For Azbil Telstar, the first lockdown during the pandemic posed the major challenge of reorganising the telephone-based activity of its professional team. The hardware PBX located at its headquarters, along with the landlines of each workstation, were replaced by the Colt Intelligent Communications solution that integrates external voice calls into Microsoft Teams, a platform which, in turn, integrates a virtual PBX.
Xavi Bel, Head of Infrastructure and Security at Azbil Telstar, explains how this solution has allowed the company to adapt to working from home. Users enjoy the same features they previously had working in person in the office, while the service is easier to manage for the company and costs can also be controlled.
“Colt has been our communications partner for a number of years. This, together with their knowledge of the solution, the operational simplicity and its cost, made us want to continue working with them. Going forward, we intend to expand this Teams-based voice service to the rest of Azbil Telstar’s centres around the world”, says Xavi Bel, Head of Infrastructure and Security at Azbil Telstar.
It was not straightforward for the company to have hundreds of employees answering the telephone while working from home. Especially with the urgency that was experienced at the start of the pandemic. This is well known at Telstar, a supplier of equipment and facilities for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. This subsidiary of the Japanese corporation Azbil, which specialises in automation systems for various industries, used Colt to integrate its voice calls into Microsoft Teams. In short, a formula to reorganise its telephone-based service.
“Staff can use the solution from any company device regardless of the location they are working from. They have a log of the calls made and received, as well as voicemail, while we can limit the costs thanks to the minute packs that Colt offered us”
At Telstar there are people employed in factories, but also in offices. The start of the pandemic and the lockdown, which forced employees into working from home, underlined the importance of the telephone infrastructure. Voicebased technical support is a key part of the company’s business. Xavi Bel, who works in Azbil Telstar’s IT department as Head of Infrastructure and Security, explains:
“As a result of COVID-19, we had to move quickly to continue serving our clients. The vast majority of staff started working from home and, apart from being able to continue using the IT services, they needed to contact clients and suppliers over the phone.”
Telstar, based in Terrassa (Barcelona), operates in more than one hundred countries and has production facilities in Spain, China and the United Kingdom. What’s more, it has engineering, consulting and service centres in Brazil, India, China, Italy, Portugal, Bangladesh and Spain, as well as sales offices in the United States, Mexico, France and Japan. With this reach, the company carries out projects anywhere in the world. At the start of the pandemic, the challenge in Spain was to provide the necessary resources to four hundred workers to make calls to clients.
Until then, Telstar had operated with its hardware PBX, located at its headquarters in Terrassa, and with an SIP trunking solution, provided by Colt. But working from home posed a challenge of huge organisational complexity. “Staff suddenly had to adapt to working from home. And, in order to continue talking to clients, suppliers and partners, many of them had to start using personal devices”, Bel says. “Additional mobile lines were requested, but this was all very difficult to manage. What’s more, this option did not offer the PBX services, such as call transfer or voicemail, which Azbil Telstar needed.”
To solve the company’s needs, the IT department decided to implement Colt Intelligent Communications, a landline add-on in Microsoft Teams. As a result, employees could enjoy the collaboration tools of the platform, the chat or the videoconferencing option. A number was also assigned to each user, replacing landlines, in order to make external calls. The service integrates a SIP trunk in Teams and all voice traffic passes through the Colt network, which acts as an operator and, therefore, a number provider.
As a result, Telstar retired its hardware PBX, whose functions were migrated to Teams in the Microsoft Azure cloud, as happened with the SIP trunking that the company used. This is a cloud structure that allows payment per user. All the necessary information for workers is contained in the Microsoft tool, from address books to call logs or activity reports.
“Staff can use the solution from any company device regardless of the location they are working from. They have a log of the calls made and received, as well as voicemail, while we can limit the costs thanks to the minute packs that Colt offered us”, said a Telstar spokesperson in reference to the functionalities obtained, both for the user and for the company, which gains in management capacity.
Azbil Telstar has been working with Colt for five years. It has an MPLS network that connects its offices in Terrassa and Madrid with a centralised Internet access at its headquarters in Terrassa. For the Colt Intelligent Communications deployment process, the telecoms provider worked closely with the IT department to approve the project and troubleshoot any issues.
The company highlights the agility with which the transition took place: “Both the provision of the necessary services and their configuration by Colt were very fast. This, combined with the ease of managing the service and the fact that users were already using Teams, meant that the changeover was not traumatic at all.”
Azbil Telstar a provider of GMP processing, engineering and consulting equipment for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry
Manufacturing and industrial design for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry
To reorganise the telephone-based activity of its professional team