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Going to the Cloud for Communications

Decision Toolbox is an employee-recruitment firm that aims to offer a low-cost alternative to traditional recruitment services, and one way they keep their costs down is by having a 100% virtual workforce, with employees scattered across the country. However, that model creates unique challenges in implementing a communications solution to meet these highly distributed workers' needs.

Decision Toolbox decided early on to meet this deployment challenge by selecting a hosted communications approach. After several false starts with providers that couldn't meet their needs, Decision Toolbox finally settled on Masergy's unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solution, in the process discovering that a hosted model offered business advantages it couldn't provide on its own.

The major challenge that Decision Toolbox faced was that, with a distributed workforce, you really don't know what the Internet connection is like for each individual worker, according to company founder Jay Barnett. Further, you don't know whether individuals will be using a particular softphone, device, hardphone configuration, etc. Essentially, there is no standard.

The main issues Decision Toolbox employees were experiencing revolved around QoS, ranging from frequent one way-only audio, to echo and garbled voice quality. In fact, call quality got so bad that employees would joke about Darth Vader joining their calls.

Improving Quality of Service
Masergy's managed cloud network is able to better ensure QoS, and Masergy staff worked with each individual user who reported QoS issues to resolve problems, according to Dean Manzoori, Masergy vice president of global cloud communications. Call quality over the public Internet is based on best effort, and not a guarantee, but when problems did arise, Masergy's help desk worked with Decision Toolbox employees to identify the potential cause of the problems, recommending a set of best practices to mitigate issues. For example, Masergy would work with a user to pre-qualify the home environment by configuring firewalls and routers to set up the user for optimized UC service, Manzoori explained.

Because public Internet connections are used, Masergy's help desk is unable to directly resolve problems with IP access. However, Masergy provides users with sufficient forensic information to turn to their Internet Service Provider to get problems resolved.

While QoS is table stakes for any communications system, Masergy was able to provide cutting-edge Unified Communications capabilities as well. In the case of Decision Toolbox, the internal team is able to use APIs to create screen pops that let Decision Toolbox integrate its CRM system with Masergy's cloud. This integration allows Decision Toolbox employees to click-to-call within contact records, view activity and even take notes on a particular call. Click-to-call capability is additionally provided for internal communications, so visibility across the business is greatly improved.

To visualize the productivity improvement, consider the typical scenario: When an incoming call is received, the Masergy system looks at the role of the Decision Toolbox user receiving the call and the company's history with the caller. It then identifies the pieces of information about the caller that are likely to be the most pertinent for immediate use, presenting the information via the screen pop feature to the Decision Toolbox employee. The cursor is also instantaneously focused on a field to enable the employee to quickly and easily take notes on the call.

The mobile capabilities allow employees to make and receive calls on their mobile devices with the same features and quality as they would experience at their home office.

Barnett said Decision Toolbox has seen a significant gain in productivity since selecting Masergy solutions, which is critical for a company that's continuing to grow. And with the flexibility of Masergy's cloud, Decision Toolbox does not have to worry about hitting a growth ceiling or having their communications systems limit the scale of their growth moving forward.