor do I want to be. In the same way that we provide Marketing expertise to other businesses, I look to work in partnership with companies who can advise and assist Marketing Masters on harnessing IT & communications to meet our business needs. We didn?t get that first time around, but GHC and SpliceCom have restored my faith in the high tech sector," stated Peter Price.

"Because of our initial experience with the Astrisk system we've gained a very detailed insight into the logistics surrounding IP telephone calls, number allocation and the ability, or rather the lack of it, to move telephone numbers between different types of phone lines. Whilst the differences between phone systems, the way they do things and the manner in which they're supported might appear subtle on paper, they can have far reaching consequences for the organisations that use them. We now understand that the way in which Maximiser OS is able to support ratified standards based SIP telephone lines, from multiple providers, is important when it comes to choice and cost-savings in the future, particularly when you bear in mind the increasing availability of these services. By changing to Maximiser OS and using it as the basis of our business telephone system, we are using British technology, which is supported and maintained by a certified dealer channel and backed up by an experienced and seasoned team within SpliceCom. It's delivering greater business efficiency and peace of mind and puts Marketing Masters in an ideal position to leverage and embrace the true benefits and cost-savings associated with VoIP - which is where it all started in the first place," concluded Price.

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