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Inclusa creates a better user experience for employees & members with Bandwidth's Duet℠ for Teams

Inclusa turned to Bandwidth for Direct Routing services, enabling reliable communication with their members.

Wisconsin-based non-profit Inclusa provides, “person-centered and community-focused long- term care supports and services. With a special emphasis on supporting Life. Defined by you.” Employing over 1200 employees, Inclusa serves 15,000 members. These members are primarily elders and adults with disabilities who are better enabled by Inclusa’s program to “live independently in the communities they call home.”

In search of reliability

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, most of Inclusa’s employees were remote. These field employees would meet with members to validate that their current plan was appropriate and ensure they were getting the right quality of care. Inclusa’s commitment and ability to serve their members requires reliable calling. However, instead of spending time providing an increasingly better experience for their members, Inclusa’s IT department was spending time addressing support tickets related to issues with voice calling and overall instability of their current platform.

“Our [support] ticket volume was very high. And when phones don’t ring, it bubbles up to me” said Josh Jandrain, CIO of Inclusa. “Losing so much of my team’s time and resources to troubleshooting and maintaining our existing voice infrastructure was a big motivator for me to look for a new solution, which ultimately turned out to be Teams.”

Having made the decision to migrate to Teams, and on a tight migration schedule with the need to close out operations in their old datacenters, Inclusa’s next move was to choose a Direct Routing and dynamic E911 provider.

Picking a new carrier-backed solution

A major part of the decision to move to Teams was fueled by Inclusa’s need for better, more reliable voice calling within their unified communications platform.

Bandwidth provided Inclusa with this solution. “Working with Bandwidth was a no-brainer for us because of their experience working with Microsoft to power Calling Plans. Their solution gave us all the tools and services we needed to successfully deploy Direct Routing and dynamic E911 for Microsoft Teams.” said Jandrain.

In addition to more than a decade of working with Microsoft as a preferred carrier for Teams, our capability to offer advanced E911 calling from within Teams enabled Inclusa to have a single provider for their telecom services while getting the reliable voice calling they needed.

Bandwidth’s position as the power behind the Microsoft Calling Plans was a major validating factor for Inclusa, but being able to go direct-to-carrier was also important. By working with Bandwidth, Inclusa was able to eliminate an unnecessary troubleshooting layer. Instead of working with a resell partner, who in turn would have to contact the carrier with any issues, Inclusa was given direct access to Bandwidth’s team of experts and network monitoring professionals.

According to Jandrain, “Going direct-to-carrier and eliminating another layer of troubleshooting with a reseller was something we knew we wanted to do, and working with the carrier behind Google, RingCentral, and Microsoft made the choice even easier.”

Making the move to Teams & Bandwidth

Migrating over to Teams and Bandwidth was a significant undertaking with no shortage of challenges for the project team at Inclusa. That being said, it took Bandwidth and Inclusa four months to move 1,200 users from the previous system to Teams and Bandwidth.

“Honestly, the hardest part was coordinating the moves,” said John McDonald, Senior Infrastructure Manager at Inclusa. “We moved our employees in phases, and coordinating that was the biggest hurdle. Bandwidth was special because they brought in extra SIP channels, in parallel with our existing ones, so that we could migrate on our schedule.”

Bandwidth worked alongside McDonald and the rest of the Inclusa team using this software-driven, cohort-based approach to help enable their migration by moving over users onto concurrent SIP trunks in strategic groups, organized by priority. That way, Inclusa could decide when they were ready to move users to Direct Routing, as well as easily coordinate rollbacks if things went wrong.

As it is for many organizations facing telecom migrations, porting was one of the biggest challenges for the Inclusa team. “Eric [Hewell] was invaluable,” added Ashley Newby, the System Administrator at Inclusa. “We’d still be trying to port our numbers over if it wasn’t for him. Whenever we ran into an issue we’d message him and usually have a response within minutes. Any time there was an issue, Bandwidth was right there to help, even if you weren’t the cause of the issue. Having that onboarding partner was amazing.”

Throughout the migration process, the Bandwidth team stayed in lock-step with the Inclusa team, helping to set the stage for Inclusa to successfully migrate to Teams Direct Routing.

“Bandwidth’s comprehensive solution gave us all the tools and services we needed to successfully deploy Direct Routing and E911 for Microsoft Teams,” said Josh Jandrain. “Throughout the process they were truly a partner in our migration process. My team felt like we were Bandwidth’s number one customer, which is a great way to do business”

Bandwidth helps Inclusa reduce service tickets by 156%

Call quality and reliability were two of Inclusa’s biggest reasons for making the move to Microsoft Teams and Bandwidth, and the areas they saw the biggest returns after migrating from their previous providers.

Inclusa results bar chart

“Since making the move we’ve seen an improvement in call quality,” said John McDonald. “80% of our employees work remote, so having good call quality is essential. Before moving to Teams and Bandwidth our ticket volume was really high. Since the move, it’s come down to almost zero.”

Inclusa’s voice related tickets peaked at a high of 348 in December 2019. After migrating to Teams and Bandwidth, Inclusa saw their voice-related service tickets drop significantly, with August 2020 seeing only 43 tickets and the first two weeks of September 2020 resulting in only 5 tickets being sent into the service desk. That’s a decline of 156% in the number of service tickets between December of 2019 and August of 2020.

Since the migration Bandwidth has continued to work with Inclusa to resolve issues. Their main point of contact is only a message away within Teams, and any support tickets they send in are replied to within hours if not sooner.

“There have been growing pains, but things continue to get better over time. Understanding the root cause of an issue, whether it’s related to Teams or Bandwidth can be frustrating, but Bandwidth works with us regardless of who’s at fault to find a resolution as quickly as possible,” said Josh Jandrain. “Still, making the move to Teams and Bandwidth has been a game changer. Bringing calling into Teams makes it the center of our employees’ work days by putting all their collaboration tools in one place.”

Looking forward, Inclusa is excited about the new opportunities they have to grow their business and better serve their customers. Like many organizations, they face challenges with getting people to pick up their phones, and are looking to leverage messaging functionality alongside Teams. As a messaging provider too, Bandwidth looks forward to helping support Inclusa as they explore this option with Microsoft.

See how Bandwidth can help your enterprise migrate your UC platform to the cloud

Bandwidth helps businesses like Inclusa integrate voice and advanced E911 into the UC platforms their employees use every day. Our commitment to software-driven telecom and stellar customer support means we’re just easier to work with as we usher you through a simpler and less frustrating migration. All of our solutions, including Duet for Teams, are bolstered by our owned-and-operated nationwide network, allowing us to deliver the quality, reliability, and insights your business needs. Get in touch to see how we can help your business successfully navigate your Teams migration.

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