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Broadacres housing case study: unified communication

​Unified contact centre improves communications for housing association

Broadacres Housing Association provides a comprehensive range of services to over 5,200 homes in North Yorkshire. Established in 1993 the Association has grown both in terms of the number of properties it manages and its awareness of the needs and aspirations of its customers.

Broadacres operates under charitable rules and has a governing body of 12 volunteers including four tenants of the association.

With headquarters in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, Broadacres manages stock in Hambleton, Darlington, Spennymoor, Richmondshire, Harrogate, Redcar and Cleveland, Ryedale, Selby and East Riding of Yorkshire and Scarborough, providing homes for rent, shared ownership and outright sale.

Broadacres provides a range of support services to different client groups including persons with mental health problems, learning disabilities, older persons, people with physical disabilities, those fleeing domestic violence, people suffering from alcohol and substance misuse and the homeless.

The Situation

Broadacres’ existing Cisco Call Manager system was due to be upgraded at significant cost, and this was an ideal opportunity to review the overall communications and IT strategy. There was already a move to further merge telephony into their ICT solutions and leave a traditional VOIP handset with PABX system behind.

The upgrade gave Broadacres the opportunity to replace the costly Cisco solution with Microsoft Lync 2010 and embrace unified communications. The Cisco system was successfully replaced and Broadacres used Microsoft Lync to provide the business with a handset free telephony service.

The existing Contact Centre had historical reporting and statistics to demonstrate the level of service Broadacres was delivering for incoming calls. However it did not have real-time information, i.e. a wallboard to help manage the call queue with the correct number of agents available to answer 85% of calls within 20 seconds. Broadacres were looking for an enhanced Lync solution that would also provide this business critical information required by the agents.


As a long standing partner of Broadacres, BT was invited to scope out a solution that would meet the requirements of the business. Consultants delivered Design & Planning Workshops to create a detailed Scope of Works and Bill of Materials.

Microsoft Lync 2010 would be used to provide the optimal platform, with the project also utilising Microsoft best practice in design and deployment. Chris Fawcett, information systems and technology manager says, “We were looking for a partner that understood organisations of our size, and could provide the approach and expertise that we needed for a project of this complexity. With our existing relationship and the benefits of dealing with an organisation that has both the Microsoft knowledge and legacy voice expertise, BT was the logical choice. From the start of the project, it was obvious the consultants were extremely knowledgeable, and this gave us the reassurance that we had made the right decision.”

We were looking for a partner that understood organisations of our size, and could provide the approach and expertise that we needed for a project of this complexity.

Chris Fawcett - information systems and technology manager, Broadacres Housing Association

Following the Design & Planning Workshop with Broadacres, business objectives were defined for the project. As part of the design, planning and deployment process, BT aligned the business objectives of the project with the technical objectives and requirements outlined below:

  • To improve communications facilities for all users
  • To replace the existing Cisco PBX infrastructure at Northallerton HQ
  • To drive down costs and improve efficiency through use of modern and advanced communications technology
  • To ensure the proposed infrastructure conforms to Microsoft Support Policy agreements and that the infrastructure remains within support life cycle
  • Ensure that hardware cost savings are fully considered and would like to ensure that any hardware virtualisation platforms be utilised
  • To deliver the beginning of a unified communications infrastructure to the end users
  • To create an infrastructure that allows for ‘business continuity’ without the cost of ‘high availability’ technology

Why BT?

Through our Microsoft Consulting and Licensing Practice we work alongside organisations to deliver high value/low risk solutions, using a clear, straightforward approach. Our packaged and customised services are 100% focused on delivering fit-for-purpose applications and solutions – from planning, building and proof-of-concept to implementation and ongoing operations, with the goal of minimising risk and maximising ROI throughout.

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