UTS Insearch’s rollout of RingCentral was “literally in the nick of time” according to Sarah Chaloner, the global education provider’s Head of IT and Digital Services. The cutover and porting of telephone extensions to RingCentral’s unified communications from its legacy IP telephony environment took place in March – just as Australia was implementing strict new COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
UTS Insearch is the premium pathway provider to the University of Technology Sydney, delivering education programs to transform the lives of over 5,000 students from 75 different countries every year. The organisation has been delivering on a four-year digital strategy to move from an infrastructure-heavy IT environment to an online, as-a-service ecosystem.
Changes are made as existing contracts have come up for renewal, including the implementation of Canvas as its new learning management system (LMS) and now RingCentral. Both have been critical for Insearch to rapidly pivot from a classroom-based approach to a 100% remote teaching and learning model. That’s insulated Insearch from the full impact of the pandemic and enabled them to continue to deliver their university pathway courses to students during the lockdown, including a significant proportion of international students who are still in their home countries.
“With the rollout of RingCentral Phone, our default position was that everybody gets a softphone. That meant that as soon as the COVID-19 lockdown happened, we provisioned our teams with headsets and laptops so that they could work from home,” explained Chaloner.
“Our original plan was to deploy RingCentral Phone first, then RingCentral Meetings later. With the sudden change to remote working and online courses, we rolled out Meetings straight away, which has been much more stable and secure than our former video solution and enabled Insearch to meet, consult and teach online in an unprecedented fashion,” she continued.
Insearch marked their first full month of teaching, learning and working online by clocking up around 3.5 million minutes using RingCentral Meetings, with a cumulative figure of 110,000 participants from 41 countries joining and collaborating in 4,844 meetings. The map below shows the number of participants in each country, showing how RingCentral is well and truly being used right across the globe.
Insearch has kept staff connected with regular video catch-ups, including social events and a special Star Wars trivia quiz for Insearch staff and student helpers to celebrate May the Fourth (Sarah Chaloner is a huge Star Wars fan). Each quiz team was headed up by a squad leader and organised using Breakout Rooms in the RingCentral meeting, making it easy for participants to discuss and agree on their answers.
“Moving to an online world has completely changed the culture at Insearch, so when restrictions start easing and we return to ‘normal’ it will be interesting to see how much of what we are doing today we can keep in place permanently. We’ve already identified significant long-term financial savings will be possible with a move to more online teaching and blended learning, and we now have a much more robust business continuity capability than we have ever had before,” concluded Chaloner.