“Our plan was to release the basic RingCentral product together with new handsets on every desk, then slowly introduce new features – to give our people time to adjust to the change,” said Richard Dixon, Practice Manager at Pitcher Partners Adelaide.
“Then COVID-19 hit, and we sent everyone to work from home, so we just had to roll it all out.”
Financial services firm Pitcher Partners Adelaide had already decided to upgrade its end-of-life ShoreTel telephony system with RingCentral’s cloud communications solution. The RingCentral solution had been recommended by Pitcher Partners’ independent telecommunications advisor TelcoDataCloud, providing the best mix of enterprise-grade PABX capabilities with the ability for Pitcher Partners to manage the solution themselves, and an open platform for integration with other applications already in use within the organisation.
While it is the first Pitcher Partners organisation to adopt RingCentral in Australia, Pitcher Partners Adelaide had confidence in the technology from its own testing and the successful review of RingCentral in the UK by its UK Baker Tilly affiliate.
Prior to Covid-19, Pitcher Partners’ 70+ staff worked from one office location in central Adelaide and were used to conventional telephony. The firm’s initial plan was to gradually ease staff onto the new phone system by replicating the user experience, followed by training, then introducing the feature rich functionality of the platform over time.
However, with the COVID-19 case numbers increasing in Adelaide in late March, and based on State Government advice, it was the sudden shift towards all staff being required to work from home that accelerated the rollout. This meant the initial training scheduled on the new communications features was also limited. Luckily due to the intuitive, user-friendly RingCentral interface on the apps, “people just adapted to the new technology and were using it immediately,” said Dixon.
“It’s second nature now. We’re loving RingCentral’s flexibility.”
Pitcher Partners was even able to replicate the same rotating receptionist function it used in the office with everyone working remotely. “It was very easy to go into the RingCentral management portal to assign the receptionist function to different people in the business at different times,” said Dixon.
Video has now become a frequently-used communication channel internally, and also for client meetings, and the staff are enthusiastic users of RingCentral Message for team messaging and collaboration.
Pitcher Partners saw its monthly communications costs cut immediately by one-third through decommissioning its SIP connections. The billing simplicity introduced by RingCentral is also a welcome change, says Dixon: “it is very clear what I am paying for each month.”
With COVID-19 restrictions eased in July, Pitcher Partners again adapted, allowing a small percentage of staff to return to the office by gradually increasing the numbers until the majority were back in October. The audio and video quality of the RingCentral platform has been a pleasant surprise for Dixon, with a test 30Mbps connection in the office, and consumer-grade broadband services from home.
Pitcher Partners also has an eye on future integration, with plans to connect RingCentral with its GreatSoft practice management platform and Mitimes automated timesheet recording application. This will generate significant productivity benefits for Pitcher Partners, with more extensive and accurate capture of client activity and interactions, and enhancing the single view of the client to incorporate multiple channels of communication.
For Dixon, work at Pitcher Partners has changed permanently.
“Post-COVID, we are more flexible with our working arrangements. With RingCentral in place, we have the ability to be a lot more reachable for our clients.”