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Case Study: Securing a Path to VoIP for Saflink

Seattle area-based Saflink Corp., a biometrics security solutions company, recently tackled a multifaceted telecom problem. Faced with a pending office relocation and the potential loss of its existing phone number bank, Saflink had the daunting task of finding a service provider that could help it implement an immediate low-cost solution. Through telecom expense and inventory management company Netstar Communications Inc., Saflink selected AccessLine Communications, a specialist in VoIP for business, as its service provider. This case study follows Saflink step-by-step as Netstar and AccessLine help the company keep its existing telephone numbers, lower its current telecom costs, and complete the entire switchover in just a fraction of the normal installation time.

With an office relocation just weeks away, and the loss of its existing telephone numbers not a viable option, Saflink Corp. had to find a telecom provider that could not only implement an entire switchover of service in a shortened timeframe, but would also allow the company to keep its existing bank of telephone numbers, and provide this solution at a low-cost.

Looking first to traditional telecom providers, Saflink quickly discovered that few would allow it to keep its existing phone numbers after the switch, and fewer still could have service installed and running within the companys imminent relocation deadline. After an intense evaluation led by Netstar Communications Inc., a telecom inventory and expense management company, Saflink selected SmartVoice Service for business, a VoIP line replacement offering by AccessLine Communications.

AccessLine fit the bill perfectly, says Ben Bailey, Saflinks manager of IT operations. Its representatives assured us that they could meet our shortened timeframe, which, due to our pending move, was not up for negotiation, and they guaranteed that wed be able to keep and port all of our existing numbers. They also gave us an in-depth review of every cost-reducing benefit that a VoIP solution provides over traditional service.

Saflink, a prominent biometrics security company headquartered outside of Seattle, provides comprehensive solutions for authentication needs through scalable, secure and cost-effective biometric alternatives to passwords. With its mission as a nationwide security provider and its large customer base, including many sensitive government organizations, Saflink required, at a minimum, unwavering support from its communications structure and in this case, would require even more.

We presented a significant challenge, Bailey explains. We needed a provider who could have us up and fully operational within weeks instead of months, which is a fraction of the time this kind of installation would normally take. We also needed an option that would allow us to keep all of our existing phone numbers, as the time and resources involved in reassigning new numbers on a company-wide scale was simply out of the question. Most traditional providers either couldnt give us this option, or could only offer to implement a series of foreign exchange numbers that would have cost us hundreds of dollars apiece to maintain. AccessLine allowed us to take every single number with us for just pennies apiece.

A provider of managed voice services for small and medium businesses (SMBs), AccessLine Communications keeps a simple, successful focus: deliver better communications value by replacing hardware-based solutions with software applications offered as a hosted service. AccessLine’s SmartVoice Service replaces a businesss current local and long-distance telephone service, providing instantly reduced toll rates and allowing companies to bypass the capital investment required both when equipping new locations and when overhauling or upgrading current infrastructures. Its a proven formula that has been successful with even enterprise business customers such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, American Express and PeopleSoft.

Saflinks partner and consultant in its decision to select AccessLine for the VoIP deployment was Seattle-based Netstar Communications, a telecommunications audit and management company.

Netstars job is to find the telecom services and providers that perfectly suit our clients needs, says Tony Cheng, Netstar principal. We engineer solutions that reduce their telecom costs and help them meet their business goals. Unlike many typical telecom auditing companies, we dont give advice and walk away. We provision the services we recommend to our clients and make sure the providers we recommend live up to their expectations.

AccessLine and SmartVoice give us a way to guarantee significant savings for virtually all of our customers, he adds. We appreciate the value of AccessLines dedication to making implementation and transition as fast and easy as possible. Unlike some companies that force clients to play by their rules and live by their timetables, AccessLine is determined to meet and exceed their clients schedules and timeframes.

This was true in Saflinks instance. Saflinks occupancy deadline required the company to be moved into its new headquarters within weeks. Any service provider fulfilling this contract needed to step up the pace, and AccessLine guaranteed that its team could do it. The company assigned a special team of implementation engineers to work with Netstar and coordinate Saflinks deployment, ensuring the fastest possible switchover of service.

After tackling and solving the timeframe issue, talk shifted to the factors of cost savings and number portability, which, in a way, are intricately linked.

In most circumstances, moving across town means having to implement a whole new series of phone numbers, or at best, having a six-month forwarding service implemented on the existing numbers, Bailey says. Its not just a matter of inconvenience. When you factor in the required manpower, the time and effort involved in making manual changes, and the huge cost of redoing all of the companys marketing materials, from brochures to business cards, theres a significant expenditure involved in losing your existing phone numbers. Its not an option Saflink wanted to entertain.

By guaranteeing the portability of Saflinks existing numbers, AccessLine provided significant savings to the company before it even factored in the low long-distance and local toll rates of VoIP service.

Being able to keep our existing numbers saved us thousands of dollars in manpower and downtime right out of the gate, Bailey adds. Once we get into the specifics of SmartVoice Service, the savings become even more prominent, and the numbers are significant. Our costs were literally cut by 50 percent, if not more. With SmartVoice, we went from paying $5,000 a month for traditional service to a little over $800 a month. Watching our bills drop by thousands of dollars is incredible.

Bailey says AccessLine went beyond the obvious and showed Saflink how its tools can help the company cut communications costs both now, and in the future. For instance, we have offices all over the United States, and due to the nature of our business, all offices must be in constant contact with each other. We make hundreds, if not thousands, of interoffice calls, and each one of those calls carries a long-distance charge, he says. SmartVoice unites all of our offices under one system, meaning that any call made between any one of our offices becomes a free call. Add the cost of those calls and youll see why this kind of ability becomes a key driver in choosing your service provider.

For all of the savings and service provided, its the support that really makes the difference in the eyes of Bailey and Saflink. The AccessLine team was a pleasure to do business with, and even when presented with an unenviable set of project timelines, they came through for us in every way possible, Bailey says. The staff dedicated themselves to coordinating our deployment and ensuring that everything went off without a hitch.

Craig Castillo is the marketing programs manager of AccessLine Communications, a hosted VoIP service provider specializing in small and medium business markets.

AccessLine Communications

www.accessline.com

Netstar Communications Inc.

www.netstarinc.com

Saflink Corp. www.saflink.com


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