Avaya secures IP telephony deal with AOL

10 Mar 2005

AOL’s 750-strong workforce in Waterford is to be equipped with Avaya-based internet telephony systems under the terms of a multimillion-euro deal.

It is understood AOL awarded Avaya the contract to provide internet protocol (IP) telephony to three contact centres covering 14 locations in Europe.

John Sharpe, director of Avaya in Ireland, explains: “This is a significant project with more than 750 agents in Ireland alone. We took a consultative approach recognising that we had to address not only technology issues, but also look at business improvements, strategies and goals. The IP contact centre solutions from Avaya will allow AOL to maintain excellent customer service as its business grows.”

AOL’s contact centre in Waterford employs 750 people and provides technical and customer support to 6.3m AOL members in the UK, France and Germany.

It is understood the contract was awarded following an in-depth consultancy project by Avaya analysing business issues facing AOL and its future plans. Recommendations included the simplification of AOL’s telecommunication infrastructure to reduce operational issues as well as communication costs and the implementation of skill-based routing to make better use of the existing resources for the benefit of AOL members.

“Centralisation of enterprise application servers, increasing capacities in the wide area data network and the adoption of IP telephony are associated IT developments which, if planned in association with customer service initiatives, will improve business agility as well as reducing the total cost of ownership of technology,” comments Steve Blood, vice-president at research and advisory firm Gartner.

The Avaya flagship IP telephony offering, Avaya Communication Manager, is currently being installed in contact centres supporting AOL’s Member Services. The software is running on Avaya S8700 Media Servers with Avaya G650 Media Gateways. Call Centre Elite and modular messaging software and an integrated management suite have also been rolled out at all the contact centres. Approximately 2690 employees will use Avaya IP telephones.

Tony Hanway, vice-president of member services at AOL UK, said: “Changing the infrastructure of our contact centres to IP is a huge challenge and we had to be sure that we would see the right benefits in every country. Although we are still in the initial phases of the implementation, we are already seeing benefits in terms of cost savings and improved voice quality and we expect to see further operational and business benefits soon.”

By John Kennedy