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What is Driving Schools and Colleges Investment in Telecom Services?
Supplier Focus: Communications
Today communications and telecom services are critical to how a schools and higher education operates. From traditional voice and data Internet and cloud connectivity to mobile and remote always on connectivity for students, teaching and administrative staff.
Voice, video and data services are critical elements in delivering the education curriculum and the day-to-day running of schools.
The Department for Education continue to highlight key areas where technology and communications should play a pivotal role in how schools and colleges operate.
Choosing a consultative service provider is becoming more important versus choosing ‘off the shelf’ individual packages. Producing tailored comms solutions that proves less expensive, unified and designed to your specific needs. We see on average schools can save over 27% with a unified solution compared to individual traditional services.
What is ‘Unified Comms’? Generically it is the bringing together of multiple telecom services under a single solution, traditionally that means your voice and data needs. In the last few years that has also meant integrating your mobile needs as well as unifying all your communications in to a single ‘business grade’ IP strategy. Surprisingly not difficult at all.
This is becoming even more relevant with the catalyst that is the UK’s plans to switch off the tradition telephone dial up networks in the next few years.
Significant cost savings can frequently be realized not just by using one reliable Wide Area Network (WAN) for all your voice and data but using a specialised service provider that can integrate all these services with a single bill, single support and bespoke design.
Abzorb recently invested in a survey to see what really was driving education sectors’ decision making when it comes to comms.
Predictably (in service and costs), reliability and budget/cost savings are the biggest drivers in the education sector when selecting a communications provider. What is encouraging is that trends are already being seen within the sector to support these demands.
Multi-service or unified communication providers are proving to many to be a favoured approach for schools, colleges and universities, allowing them to address rising costs whilst at the same time improving school efficiency, increasing speed and reliability of services and support.
Survey Result: What Benefits have partnering with a Unified Comms provider such as Abzorb made?
Whilst the challenge of moving towards pure IP or IP transit for fixed voice needs to be resolved over the next 2-5 years, there is a viable opportunity to reduce telecoms spend by converging data and voice into a single WAN solution, giving education establishments the option to increase control, features and supplier reliability.
Simple IP cards and SIP trunk connectivity upgrades are now proven to be reliable and cost-effective alternatives to more costly ISDN. Similarly, hosted IP Voice is now mainstream with SLAs that can prove even more cost effective when eliminating the need to implement a new onsite telephony switch or PBX.
The good news when it comes to Internet and cloud data connectivity is the increased rollout of fibre broadband, which in turn provides a more competitive market for leased
G.fast, FTTP and Ethernet WAN is giving the education sector more choice and hence better commercially viable solutions. There are a plethora of options for organisations to increase their bandwidth at limited or no extra cost and consolidating their voice and data on a single network, which eliminates the need for high cost PSTN and ISDN fixed lines.
The complication is finding an agnostic and unbiased comms provider that represents allof these technologies. Partnering on a wholesale basis with one of the major mobile, fixed voice and data infrastructure providers (for example BT, Vodafone, O2 etc) and award-winning innovators such as CityFibre and Xelion means that you can choose the right solution for your specific needs.
The challenge for the education sector appears to be finding service providers who can deliver reliability and cost savings, whilst at the same time delivering a consultative approach and meeting the technological guidelines specified by the Department for Education.
This is where the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) Framework can deliver added value. The CCS Service works to simplify the procurement process for organisations in the public sector. Using a list of pre-screened suppliers checked against stringent qualification criteria means public sector institutions can instantly source an approved supplier and benefit from the collective buying power of thousands of purchasers resulting in significant time and cost savings.
Abzorb has always followed the goal to provide a consultative and unbiased approach whilst offering a single bill for multiple services from the DofE guidelines for Cloud and Internet connectivity, fixed voice services (onsite or cloud hosted) and mobile. We are proud to be recognized for this approach by being named on 7 separate categories on the CCS framework. Our appointment to this framework assures the education sector that we are providing a competitive cost and reliable service with proven technology and support.