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Informa switches from more than 10,000 phone numbers to a single cloud-calling solution
While growing through acquisition benefited Informa’s global reach and market specialism, it resulted in more than seven telephony systems spread over five businesses. They chose NTT to add cloud calling to Microsoft Teams and manage the solution, as well as migrate them to a Genesys Cloud Contact Center solution. In a short time, NTT helped them overcome resistance from colleagues who were attached to their physical phones and implement a single global system with 24x7 support.
Informa is a leading international events, digital services and academic knowledge group with 11,000 colleagues working in more than 30 countries.
They champion the specialist. Through hundreds of brands and a range of products and services, they connect businesses and professionals with the knowledge needed to learn more, know more and do more.
Informa is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of FTSE 100.
From “making it work” to a unified, global cloud-calling solution
Informa is a young company with deep roots. While the main company was formed in 1998, some of their brands can trace their history back decades or even centuries. This is because acquisitions are part of their strategy to bring specialized skills together.
However, it also bought together a range of different telephony and communications systems. These were patched together with a series of gateways, translation patterns and different technologies to resemble an enterprise system – but it really didn't function that way. Even something as simple as calling a colleague in a different country worked differently depending on which office the employee was in. As a result, Informa had many challenges with collaboration between colleagues in different cities.
Their legacy environment also involved managing different equipment in different offices.
Informa has five different divisions, adding to the complexity. So, a large-scale project like modernizing equipment means juggling different teams and different businesses, each with very different requirements.
As part of their goal to create a standard employee experience internally and reduce their carbon footprint, Informa wanted to move away from phones on desks. They aimed to move all the users who had telephony and contact center requirements over to cloud calling, then dismantle the legacy phone systems.
Informa wanted a partner who could help them standardize their IT systems across the business and manage the solution for them. “Partnering is extremely important to Informa. The difference between a supplier and a partner is about the openness of the relationship and ensuring that we get those classic win-wins. Not every supplier will be a partner,” Euan Connor, Chief Technology Operating Officer at Informa, explains.
“As a global business that works across multiple sectors, it's really important that we are light on our feet. Throughout Informa, every business and every market, we share the same purpose: to champion the specialist through knowledge, and to enable people to know more, learn more and do more. Communication for both colleagues and customers is absolutely fundamental to who we are as a business.”
Implementing a solution in record time when the need arose
When choosing a partner for their global cloud-based delivery model, Informa wanted a business with local presence as well as global reach, not just a large telephony industry partner. NTT met the criteria and was chosen to assist with the new solution.
It was decided to implement Microsoft Teams and integrate it with their Genesys Cloud Contact Center. The project involved removing over 10,000 phone numbers across seven different phone systems and adding cloud calling to Microsoft Teams.
A global cloud-migration project like this would usually take about a year. But the pandemic and the need to be able to work from home condensed the timeline down to two or three months. The Informa and NTT teams worked together tirelessly, every day, to speed up the process and all employees were moved over to cloud calling for Teams within this very tight timeline.
This was the biggest external challenge in implementing the new system.
“Internally, the biggest challenge was change for our users,” says Sheena Vadher, a project manager at Informa. “Many, many colleagues have been part of this business for many, many years and were very attached to their phones and their phone numbers. We weren’t only getting rid of the desk phones but moving them to a new solution. And changing their phone numbers.”
We worked together to get these users on board, combining communication from senior stakeholders and management with training to encourage employees to adopt the solution.
And the project didn’t end once all colleagues had access to the cloud calling service. Support is available all the time, no matter the time zone, through our managed services. We also monitor the solution and react fast to remedy any outages.
“We chose NTT because we wanted their expertise. We were looking for a partner that had direct routing as a service that they could deliver and manage on our behalf. We wanted a reliable world-class network in the background that we didn't have to worry about.”
Managing complexity, not expectations
“We had a lot of complexity; we had a lot of difficulty. Now we’ve reached business as usual. We get to do the fun work now, like service enhancements. We've reduced our environment by over 10,000 numbers. So, we don't have phones on the desktop anymore. It’s exciting for me and exciting for the team not to have that kind of technology to manage anymore,” says Mathew Often, Director of IT Identity and Collaboration Services, Informa.
Reducing costs and enhancing sustainability
Moving to a cloud-only environment meant that Informa didn’t have to use and manage data centers anymore. This has reduced both their infrastructure costs and carbon footprint.
Working as an extension of Informa’s team
“Communication is key to making any project successful. You’re not only working with internal teams but with a large organization like NTT. They feel like part of the extended Informa team. It didn't feel like it was, you know, ‘us and them’ – we did become an ‘us’,” says Vadher.
Improving the overall user experience
With only one telephony system across the entire company, employees can now make calls any time. And with only one system to manage, the number of tickets has reduced, so the overall support model has also improved significantly.