CASE STUDY: Manchester Academy School Invests in Communication


Since opening in September 2003, Manchester Academy has established itself as a school transforming the life chances of some of the most disadvantaged young people. It fulfils a major role in regeneration of the area and in contributing to community capacity. The Academy has close and highly effective partnerships with renowned universities, local and nationwide businesses, as well as United Learning. United Learning is a national group made up of over fifty schools from the maintained and independent sectors. The Group is always keen to employ appropriate technologies to further its core educational mission, wherever a benefit can be demonstrated.

Manchester Academy’s Challenge

Manchester Academy identified the need to refresh their telephony infrastructure and handsets. Telephony is a critically important point of contact between parents and academy and is often the first interaction that parents have with the academy.  It was therefore critical that they had an effective, high quality and robust telephony solution. As their existing Cisco telephone system had been in place for more than 10 years, it was identified as a risk and therefore earmarked for replacement. With limited budget, they needed to find a solution which reduced operational cost long term, allowing them to use future IT budgets for strategic IT projects rather than paying to maintain expensive telephone hardware and old ISDN services.

Key to the solution would be having much greater control of the telephony system enabling them to make any changes in-house, plus virtualisation of the solution within the schools existing server infrastructure and a handful of new time saving features such as Call Recording and click to call from the users desktop. It would also need to be simple to deploy, keeping installation costs low.

The Solution and Technology

The Academy really took the time to evaluate the market and included a formal tender process to which key suppliers were invited to respond. After evaluating the responses and creating a shortlist of 3, including major players such as Mitel and Avaya, the Academy decided on Unify’s Openscape Business solution supplied and installed by Everything Voice. The solution neatly fitted into their existing server infrastructure which meant that without proprietary hardware, the proposition was very competitively priced against other solutions.

Key Benefits of Everything Voice’s solution

  • No proprietary telephone system hardware was necessary, with the whole system integrating neatly into the schools existing server infrastructure, making it low cost to buy and support and simple to maintain.
  • Al system management can be performed by the school’s IT department, reducing cost, improving user experience and minimising timeframes for changes to be made.

In The Words of the Client…

Everythingvoice worked with us from the time they were selected via a tender process to implement the new Unify Openscape phone system. The implementation went smoothly and servers and all phones were successfully installed over the course of one week with little downtime. The small issues were quickly dealt with by Richard and his technical team. When we had network issues they quickly adapted the proposal so it worked with the existing ISDN connections, until the network problems were resolved to enable the proposed SIP connection. They even managed to reduce the monthly ISDN cost from the existing phone provider. I am very happy with Everything Voice and the Unify Opescape system. The system was much easier than our previous system and seems very flexible.  The system provides all we require and so we would recommend both the Openscape system and Everything Voice to people looking to implement a new phone system.”

Mike Loughman, IT Manager, Manchester Academy School

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