MTS Takes Part in Sunova Credit Union's Growth by Providing a Seamless Communications Solution
With business growth comes business challenges, and Sunova Credit Union's combination of superior products and superior customer service has led them to both.
With plans to open branches in Winnipeg, Sunova knew its existing communications system would not satisfy its expanding presence in the Manitoba marketplace. Disparate systems across branches meant it would be difficult for troubleshooting, expansion and even branch-to-branch communications. Sunova needed to streamline its system for better productivity and to ensure additions and enhancements would support the company's growth.
Believing in an innovative "pod" approach to customer service, associates and customers meet in intimate in-branch meeting areas to view the customer's account information. However, Sunova was unsure of how to seamlessly transfer customers between these pods and more private areas within the branch, without making them wait due to issues such as associates needing to switch phones from one location to another. Other challenges included enabling associates to access and share data and voice messages across branches with the same ease.
Today, Sunova has adopted a centralized, integrated communications solution to run IP telephony over MTS's QoS-enabled MPLS network. "It was clear MTS had the right solution," said Dallas Kostna, VP and CIO of Sunova Credit Union.
By supporting converged communications, this solution allows associates to transfer both voice messages and data across their landlines, the Internet, in-branch pod stations and mobile devices. Failover between sites strengthens business continuity and ensures Sunova can continue to provide customers with uninterrupted service despite unplanned outages.
"MTS was already providing great service on our network," said Kostna, adding, "we used their communications platform for multiple branches over long distances, and we wanted to continue the relationship."
Sunova associates now have a platform where voicemails appear in their email inboxes and they can see who's called even without a voice message. By using special smartcards that allow them access to their desktops and enable them to automatically login to company phones, associates can now view their personal computer files and listen to voicemails by simply placing the card into the system at any branch.
Sunova was also able to reduce long distance fees with four-digit dialing between its various branches. "Now, no matter who we call, we just enter the associate's four-digit extension," said Kostna, adding, "It's awesome technology."
With MTS's managed communications solution in place, Sunova can continue to focus its energies on superior products, superior customer service and sustainable growth.
Manitoba Club Study
MTS helps Manitoba Club Leap Ahead of the Technology Curve
Officially opened in 1905 by His Excellency, Governor General Earl Grey, the five-storey, 55,000-square-foot Manitoba Club has a prestigious history. Established in 1874, the clubhouse was in a rented building which burned down in February 1875. Within six weeks, its undeterred founders located a new quarters where they spent six years before moving to its location today.
Since then, the Manitoba Club has hosted many dignitaries including Mark Twain, General Sherman, Harry Belafonte, Kiefer Sutherland, Gordon Pinsent and many more. However, despite its accomplishments, the clubhouse had not been significantly upgraded in over 100 years and knew it had to meet the evolving needs of their members.
"In 2006 we decided to embark on a major $7.5 million renovation of our clubhouse," says Jason Clarke, General Manager of the Manitoba Club. "At the time, our technology consisted of a flip chart and a server resting on a milk crate in the accounting office," jokes Clarke. "We knew we needed to make a major leap."
The Manitoba Club's goal was nothing short of becoming the most technologically-advanced private club in Canada, and to realize this vision, they turned to MTS.
The Manitoba Club decided to implement an ambitious solution where technology and structure were combined. In the first phase of its renovations, MTS helped the club design, implement, and project manage five key elements of its new strategy and technology roadmap.
First, the club upgraded its network by adopting MPLS, which enabled it to replace its outdated telephone system with an IP telephony solution. By converging its voice and data traffic onto a single network, and installing 18 new IP phones, the club reduced its network management costs, streamlined administration and gained a range of rich features such as conference calling, speaker phones and an auto-attendant system.
Next, the club set up wireless Internet access to provide for its members. In addition to giving members Internet access at all times, this functionality also allows them to connect to their corporate networks remotely - effectively creating a fully functional office environment away from the office.
Realizing that its new systems would require extensive wiring and cabling, the Club was also adamant about maintaining the architectural integrity of its space. To accommodate this requirement, MTS worked with the builders to ensure all cables and wires could be embedded into the internal walls as part of the renovation.
The Manitoba Club adopted a mobile videoconferencing system. This would allow them to enable face-to-face meetings around the world while cutting out the need for travel. Featuring a 50" plasma screen, this portable unit allows members to conduct meetings, share documents and build stronger relationships with business stakeholders no matter where those stakeholders are located - from satellite offices and out-of-town conference centres to the Manitoba Club's wide network of Reciprocal Clubs.
Last, but certainly not the least, the Manitoba Club overhauled its Grand Ballroom technology by installing a new sound system and building four 65" plasma screens into the millwork of the room. Two robotic cameras enable the recording of live presentations that can be broadcast throughout the club in real time, via closed circuit TV. With an automatic recording system, speakers can also receive DVD recordings of their presentations. And to simplify operation, the entire system can be accessed through an interactive panel that allows organizers to activate the high definition televisions, pipe in background music, and control the system's cameras.
Since the completion of the first phase of its renovations, the Manitoba Club has already seen an increase of membership by 20 per cent.
"MTS helped us realize the vision of becoming the most technologically advanced private club in the country," says Clarke. "Now, we can offer our members access to exceptional business applications in a beautiful setting."