Educor cloud migration creates future-ready educator
Since its inception, Educor has grown to become the largest private education supplier in southern Africa.
The group manages multiple educational brands across geographically disparate campuses and sites in South Africa and internationally.
The group's face-to-face brands include Damelin, CityVarsity, ICESA and Central Technical College. Distance brands include INTEC College, Damelin Correspondence College (DCC) and higher education distance brand, Lyceum.
Educor relies on technology to provide higher and further education to a large base of students, offering face-to-face tuition at its technologically advanced campuses and through distance and online learning models.
The group's back-office staff rely on technology to provide comprehensive support via the relevant infrastructure and support systems to accommodate students.
Counting the cost of legacy tech
“We were running a range of CRM and ERP solutions and a traditional on-premises Avaya voice over IP (VOIP) PBX solution to meet these requirements,” explains Denzel Marimuthu, Head of Infrastructure at Educor Holdings.
However, as a private education institute, cost containment is a major focus for Educor. The technology was also outdated and no longer supported, so we needed to upgrade our capabilities. The group identified technology as a major cost efficiency driver and turned to trusted managed services provider Pivotal Data for a solution," adds Marimuthu.
Following a comprehensive analysis, Pivotal Data proposed migrating Educor's contact centre and voice capabilities to a secure, fully redundant cloud environment to consolidate and simplify its disparate systems, channels and data, and unlock cost savings and improved performance metrics.
The cloud solution
Educor opted for Pivotal Voice for back-office users and Pivotal on Demand for its contact centres because these solutions offered the most cost-effective option that still delivered all the functionality that users required.
These solutions enabled Educor to successfully virtualise and converge its numerous contact centre sites and unlock beneficial collaboration functionality.
“It was a simple transition and there were no hiccups when we migrated to Pivotal on Demand and Pivotal Voice,” continues Marimuthu.
Unlocking cost benefits
Educor immediately realised significant cost savings. “Pivotal Voice offered massive cost reductions as we immediately saved 65% on our cost per call. The team's ability to collaborate regularly online also cut down travel requirements within the group, with less need to drive from campus to campus.”
Marimuthu says Pivotal on Demand’s licensing model also generated massive cost savings and productivity benefits.
“The on-demand usage is amazing because we can switch people on and off as needed. This enables us, within minutes, to scale up our capacity, while effectively managing costs as demand rises. This has proved particularly beneficial in our collections call centre.”
Enhanced learning experience
As a multi-channel contact centre solution, Pivotal on Demand has revolutionised student engagement.
“The group now has the ability to collaborate with students virtually, offering more efficient engagement,” adds Marimuthu.
And as Pivotal on Demand is provisioned from the cloud, Pivotal Data manages the solution, which frees Educor's IT resources to focus on other parts of the business.
The reporting functionality offered additional productivity benefits as Educor gained granular insights into contact centre performance.
“We were never able to generate reports per department before. Now, with the Pivotal Data solutions in place, we have access to real-time reporting and analytics. These capabilities provide insights into how many calls we receive and accurate data on resolution rates to improve the customer experience,” says Marimuthu.
Pivotal on Demand has also made Educor's contact centre agents more productive, as the feature-rich solutions enables fewer agents to manage higher call volumes and do more.
“The online chat capabilities offload call volumes in the contact centre and the solution allows agents to engage via two different channels,” explains Marimuthu.
Marimuthu asserts that Pivotal Data fulfilled all of Educor's requirements.
“A key contributor to the success of our cloud migration is Pivotal Data's unique approach. The organisation operates on a partnership model rather than just a vendor relationship. They took the time to understand our business and its needs. This partnership approach also gave us the flexibility to perform tasks on our own, yet still provides amazing support when we need it.”
The lockdown pivot
And in the process, Pivotal Data also created a future-proof operation that would be agile enough to respond to a looming crisis.
Educor transitioned to Pivotal on Demand and Pivotal Voice nine months before the country would go into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the request by our President on 23 March 2020 to enter lockdown, Educor decided to adopt the work from home (WFH) discipline. This gave us just a few days to enable remote working for all users. When this happened, maintaining voice communication capabilities for our students became critical,” elaborates Marimuthu.
He believes that adopting the Pivotal Voice and Pivotal on Demand platforms was one of the group's best decisions as it enabled them to easily transition to this new model.
WFH enablement was a simple e-mail request to Pivotal Data. Similarly, with the Pivotal on Demand solution in place, all it took to support students during the lockdown was making sure that contact centre agents had the correct log-in details. They could then easily connect from home using any reliable Internet connection.
The company provided agents with standard mobile data cards and the Pivotal platform ensured that users with low connection speeds could still experience perfect voice call quality.
“Pivotal Voice enabled staff to easily collaborate with each other in this WFH scenario, as they normally would in the school environment, by simply calling other users on their desk phone. Staff use a mix of devices, from handphones, a softphone and the mobile app, all of which work seamlessly. This exemplifies the solution's plug-and-play capabilities,” states Pivotal Data Account Executive, Anton Kohler.
Call cost containment
“The solution has also enabled the customer to keep data and telephony costs down, even for calls made to other Internet-based users, with reduced rates for calls to landline or mobile numbers,” adds Kohler.
And the billing model for licensing ensures Educor remains in control of usage, with the ability to quickly add additional licences to any of its national locations.
“As an IT professional who has worked in the voice space for many years on various platforms, the Pivotal Voice and Pivotal on Demand platforms stack up among the highest in its class for service. In an age where quick and easy is made possible without compromising quality and efficiency, these platforms have allowed me to provide a high level of business continuity,” states Marimuthu.
Ready for a new education model
Looking beyond the lockdown, Marimuthu says that COVID-19 has completely reshaped the education model as it has accelerated the transition to distance and remote learning models.
“We're confident that the capabilities we have in place with the Pivotal solutions can effectively accommodate the transition away from on-premises to greater reliance on online learning.”
According to Marimuthu, the rich collaboration capabilities are vital to facilitate effective online engagement and successful learning outcomes.
“Our agents across the country are already empowered with Pivotal on Demand to support our students, now and into the future,” he concludes.