The Avenues Group
Asterisk Phone System
Asterisk Phone System
The Avenues Group is a charity responsible for pioneering specialist social care that supports people facing significant disadvantage through disability and illness so they can live full lives in their local communities. With over 1,400 employees, Avenues supports over 600 people, aged 10 years and above, who have learning disabilities, autism, mental health issues, acquired brain injury and dementia.
The charity provides services in a number of London boroughs, the South East, East Anglia and the West Midlands.
In October 2012, Avenues decided to review its telecoms set up as it had been experiencing outages, could only make changes through its incumbent IT supplier and also felt restricted in terms of what it could do with a limiting number of features available.
“We had a hosted Switchvox telephone system in place, but it was maintained by our previous IT provider who were poorly performing and not looking after the system properly. The Switchvox system was housed in a Data Centre, which had unreliable data connections,” explains [Susie Mills]. “As well as making and receiving external calls, we also relied heavily on our telephone system for internal communication across our sites.
“As a modern charity, it’s imperative that we have modern and reliable systems in place to support the work that we do.”
Avenues decided to look for an alternative telecoms supplier, with the stipulation that it wanted to retain a hosted Asterisk system as it already had invested in equipment, including Polycom phones and Cisco switches.
“What we needed was a supplier who understood our set up, could work with it, but most importantly could improve it to the standard required.”
An Internet search revealed several potential suppliers, including independent managed communications provider, Foehn.
“We looked at a number of providers, but settled on Foehn because we felt they best understood what we needed and they were able to demonstrate the type of solution that we were looking for,” explains [Susie Mills]. “Their PBX solution was easy to configure and furthermore we would have our own access to the control panel so that we could make our own changes to the system.”
Avenues needed to retain a Reception Console for which Foehn was able to provide and which had the facility of allowing the receptionist to transfer calls to mobile phones – this facility was unavailable through the incumbent supplier.
“We needed to get it right and asked Foehn lots of questions which they were able to answer to our satisfaction,” says [Susie Mills]. “This gave us the confidence in them to proceed.”
Within two weeks of selecting Foehn, Avenues had in place a new Asterisk phone system that was not only more robust than the previous one, but also provided the charity with the features, and more importantly, the ability to make changes as and when required.