Kettering Buccleuch Academy (KBA) takes pride in offering a fantastic experience for everyone who contributes to school life, from students and parents to teaching staff and management. The mixed all-through school – praised for its amazing staff, motivational lessons, and supportive community – is the first in its county to achieve all eight Gatsby benchmarks for careers provision and has achieved various other accolades through the years. KBA’s ethos – “the best in everyone” – encapsulates this, as do its core values that underpin the ethos: respect, ambition, and determination.
The core of KBA’s success is effective communication with all stakeholders, both directly within the school and indirectly using technologies such as audio, video, and messaging systems, and employing these functions to enable better outcomes. This begins in the classroom but also includes the links between departments, with parents and carers, with partners and suppliers, and with outside authorities. As such, the academy holds its communications technology to a high standard.
KBA has enjoyed the partnership of Avaya and its local delivery partner, UCAdvisor, for many years; however, it became clear that the school’s needs had outpaced its existing on-premises system. The aging solution was growing increasingly complex, consuming costs and time due to ongoing interventions. KBA had established a clear set of requirements for its future:
Less IT maintenance with better functionality/user experience
New handsets for faculty and staff
Achieving innovation without disruption to its current environment
Cloud-powered technologies (ex: automation to intelligently manage routine tasks)
Simplified admin experience
Affordability (more cost predictability with no hidden or maintenance fees)
The academy was keen to build on its valued partnership with Avaya and chose to deploy Avaya Cloud Office® by RingCentral to meet these new requirements.
Less maintenance, improved functionality
“It’s critical that our communication lines to staff and parents are always open without the need for regular intervention or management. To deliver on our ethos of ‘the best in everyone,’ we needed to reduce complexity and overhead while increasing availability and functionality,” explained Adam Burn, KBA ICT systems manager.
Avaya Cloud Office provides everything KBA needs to be effective communicators, from a range of enterprise-grade, fully compliant, and secure communication features to feature-rich static handsets to application delivery on every device from any location. Communications management is now easier, centralized, and more convenient; staff can quickly find anyone else within the school, and messages can quickly be relayed to every desk.
Meanwhile, the range of Avaya devices available for Avaya Cloud Office is one of the most comprehensive anywhere in the world. Avaya devices provide integrated Avaya Cloud Office services that are also available to softphone users on mobiles, meaning instant communication lines remain open wherever staff may be.
As a cloud-powered platform, Avaya Cloud Office requires no manual firmware updates. Everything is managed seamlessly in the cloud by Avaya; even the deployment of the system was delivered remotely with minimal impact on KBA’s operations. Everything has been simplified for smoother operations across the entire institution without disrupting what was already in place.
Reliability and availability
KBA wanted to move away from the ownership and management of a premise-based platform and instead adopt a completely cloud-delivered solution. Adopting a system based in the cloud means that it is always available, and the economies of scale with a secure multi-tenant platform means that no additional investment in Disaster Recovery is necessary (DR is built inside the cloud).
Avaya Cloud Office provides KBA with their primary voice, video, messaging, and intelligent voice routing as standard and provides backup for other communication platforms if they are unavailable, such as texting and social messaging.
Better admin experience
With a central control interface for all school communications, including a powerful reporting and analytics suite, KBA is now able to review historic records and see exactly when calls were made, where they originated, and what route they took. This provides a valuable audit trail while enhancing the safeguarding of both students and staff. Reports can be generated at any time from any authorized user in any location, then extracted and embedded into other applications and documents.
One of KBA’s key requirements was to effectively automate the handling of routine and out-of-hours inquiries (i.e., opening times, absences, exam times, and excursion details). The school also needs to enable callers to easily navigate self-service options and reach staff or leave messages when necessary, and for these messages to be transcribed and emailed to staff.
Avaya Cloud Office delivers with support for a dedicated auto-attendant (receptionist) and centralized control over automation, allowing KBA to quickly introduce changes or new information and to manage the timing and presentation of each message. The system also provides full transcription and text delivery to users, all of which has helped significantly reduce the burden on staff, increase response time, and improve the service delivered to parents. KBA is currently looking at deeper integrations between applications that will further enhance the school experience.
One of the best advantages of Avaya Cloud Office is the system’s cost flexibility. Avaya Cloud Office required minimal upfront investment and includes fixed monthly costs per seat, allowing KBA flexibility of consumption while managing spend and using only what they need. A strong understanding of requirements and a clearly defined approach also helped save a significant amount on upfront expenditure.
Bringing out the ‘best in everyone’
It only makes sense that an award-winning academy leverages an award-winning communications platform. KBA’s story proves that innovation without disruption is not only possible, but straightforward and uncomplicated. Avaya Cloud Office was fully implemented with minimal impact and is running successfully across the school:
Management overhead is drastically reduced, allowing IT to focus more on core activities.
Onboarding new users and licenses is simple, and cloud delivery with transparent cost structures means KBA only consumes what is needed with complete control of their budget.
The school is now able to manage how calls are handled either through receptionists, direct to staff, or through an automated service delivery, and can keep an accurate log of all communication that can be analyzed and reported at any time.
Overall availability is improved, parents are better able to reach and communicate with the school, everything is managed through one online application that can be accessed anywhere, and the system is always up to date.
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