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The Challenge

As a public entity, the government of Platte County, Nebraska has a firm commitment to corresponding with their community. Considering the population of Platte County numbers over 32,000 residents, their offices need a phone system that is not only reliable, but capable of continual growth.

However, the County’s previous system — an Iwatsu digital PBX — was failing to meet these requirements, particularly because the platform was no longer supported by its manufacturer.

“We couldn’t add on any more devices to it, and we also started having voicemail problems,” recalled Tim Hofbauer, director of Platte County Emergency Management. “We had to reboot the system every single night, and it was just becoming more and more of a maintenance nightmare.

Eventually, the cost of maintaining the Iwatsu system became too much for the County to handle.

What really drove our decision to switch was the fact that it was going to be fairly expensive to replace the modules,” Mr. Hofbauer explained. “So we decided, instead of investing money in the old system, let’s start looking at a new one.”

The Result

Through the Wildix licensing plan and the platform’s reduced maintenance requirements, the County was immediately able to reduce expenses paid for their phone system.

However, what further improved savings was the automation that Wildix enabled, particularly its auto attendant feature.

“Each office or department can have their own auto attendant now,” Mr. Hofbauer explained,  “and so that’s helped reduce reliance on staff to answer the phone and to determine where the call needs to go.

“For instance, our detention center, they took a lot of questions like what their hours are, when is visitation, all that kind of stuff. They put that as an option in the auto attendant, so now they’re not getting calls asking those same questions over and over and over again.”

While this benefit has necessarily saved time for employees, it has also saved on costs by allowing employees to use their hours on tasks other than taking calls, creating more productivity per individual salary.

Mobility and smart working also proved to be especially compelling benefits from the system. As Mr. Hofbauer recounted:

“We had long-term plans to look at work from home for certain situations, but then when the Corona virus hit, we ended up having to immediately implement that with a number of offices here in the courthouse. If we didn’t have the [Wildix] phone system, that probably wouldn’t have been able to happen.”

This combination of lower costs, increased productivity and greater flexibility has earned Wildix and BTS high marks from Platte County, as well as endorsements to others in the public sector.

“I have already recommended both BTS and wildix to the IT Director for the city of Columbus,” Mr. Hofbauer said. “Anybody that I talk to that asks, I tell them how interesting this system is, what it does for us and how excited we are to use it.”

We had long-term plans to look at work from home for certain situations, but then when the Corona virus hit, we ended up having to immediately implement that with a number of offices here in the courthouse. If we didn’t have the [Wildix] phone system, that probably wouldn’t have been able to happen.

Tim Hofbauer,
Director of Platte County Emergency Management.

The Solution

That new system was a Wildix PBX. Platte County arrived at this decision quickly thanks to a recommendation and demo by Wildix Gold Partner BTS Communications, their trusted telecommunications consultant for over 15 years.

We had confidence in BTS and their recommendation, as well as their excitement for the product,” Mr. Hofbauer said.

In the Platte County Courthouse, its main base of operations, 150 employees (spanning the DMV, sheriff’s office, County Highway Department and more) were supplied with licenses and equipment. The County’s separate Probation Office with 30 employees was similarly equipped.

Although the installation has been extensive, there remains work to be done for BTS Communications at time of writing; the County also plans to renovate its offices during the summer of 2020 to replace its courthouse’s copper wiring with a VoIP-compatible infrastructure.

Goals

  • Establish a low-maintenance VoIP PBX for 180 total employees, with the ability to add more devices in accordance with County needs
  • Reduce time and expenses required for phone installs and upkeep
  • Gain work-from-home capabilities in the long term

Value Gained

  • Achieved foundations of a PBX that can quickly expand as needed
  • Reduced expenses related to installing, maintaining and using PBX
  • Saved time in employees’ daily work through automation
  • Rolled out smart working capabilities quickly enough to meet sudden demand
  • Enabled employees to work from home or at their office desks with the same devices and no additional provisioning
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