“It took some courage to do what we have done with our workplace and telephony system. At times this was not an easy ride and our perseverance was tested more than once. But looking at where we are now, we can confidently say we’ve laid a strong foundation for the future workplace.”
For Ronald Majoor, an important part of his role as Senior Vice President of IT Infrastructure at global vendor finance company DLL is having the determination to see what opportunities a workplace transformation will offer employees in the future.
The company has worked tirelessly over the past three years to implement a telephony solution that allows DLL to connect its business critical call centres across the world. And as the company’s workforce has been forced to work remotely due to COVID-19, the newly launched solution immediately proved its worth. “Our call centre workforce has remained connected with our customers throughout the year,” says Majoor.
“The solution we have in place with Anywhere365 and Microsoft Teams made sure that our call centres can continue to operate in the same way as they did before COVID-19,” he adds.
A complex company structure in need of a unified solution
Headquartered in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, DLL is the world’s leading vendor finance partner, providing sustainable and effective finance solutions to industries including agriculture, food, healthcare, construction, transportation, industrial, and technology. With EUR 35 billion in assets and more than 5,000 employees working in over 30 countries and even more locations around the world, it is a large operation.
“When I started as Senior Vice President of Infrastructure, the program to implement this new solution was already underway, but there were still some fundamental choices to be made,” says Majoor. “The security and scalability of the roll-out, as well as the overall scope and priorities needed to be determined. But it was clear that the model we were working in, internally and with customers, needed to be improved.”
What he found was a company restricted by a centralized approach to workplace deployment. “Our people needed to be better able to buy and setup their own workplaces from the countries they worked in without being heavily dependent on a central service.
“We had many different products being supplied by various partners who were all key and could make or break the availability of our service,” he continues. “But together they didn’t make a consolidated whole, which made our IT landscape complex.”
The company needed a unified, cohesive communications platform that would bring everything together under one umbrella – to the extent that was possible – and phase out the use of these older technologies. With the help of ICTeams, that is what DLL have achieved.
Creating a unified communications platform in the cloud
“We had already been working with DLL for several years before the Teams telephony implementation,” says Harold Speeks, Business Consultant at Microsoft partner ICTeams. The initial role of ICTeams had been moving the organization to Microsoft 365 and introducing other collaboration tools like SharePoint as part of DLL’s Future Workplace strategy.
But once that infrastructure had been established, the focus turned to implementing an integrated cloud-based telephony system that would give DLL’s workforce greater flexibility and access to remote working possibilities. “We started that project nearly three years ago,” says Speeks. “And I think almost in parallel, we introduced Microsoft Teams.”
Initially, ICTeams began implementing the telephony system through Skype for Business, but they soon realized that a more future-proof solution would be to connect the telephony system Anywhere365 through Microsoft Teams. Anywhere365 is a Cloud Contact Center certified for Microsoft Teams. It allows Microsoft Teams to become the hub for customer engagement.
By consolidating their IT infrastructure into one platform – Microsoft 365 – DLL would be able to improve the user experience by providing access to all the tools their employees needed from one application. It would also allow the team to save time by using one hub for teamwork and customer experience instead of multiple solutions.
DLL began testing its Microsoft Teams solution in the summer of 2019, and by January 2020 they were ready to launch.
The benefits of cloud telephony
DLL and ICTeams launched the telephony system right before the pandemic hit, at the beginning of 2020, and initial feedback from users highlighted how much insight sales-reps and customer service operators now have into their calls through Power BI dashboards.
“Users now get insights into how many calls they’ve missed, how many times their customers have called, and how many interactions the company has with those customers,” says Speeks.
“In addition we now have insight into how many people are waiting in the queue, which can support staffing decisions. These are insights that the legacy solutions DLL previously used did not provide.”
And the benefits have been amplified by the company-wide move to remote working. “Traditionally, there would be 10-50 people in a contact centre sitting next to each other in the US office, making and receiving customer calls,” says Speeks. “In that setup, a supervisor had oversight of that group, seeing who was present, and who wasn’t. They could sit next to an agent who was new for training purposes, or jump into a call.“
“With the new solution, they can do the same, but virtually. So, although people are not physically in the office, supervisors can still see how many agents are available, how many are logged in. They can even whisper to an agent, listen to the call and give advice for training purposes. Or if there’s a difficult customer situation and you need the supervisor to join, they can join the call remotely.”
It has all led to the business continuity that DLL had been hoping to achieve during a year when COVID-19 has presented challenges for every company. “In these times, ensuring business continuity is the primary focus,” says Majoor. “And that is what the solution we now have with Anywhere365 and Microsoft Teams allows us to do.”
Building a foundation for the future
“There is a big lifecycle management component to this program,” says Majoor, reflecting on the new solution DLL has in place and how it meets the standards of the company’s Future Workplace strategy.
“We invested heavily in the current workplace and by doing so we are now able to again follow the heartbeat of the industry. With Microsoft 365 we have the foundation in place to embrace and leverage new technologies as they become available and continue to build on our platform.”