Standard Life Enhances Customer Service, Reduces Costs, and Improves Competitiveness with Advanced Technologies
IBM and Cisco Systems Help Assurance Leader See Benefits from Converged, End-To-End IP Network
November 22, 2005 - IBM and Cisco Systems has completed a three year deployment of a state-of-the-art Internet Protocol (IP) Communications (IPC) network at Standard Life, one of the world’s leading assurance companies headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland. The five-year managed services contract, with two years left to run, which includes an advanced IP network and contact centre, has helped the company improve competitiveness and optimise operational efficiencies by delivering converged voice, data, and other applications to employees around the world, improving customer service, and reducing Information Communication Technology (ICT) costs significantly.
Standard Life’s previous network of 40 local branches relied on Private Branch Exchange (PBX) telephony. With this outdated technology the company faced a critical decision: update the existing PBX structure or undergo an upgrade to a converged IP data and telephony network.
Standard Life turned to IBM Global Services which led a team that is delivering a managed solution, designing the infrastructure, managing the procurement process, installing the technology, and providing 24 X 7 onsite network support.
IBM Global Services worked closely with Cisco Systems in deploying the IPC network. Standard Life now has a virtual contact centre to carry data, voice and other applications via the IPC network. IBM achieved this by replacing the existing PBX networks and installing IBM eServer xSeries 330 servers to support the new voice solution. Cisco Call Manager voice processing software, Cisco 7940 and 7960 series IP Phones, Cisco IP Contact Center (IPCC) Enterprise Edition software, and Cisco Catalyst 6500 series switches, Cisco Catalyst 4000 series switches and Cisco 3600 series routers provide the foundation of the IP network, which has helped enable Standard Life to build a distributed contact centre environment where calls are now controlled and routed efficiently through a series of scripts.
For the data network, IBM worked with Cisco to deploy a Catalyst 6500 series switch infrastructure with Standard Life’s Datacenters to provide the high speed, highly resilient connectivity required for the IP Communications Servers supporting the Virtualised Contact Centre. A new Internet Service Provider (ISP), new Remote Access Service (RAS) and a SecureDial solution from Cable & Wireless were included, and the Wide Area Network (WAN) now links 15 UK branches with sites in Boston, Montreal, Hong Kong and Frankfurt.
“Standard Life is easier to contact and answers my queries much faster than before - I’ve noticed a real improvement. I always get to speak to someone who can help straight away. It makes a real difference to the service I can offer my customers,” says Tim Mullock at Allied Irish Bank Independent Financial Services.
The new converged network enables a comprehensive view of call volumes and activity. Mike Mann, Network Services Manager at Standard Life explains: “Before, managers had limited sight of call volumes and how they were dealt with. Now reports are generated automatically and adjustments can be made to our scripts to accommodate call patterns.”
As leaders in application integration services and networking communication technologies, IBM and Cisco offer innovative solutions and services that complement existing customer infrastructure and processes. Through the IP Communications network, Standard Life has gained the flexibility to stay responsive in a dynamic market. When the decision was made to scale down the number of branches, the flexibility of the IP-based converged network meant the re-organisation was achieved on time and without any impact on call response. “Flexibility was definitely tested and proved. In our changing, competitive market, this is a huge benefit,” explains Mann.
With the new Cisco IP Contact Centre solution implemented by IBM Global Services, Standard Life now has a more resilient, robust network that accommodates a higher volume of calls and faster data transmission. International sites, in particular, notice greater reliability and performance. As a result, independent financial advisors can work more efficiently and productively, delivering faster, higher quality service to their customers. Moreover, by consolidating its pool of vendors and reducing downtime, Standard Life has seen a 25 percent IT cost savings since the start of the managed service contract.
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About Standard Life
The Standard Life Assurance Company (Standard Life) was established in Edinburgh in 1825 and is Europe’s largest mutual life assurance company, with total assets under management of £124 billion (as at 30 September 2005).
Standard Life provides customers with a broad range of financial products and services through the following operating companies: UK Life & Pensions, Standard Life Investments, Standard Life Bank, Standard Life and Standard Life International
On 31 March 2004, it was announced that the Standard Life Board had concluded that, in principle, proceeding towards demutualisation of the Company was in the best interests of the Company and its policyholders. It is envisaged that a proposal will be put to members by the 2006 AGM.
The Standard Life Group has over 11,000 employees worldwide, approximately 7,000 of whom are based in Edinburgh.
About the IBM and Cisco Alliance
On Demand Business requires an Intelligent Infrastructure that integrates applications, networking, and IT, so they can be managed together, with less complexity and cost. Cisco’s Intelligent Information Network is a critical enabling component of this infrastructure, and Cisco has led the evolution of the network from a tool for connectivity to the foundation for enabling business transformation. In turn, IBM continues to be on the forefront in helping customers to achieve their On Demand Business objectives.
IBM and Cisco have forged a unique, broad-reaching relationship to better enable their customers’ transformation to an On Demand Business. The two companies offer a shared strategy of integrated solutions, technologies and products, as well as their combined world-class leadership in solutions, services, hardware, software, and networking.
For more information about the IBM and Cisco alliance, please visit: www.ibm.com/services/alliances/cisco, or www.cisco/partners/ibm.com.
IBM is the world’s largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key IBM Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of On Demand Business. For more information about IBM visit www.ibm.com.
About Cisco Systems
Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Cisco news and information are available at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com. Cisco equipment in Europe is supplied by Cisco Systems International BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco Systems, Inc.
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