Thanet District Council uses RingCentral MVP to improve services for its district’s 140,000 residents.
“Overall, moving to RingCentral is saving us nearly £30,000 annually, accounting for the costs of hardware renewal, infrastructure, and resilience with backup lines.” Joe Brackenborough, Digital Transformation Manager
Striving to Make Its District a Fantastic Place to Live, Work, and Visit
Kent’s district of Thanet in the south east of England boasts some of the most popular holiday spots in the United Kingdom—with 19 miles of coastline, chalk-cliff views, water on three sides, sandy beaches, and the country’s only Royal Harbour.
Thanet District Council, the local government agency, is tasked with maintaining the area’s towns and villages, ensuring Thanet remains a desirable place to live and holiday.
The Council’s responsibilities to the district’s 140,000 residents range from the ordinary (think waste collections and issuing parking permits) to the more profound (helping those in genuine need with things like access to housing and benefits).
All the while striving to be growth-oriented (attracting entrepreneurs, investment and vacationers).
Always looking for ways to improve its operations and the level of service it provides to residents, the Council recently embarked on a digital transformation initiative. One pillar of that strategy involved moving from its legacy phone system to a modern, cloud-based solution.
A Legacy Telephony System Serving Out Its Last Term
Joe Brackenborough, Thanet District Council’s Digital Transformation Manager, explains that for years the Council used an outdated, on-prem phone system for both internal communications and to power its customer service lines.
“The old phone system created all sorts of problems,” Joe says. “Calls dropped. Call quality was inconsistent. And making even small adjustments, such as shifting customer support staff from one call queue to another, required contacting the supplier and waiting for them to handle the request.”
As the Council’s on-prem phone hardware neared end of life, Joe’s team took the opportunity to investigate cloud-based communication solutions.
RingCentral Proves Ideal for Supporting the Council’s Digital Transformation
As Joe explains, migrating the agency’s 500 employees to the cloud-based RingCentral platform solved many challenges simultaneously—and helped the Council advance several steps toward its digital transformation goals.
“Straight away we were impressed with the crystal-clear call quality—it was noticeably better than our previous on-prem system. A significant benefit we saw immediately was that RingCentral gave control back to our teams,” he says.
“Now our managers and supervisors could move people in and out of call groups themselves, in seconds, using the RingCentral portal. That meant we could quickly add staff to a busy department’s support line or move people out of a call queue that was quiet.”
A related benefit, Joe explains, was the call data that RingCentral made available. “The RingCentral reports gave us insights into our Council’s call volume patterns that we never had with the old system. Suddenly we could easily determine our busiest times of day, busiest days of the week, and use that information to plan our resources more effectively.”
Joe adds: “The net effect of all this is that thanks to RingCentral, we’re now able to provide better service to customers, improve processes and become more efficient. Not only that, we now have the stability in our communications that we never had previously.”
“Making a change to the old phone system was very time consuming and complex, it often took days to complete simple tasks.
“Now our own department managers can make most of these changes themselves, instantly, from the RingCentral admin portal. That’s saving us time and allowing us to be quicker and more responsive to our customers’ needs.” Joe Brackenborough, Digital Transformation Manager
Cost Savings Far From Ordinary
Overall, moving to RingCentral is saving the Council nearly £30,000 annually, accounting for the costs of hardware renewal, infrastructure, and resilience with backup lines.
Upgrading their existing on-premises system alone would have cost more than this and now they no longer have to worry about any of the ongoing infrastructure and maintenance costs. The service also covers the majority of our outbound calls for free so calling costs have gone down massively, from hundreds a month to just £10.
Improving Operations Further With RingCentral Integrations
A key component of the Council’s digital transformation strategy, Joe explains, is to connect employees’ workflow apps wherever possible—to create new efficiencies and help them do their jobs more easily. As Joe points out, RingCentral’s integration app gallery is helping his team accomplish this goal in several ways.
“We integrated RingCentral with our Okta platform for account set-up, provisioning, and single sign-on,” he explains. “Now when we onboard a new hire, we set them up with a single sign-on username and password through Okta, and they can use that for their RingCentral account as well.
“We’re even automating it further, where creating the Okta account generates the officer’s RingCentral number, so they have a business number immediately—no waiting, no work for IT.”
The Council also integrated RingCentral into their Google Workspace environment. As Joe explains, this proved invaluable during the lockdowns.
With the emergence of the global pandemic and ensuing national restrictions, Joe’s team was able to set all Council employees up with the RingCentral softphone app on multiple devices. This included their Council-issued Chromebooks, which allowed them to make and receive business calls right from their computers.
“To have one app and one experience across any device gives us the flexibility to let users bring their own device—whether it’s Android, iOS or Windows, we know they won’t have a problem navigating their way around”.
“We also implemented the RingCentral Google Workspace Add-on, which allowed our staff to access all of RingCentral’s communication capabilities from a widget within their Google environment,” explains Joe. “That saved them time, allowed them to connect faster with co-workers and customers, and made a difficult period for everyone a little easier.”
Making Remote Meetings Easier Than Ever With RingCentral Video
Although Thanet District Council initially migrated to RingCentral for cloud-based, mobile telephony, Joe points out that the Council is also leveraging other communication channels built into the RingCentral platform. And these new capabilities are also improving Council operations.
“Pre-COVID, setting up a meeting with a dozen people meant finding a time when everyone would be in the office and reserving a large enough conference room,” Joe says. “With RingCentral Video, we don’t have those constraints. We can now have those dozen-person team meetings anytime, no matter where our team is.”
“RingCentral is giving our Council both the cloud-based telephony tools and the analytical insights to provide better service to our residents.” Joe Brackenborough, Digital Transformation Manager