One of the great things about RingCentral is its ease of use. I’m managing a lot of IT tools for our school – including hundreds of iPads, the software that powers our online homework, and other digital tools. Thanks to RingCentral, one thing I don’t need to worry about at all anymore is our telephone system.
Providing well-rounded education for 100 years
One of England’s most highly regarded independent preparatory schools, St. Martin’s School has been providing outstanding primary and secondary education for boys aged 3 to 13 since 1922.
In fact, when England’s Independent Schools Inspectorate issued its 2022 Education Quality Report for St. Martin’s, the school once again demonstrated why it has earned a reputation for top-quality education. The ISI found St. Martin’s “excellent” in all key categories.
Until recently, staff worked with an outdated and unreliable communications infrastructure. Upgrading its phone system from on-premises to the cloud has helped bring St. Martin’s IT communications up to an “excellent” designation as well.
The school struggled with an outdated phone system
Richard James, IT Manager for St. Martin’s School, explains that until recently, the school’s phone communications ran through an on-premises server located next to the staff’s kitchen.
Although the phone system was generally sufficient, it presented several challenges – to the staff, to parents trying to call in and to the school’s bottom line.
“One ongoing frustration was that the system’s administrative backend was complicated and not intuitive, which meant we had to contract with a consulting company for things like adding users to a call queue or updating our greetings,” Richard explains.
But the real challenge was that those support requests led to mistakes – including several that took down the school’s phone capabilities completely.
“The holidays proved difficult for us from a telephony standpoint,” says Richard. “More than once, we’d ask the support company to adjust our greeting to let callers know when school would be closed – and more than once they input the dates incorrectly, which gave the impression the school was shut down when we were in fact still open.”
Because our on-premises system required attention so often, I was always asking myself, ‘Is there some issue with the phones that I need to handle?’ Spending all that mental energy – not to mention the many times I did need to handle phone problems – gave me much less time for other important work.
The many benefits of a cloud phone solution
When St. Martin’s migrated its phone system to the cloud with RingCentral, it resolved the major challenges created by the previous on-premises solution. The benefits, Richard explains, included:
As RingCentral enables phone calls on any device, St. Martin’s staff now has the flexibility to make and receive school calls on desktop phones, through their computers, or even on their own mobile phones (using a RingCentral app that keeps school and personal calls separate). This contributes to employees working more efficiently and effectively.
“Our office staff can set up RingCentral on their desk phones but still stay connected to their school number when they’re off campus, using the RingCentral mobile app. It’s great to have that flexibility.”
Unlike the complicated backend of the school’s previous phone solution, which required an understanding of the system’s software code, RingCentral offers a user-friendly admin portal. Now staff can access a portal that makes it easy to update their own phone environments anywhere, usually in seconds.
“Our secretaries can go into the RingCentral portal and add people to a call group or change the rules for routing calls within the office. That makes things a lot easier for everyone, helps us provide a better caller experience, and is something we could never do with our old system.”
Even though this telephony migration from on-premises to the cloud has helped St. Martin’s significantly improve its operations, the upgrade hasn’t added one pound to the school’s bottom line. In fact, RingCentral has helped St. Martin’s lower its telephony costs.
It’s difficult to believe, given how much value we’re getting from this phone system, but our RingCentral environment is actually saving us money over our previous telephone solution. As a budget-minded nonprofit organisation, that benefit alone is tremendous.