Teach First

Unified Communications - VIA UC

Teach First consolidated its network of UK offices by deploying an innovative and bespoke unified communications (UC) solution from VIA. The project also saves the charity £20,000 per year in direct costs. 


After taking the decision to relocate its headquarters from London’s South Bank to North Greenwich, Teach First sought a cloud-based solution that could be tailored to fit its exact requirements. The platform not only needed to boost workforce connectivity within its London office, but would also allow the charity to benefit from a truly joined-up approach to communications across its eight additional UK offices, including Nottingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham. Being dedicated users of Office 365, Teach First also needed a UC platform that integrated seamlessly with the Microsoft suite of applications.


Teach First contacted VIA to explore the possibility of replacing a number of different conventional phone systems across multiple locations with a single cohesive solution. 

Following initial discussions, the charity conducted a site visit of Redbridge College, who have used VIA Voice with a bespoke call routing solution since early 2015. This prompted Teach First to carry out a month-long trial at its office in Birmingham, before rolling out VIA Voice across each of its nine locations.

VIA UC, which incorporates Skype for Business, operates over the Internet and replaces the need to have a traditional phone network. This helps the workforce to stay continuously connected and reachable even when working remotely. All users have ‘dial in and out conferencing’ and Direct Dial In (DDI) numbers, whilst VIA’s advanced call routing application ensures callers are always directed to the most suitable department.

Teach First now saves approximately £20,000 per annum on direct costs, including service charges, maintaining equipment and call costs. The charity also makes significant indirect cost savings due to efficiency gains triggered by hot desking, the ability for staff to communicate better when working remotely, reduced travel, enhanced video conferencing, and greater overall workforce collaboration.

Employees use Jabra Evolve 65 headsets whilst the organisation also installed 40 Polycom Trio 8800s, the certified Skype for Business conference phone, for its meeting rooms and open office areas.

We required a solution that would allow us to modernise our telephony infrastructure, whilst benefitting from a joined-up approach to communications across our nine offices - and VIA Voice certainly fits the bill. We have already noticed that employee communications have improved, especially between different offices. These efficiency gains will lead to both direct and indirect cost savings, allowing us to focus on our vision of a day when no child’s educational success is limited by their socio-economic background.
Mark Sutton, IT Director, Teach First


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