Lower costs and better reachability at the Canton of Aargau

The government of the canton of Aargau approved a project for replacing the more than 130 telephone systems in the canton administration with a central communication platform based on IP technology. This aims to reduce investment, operating and maintenance costs while making it easier to reach the canton offices.

The canton of Aargau is located in the northern part of German-speaking Switzerland and has eleven districts and currently 213 municipalities. It has the fourth largest population of the Swiss cantons with about 650,000 citizens. The Aargau IT department is responsible for the strategy and the operation of the central IT infrastructure. It supervises the large canton projects and provides for powerful and modern IT solutions. In addition, it supports the work of the canton administration with practical and efficient services. And finally, it provides the citizens and other stakeholders from business and politics with easy access to and transparent communications with the canton of Aargau.

The KOMPLA project (the German abbreviation for “communication platform”) focused on the step-by-step replacement of all of the telephone systems used with a VoIP-based telephony solution. Over 130 different telephone systems with more than 7,000 extensions were in use at the canton administrative offices. This also included the telephone systems for the canton police department and the remote locations. This large number of autonomous switchboards from various manufacturers distributed across the canton caused high operating expenses. In addition, many of these systems were antiquated and it was difficult to procure replacement units. Moreover, the systems were incompatible with one another due to their heterogeneity.

The replacement of the telephone systems aims to optimize, modernize and unify the cooperative and administrative processes while improving the operation of the system by consolidating this into a central communication platform operated by one internal service provider. The new communication platform will also yield other benefits, such as having the same functions and processes available throughout the entire company, making it simpler to process changes in case of relocations, allowing new sites to be integrated more quickly and making it easier to reach staff members and competence centers. Besides, the implementation of modern technology provides for sustainability of the telephony system within the canton administrations.

The canton of Aargau applied an objective evaluation method and came to the conclusion that a Microsoft Lync-based solution would be the optimum variant since additional services, such as presence status, instant messaging and desktop sharing, were also integrated.

“The best UCC strategy cannot be successful if the staff members do not use the new solution. Thus, we were looking for products to supplement Microsoft Lync in order to satisfy all the requirements. The additional features of the Luware products cover these requirements, giving the users a comprehensible and intuitive user interface,” explains Othmar Güntert, Project Manager, Canton Aargau

LUCS, the Lean Unified Customer Service of Luware, delivered a product that satisfies the high demands of both the Service Desk teams and the passport and migration office. User-friendliness and simple operation were the most convincing factors. The installation was so simple that it was possible to create a blueprint for all routing processes, which was then set up for all services by way of multiplication.

Using the ACD solution TeamManager not only simplifies the collaboration among teams and subsidiaries, since staff can interconnect actively in teams as needed regardless of their location, but it also improves availability since incoming calls are routed logically and forwarded on the basis of the team status.Moreover, the request from the communication department to use voicemail as little as possible could be fulfilled with the help of TeamManager and Assistant.

Standardized workplaces were set up throughout the entire canton administration — thanks to TeamManager and Assistant now also with impact-oriented status. This allows calls to be forwarded in accordance with the requirements of the organizational units. For example, call forwarding can be configured such that — if the status reads „busy“ — personal calls will not be connected to a preconfigured target until 20 seconds have passed.

In addition, the number of „secret numbers“ used could be reduced significantly with the help of Assistant. For using the Manager Assistant feature, a call can be put back through by authorized staff members despite call forwarding being activated.

“No compromises were made in the project with regard to functionality and user convenience. After all, even the most complex and modern UCC solutions will fail in practice if the staff does not perceive any benefits for their work,” states Othmar Güntert.