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Arkansas Foodbank Deploys New Phone System

“After nearly 15 years in service, our VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telephone system drastically needed an overhaul. From supply chain issues beginning to prohibit sourcing new hardware, to software being harder to support, IT knew that if we did not act sooner rather than later then we would have a hard time in the future keeping the current system functional. After almost a year of searching and planning this upgrade is now complete.” -Travis Phillips, Senior Systems Administrator

In any organization, efficient and effective communication is paramount for smooth operations. At the Arkansas Foodbank, upgrading their phone system became a critical initiative to enhance internal communication and serve their community more effectively. This blog post takes you through their journey in selecting, critiquing, planning, and implementing a new phone system.

Phase I: Selecting the Vendor and Product

From the outset, the Arkansas Foodbank knew that choosing the right vendor and product was essential. Their objective was to improve their phone system without compromising existing relationships or migrating phone numbers to another provider. The key requirements included self-hosting the system on-site to retain control and scalability to accommodate the organization’s growth without incurring exorbitant licensing and hardware costs.

Unfortunately, many vendors couldn’t meet these specific requirements, leaving them with a singular viable option – PCA Technology Solutions and their 3CX platform.

Phase II: Critiquing Features and Integrations

The IT Team emphasized manageability and control during the evaluation process. They were granted access to a demo environment by PCA, allowing them to thoroughly test the 3CX system and assess its capabilities. Some of the critical features that stood out included softphone access for all staff, headset compatibility, and streamlined call handling processes.

Phase III: Planning for Deployment and Testing

Implementing a large-scale deployment required meticulous planning. Detailed knowledge sharing between the old and new systems was crucial. PCA Technology Solutions, with their extensive experience, ensured a smooth transition. The team set up the new assets alongside the existing system, allowing thorough testing and problem resolution.

Phase IV: Administrator and End-User Training

Training was a pivotal step in the deployment process. The IT team received comprehensive training on system administration, focusing on key tasks and features. Extensive efforts were also made to train end-users across various departments, addressing apprehensions and showcasing the system’s potential.

Phase V: Go-Live

The go-live day was executed with precision, employing an after-hours approach to minimize disruption. A well-coordinated effort led to a seamless transition, with the new system up and running in just about two hours.

Going Forward

With the headquarters successfully transitioned, plans are in place to extend the upgraded phone system to satellite locations. The goal is to provide the same robust tools and efficiency to all branches. Additionally, ongoing discussions will explore further feature enhancements, including multilingual options and backup telephony solutions.

Reflecting on the Journey

The implementation journey at the Arkansas Foodbank showcases the importance of careful vendor selection, thorough testing, and effective training in a successful system upgrade. The positive impact on efficiency and effectiveness is a testament to the significance of investing in communication infrastructure.

In conclusion, the Arkansas Foodbank stands poised to make an even more significant difference in their community, empowered by a modernized phone system that streamlines communication and allows them to focus on their core mission of alleviating hunger.

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