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New England Credit Union Unifies Rural Communications with Nortel and Microsoft

New England Credit Union, Australia's largest inland regional community credit union, expects to save a minimum of $100,000 a year through a combination of increased productivity, reduced travel time and time-saving functionality following the deployment of a unified communications solution from Nortel and Microsoft.
  • 22 August, 2008 09:30

<p>SYDNEY, Australia – New England Credit Union** (NECU), Australia’s largest inland regional community credit union with more than 51,000 members, has chosen a unified communications solution from Nortel* [NYSE/TSX: NT] and Microsoft** to reduce business costs and improve customer service.</p>
<p>The new technology solution which will go live in early September is expected to save the company a minimum of A$100,000 a year through a combination of increased productivity, reduced travel time and time-saving functionality. Nortel’s open architecture supports integration of business voice services with NECU’s Tandberg video conferencing system to deliver video-to-the-desktop functionality and Microsoft’s desktop software enabling click-to-call video conferencing from any location.</p>
<p>“One of our main challenges is locating the right person in our organisation to answer a customer query in a timely manner and then being able to contact them directly,” says David Cook, chief information officer, NECU. “This was underlined by a recent report that showed 20 percent of our contact centre agents’ time was spent looking for the right person in our organization to handle specific customer queries. What we needed was a technology solution that would leverage our prior investment in a company-wide videoconferencing system with new capability to unify voice, video and customer information, and provide personalised customer contact with improved customer service.”</p>
<p>“Nortel impressed us with the direct software integration between its communication network and Microsoft’s Office Communications Server software, providing specific information about each of our expert resources available in real-time to all of our branches,” says Cook. “This gives us an incredibly powerful platform for connecting our people with our customers in a variety of different ways – through audio, video, text and IM – and ensures that regardless of where our customers are located, we have the resources available to serve them.”</p>
<p>“We’re already looking past the initial implementation to the next phase of the project, which will extend the reach of our video-enabled unified communications services to our customers through the web,” says Cook. “This will give customers direct access to our consultants through the video conferencing system, presenting them with a new way of communicating directly with our staff without having to leave their homes.”</p>
<p>Nortel’s solution demonstrated other competitive advantages that made it appealing to NECU.</p>
<p>“Nortel and Microsoft’s alliance gives them a clear time-to-market advantage that’s well ahead of what any of their competitors could muster,” says Cook. “It was also obvious that we were speaking the same language when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint through energy-efficient technology and cutting back on unnecessary travel. And it was also an easy sell to my CFO. The operational savings we’ve calculated as a result of implementing this technology are substantial. Delivering significant customer service enhancement more efficiently will have lasting benefits on both our top and bottom line.”</p>
<p>“Nortel’s solution is helping NECU overcome the challenges of one-to-one communication in an organisation that is spread across multiple branches, some in remote rural areas,” says Mark Stevens, president, Australia and New Zealand, Nortel. “This unified communications approach will help NECU stand out from the crowd as people look for different ways of collaborating with each other and their service organisations, using multiple web-enabled devices in today’s era of Hyperconnectivity – when anything that can be connected to the network is being connected.”</p>
<p>Nortel’s solution for NECU centres on its flagship Communications Server (CS) 1000, a full-featured unified communications IP PBX that integrates with Microsoft’s Office Communications Server** to enable multiple call features such as unified messaging, presence, IM and voice and video calls from the desktop. The CS1000 is accessible to all of NECU’s branches over the company’s wide area network, supported by Nortel’s Ethernet Routing Switch (ERS) 5520s at NECU’s head office and business continuity locations.</p>
<p>The solution also incorporates Nortel’s 1140E IP handsets at select locations, although the majority of calls will take place using Microsoft Office Communicator softphones. NECU’s incumbent contact centre technology will be replaced by Nortel’s Contact Centre 6.0 platform to provide complete integration with the new unified communications functionality.</p>
<p>Nortel and Microsoft continue to chalk up new customer wins in Australia and across Asia as part of their Innovative Communications Alliance. Earlier this year the companies added insurance company MDA National to its growing customer list, which includes construction giant Mirvac, financial services firm Austock, and Victoria water utility company Wannon Water.</p>
<p>Nortel and Microsoft will be hosting a customer event in late August to highlight the progress of the Alliance and detail new products in the unified communications portfolio.</p>
<p>About Nortel</p>
<p>Nortel is a recognized leader in delivering communications capabilities that make the promise of Business Made Simple a reality for our customers. Our next-generation technologies, for both service provider and enterprise networks, support multimedia and business-critical applications. Nortel’s technologies are designed to help eliminate today's barriers to efficiency, speed and performance by simplifying networks and connecting people to the information they need, when they need it. Nortel does business in more than 150 countries around the world. For more information, visit Nortel on the Web at For the latest Nortel news, visit</p>
<p>*Nortel, the Nortel logo and the Globemark are trademarks of Nortel Networks. Other product and service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.</p>
<p>Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.</p>
<p>**This is a 3rd party link as described in our Web linking practices.</p>

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