Specialist health insurer CS Healthcare Society Ltd. is a pioneer in its field, having pre-dated the inauguration of the NHS by almost 20 years. Formed by a small group of civil servants in 1929 as the Civil Service Nursing Aid Association, it provided support to those in the direct employ of the government. Since that time the remit has broadened to current and former workers and their families in both civil and public services. This includes the NHS, armed forces, education, non-profit organisations, emergency services and local government.
While the general market for private medical insurance still belongs primarily to what are known as the big four providers, CS Healthcare continues to serve its own sector of the market uniquely well with innovative health products that let members choose the level of cover they need at prices to suit all pockets. Its status as a mutual society – owned by its members for the benefit of its members – remains today, underscoring a commitment to its four key values of care, responsibility, excellence and integrity.
A busy yet relatively compact organisation, CS Healthcare was using at its Kingston upon Thames headquarters a legacy telephony system of ISDN lines, on premises PBX and hardwired phones throughout the building. Additions, moves and changes to the system often involved lengthy hardware and configuration changes as well as adjustments to in-wall patch panels. System updates required the download and installation of new software.
At the same time the legacy system provided little in the way of flexibility and had become costly to use and maintain when compared to contemporary alternatives. The company’s operations executive Simon Drew and his IT team knew it was time to move to a more modern, more advanced solution. “It was time to take our telephony into the 21st century,” he recalls.
Simon Drew and his colleagues assembled an evaluation panel representing all areas of the company. The panel’s first order of business was drawing up a short list of potential suppliers for the project. Next on the agenda, and in a truly democratic process, each panel member voted for their favoured option. Gamma emerged the winner. “Gamma got a clear majority of votes and we’ve been pleased with that decision ever since,” says Simon Drew.
“We liked Gamma’s cloud telephony offer as it offered much improved flexibility, more functionality and it was easier to use. It also came at an overall lower cost. The migration and porting of numbers were both very straightforward and Gamma provided an engineer on site to see us through the transition.”
Our Horizon hosted telephony solution was a perfect fit for CS Healthcare, offering many advantages over ISDN and onpremise hardware. We provisioned Horizon extensions for the company’s 70+ staff, using the existing network infrastructure at its headquarters building. Providing power over Ethernet further eased the installation of new Polycom phones at every desk.
We also provided our Inbound cloud-based call handling and routing platform to give CS Healthcare still more flexibility in the way incoming calls – which form the bulk of the company’s telephony traffic – are managed internally, including an auto-attendant facility. The company also uses Horizon’s inbuilt call recording for training purposes.
As fax still forms a small but important part of the company’s communications with external providers, we also deployed our Fax2Email service which delivers a paperless fax receiving and sending capability to users.
The biggest improvements seen by CS Healthcare since moving to Gamma have been in significantly reduced telephony costs, less downtime, the ease of use of the new system and its vastly increased configurability. At the same time the switch to hosted telephony has meant a reduction in on-site hardware, less risk and more security.
“We’re now much more empowered to self-administer our own telephony in a way we never could before. We can do all the admin with it in an easy-to-understand way, for example setting up internal call centres and routing calls where we need them to go. And if we want to hot desk, people can just pick up their phone, move somewhere else in the office, then plug the phone back in.”