Hosted phone solution eliminates user and administrative headaches at the University of Advancing Technology

Arizona university abandons obsolete phone system and upgrades to unified communications platform from Jive

Imagine being several years into a hardware-based, enterprise Voice over IP phone system installation and still in the first phase of the implementation process. That is exactly the troubling situation the University of Advancing Technology, located in Tempe, Arizona, found itself in spring 2015.

“The system was expensive, difficult to configure and had a clunky call manager user interface,” says Jason Pistillo, CEO. “It had lots of high-end features, but we never got to that level because we never got beyond the basics.”

In June 2014, Pistillo was introduced to an alternative to hardware-based VoIP: a cloud-based VoIP phone solution from Jive Communications Inc. However, already committed to the industry-leading premise-based system, he had to pass. Then, a year later and barely further along in the implementation on his 900-student campus, Pistillo decided to switch to Jive’s platform.

The unified communications system Jive provides is user-friendly, reliable and easily scalable. Top-tier data centers provide the constant uptime that is needed at a prestigious technology-focused institution.

“It was important to have our phone system up and running well before the beginning of the semester,” says Pistillo. “I challenged our IT manager to have Jive ready by August 1. It was up after 41 days, on July 1.”

Pistillo says Jive’s system is superior to the previously planned hardware-based solution not just because of its ease of installation, but also because of its lower cost.

“The hardware-based solution was very expensive because of the cost of the hardware, licensing, phones and SIP trunking,” says Pistillo. “We even had to have special computers for the system to run on. The cost of just one phone and SIP trunking on that system is the same as our entire Jive system.”

The management side of Jive is so simple, an admissions manager, chief of staff and office manager—not IT personnel—are the administrators at UAT. That is unheard of for such a large phone installation, says Pistillo.

“Without help or opening a tutorial, I could figure out Jive functionalities, such as caller ID and setting up auto-attendants, in five minutes each,” he says. “It’s so simple, a CEO can do it.”

With the hardware-based solution, if UAT staff members wanted to use their extensions at home, a firewall would have to be set up and a tunnel created. With Jive’s system, a phone is simply provisioned and the user can take it home, plug it in and be ready to go.

“There is no tunneling, no trunking, no cost except the cost of the phone,” says Pistillo. “This also makes disaster recovery much easier. If there is major damage to a building, staff members can bring their phone home and work from home without backend effort.”

Many companies do not offer training once implementation is completed. In contrast, Jive has stayed in close contact with Pistillo and his team at UAT, and offers training on-demand.

“We email Jive often with questions about features and adding users, and we receive responses usually within a couple of hours,” says Pistillo. “We do not need ongoing technical support—which is a good thing.”

Previously, UAT office staff often developed workarounds for simple tasks like creating phone lines for new employees, because they were accustomed to requests being denied, but Pistillo says that Jive has eliminated these problems.

“Jive enables managers and users to get things done,” he says.

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