Fri. Dec 8th, 2023

Fundesplai is a large entity with more than 6,000 collaborators, offices in Barcelona and Madrid, and 28 facilities scattered throughout the territory. He needed a communications solution that would help integrate his complex organization. NFON’s cloud phone system gives them the flexibility and dynamism they require. Since 1996, Fundesplai (Catalan Foundation of l’Esplai) works to educate children and youth in civic, social and environmental values. This non-profit entity develops a wide range of educational services that include children’s camps, school canteens, extracurricular activities and programs to promote healthy habits among the youngest. The heart of the entity is Center Esplai, its headquarters located in El Prat de Llobregat since 2007. It is a 10,000 m2 building designed by the prestigious architect Carlos Ferrater who has received several awards for its environmentally sustainable construction. From this headquarters the activities of Fundesplai are coordinated, which are carried out throughout Spain and practically all of Latin America. The organizational structure of the entity includes, in addition to the emblematic Barcelona headquarters, an office in Madrid, 28 hostels and camps scattered throughout the territory, as well as 6,000 external collaborators. For that reason, communications play an essential role for the integration and cohesion of Fundesplai. As explained by Xavier Romeu, Fundesplai’s IT manager: “One of our priorities is to provide the necessary means for our remote workers to access information and resources anytime, anywhere. We want them to feel as if they were at the headquarters and having good communications is essential.”

Fundesplai is a non-profit educational entity that manages to bring its workers closer thanks to cloud telephony

To date, the solution that Fundesplai resorted to was to install a telephone switchboard, similar to the one existing at its headquarters, in the different facilities, if the volume of users required it. However, this approach did not meet the objectives of the entity in aspects such as costs, flexibility and ease of management. So they became interested in cloud phone systems.

Cloud telephony with no hidden costs

The growth of Fundesplai required an update of its communications system, which took into account the following business priorities of the entity:

To integrate more closely all your offices, facilities and remote workers.
Simplify the management of the 250 internal extensions and the 300 own telephone numbers.
complete flexibility to modify the extensions, which allows mobility inside the building and to have extensions in the external installations.
Manage telephony as a servicewithout owned equipment that requires maintenance.
Access new featuressuch as a centralized agenda and mobile extensions.
superior voice quality to the previous fixed telephony solution based on a conventional physical switchboard. One time they decided they wanted to renew their switchboard and after being informed about the improvements that the change to a virtual switchboard entailed, Fundesplai carried out tests with different providers. However, the first options they evaluated did not meet all the requirements that the entity’s technology department had set out. This is how Xavier Romeu remembers it: “There were providers that offered us telephony in the cloud but with a proprietary equipment housed in our facilities and paying maintenance. That is not what we wanted, we wanted telephony totally as a service, without having to worry about anything. We don’t want to know if there is a server or several behind it, if it works with a cluster… We don’t want to go into technical details, we only want it to work”.

This was the process of integrating telephony in the cloud in Fundesplai

Fundesplai works with a technological partner that manages computer security and other aspects of the entity, and when he found out that they had started the selection process to renew their switchboard, he told them about NFON. In order for them to check if it really suited their needs, their partner offered them all kinds of facilities to test the cloud phone system they distributed: they set up a test virtual switchboard, left them with terminals and taught them how to use the solution. “We were particularly surprised by the quality of the voice, which is extraordinary,” highlights the head of IT at Fundesplai. “We had done some tests with other technologies and the quality was not the same, it did not sound as good as conventional telephony. But with NFON we found that calls sound better than conventional telephony and even mobile telephony”. Given the success of the initial test, Fundesplai launched a first phase of implementation equipping with a virtual switchboard of NFON its headquarters in Madrid. The cloud phone system started operating at the beginning of 2019 and the results were very satisfactory. So Fundesplai decided to implement the NFON cloud telephony system also at its headquarters in Barcelona and at the rest of its facilities located in different parts of Catalonia.

Phone system migration in a weekend

The migration of Fundesplai’s telephone system was not simple. In addition to the 250 extensions, the entity has almost 300 direct telephone numbers for facilities and departments, as well as multiple hunt groups, carriers, DDIs, etc. However, with NFON it was enough to configure the PBX in the cloud and connect the new terminals with the preconfigured extensions. As a precaution, the migration was done over the weekend, but in the end it was as easy as disconnect the old switchboard and start working with the new one. At all times, Fundesplai staff had the assistance of NFON and its distributor to answer any questions that arose: “One of the aspects that most influenced the decision to choose NFON was their support. They were very patient, because we are not a technical organization and our users sometimes need help learning how to use these new tools. NFON’s assistance is extraordinary: total availability, attentive, polite and friendly staff who perfectly master the solution… Something we especially appreciate is their sensitivity to understand the things that are really important and manage them quickly”, highlights Fundesplai’s IT manager . The implementation process ended at the end of 2019 and Fundesplai currently enjoys a fully operational cloud telephony solution. The entity has been able to dispense with the old telephone switchboards and their corresponding wiring, in addition to accessing new functionalities.

The flexibility of the NFON cloud phone system in Fundesplai’s day-to-day

Now all Fundesplai facilities can have a fixed telephone extension, even if they have few employees or are teleworkers. The entity can also easily enable temporary extensions to continue serving its users, for example when holding a convention away from your venue. Users no longer have to memorize phone numbers, because they have a phone book with the extensions of the entire organization, in addition to their personal phone book. When a worker changes jobs, he just has to pick up his terminal and plug it into the phone jack at his new location. They also enjoy the possibility of continue to use the fixed extensions on your mobile devices when they are out of the office.
All these improvements have contributed to bring Fundesplai workers and collaborators closer together, even if they are not physically in the distinctive central headquarters of the entity. The organization now has a communications solution that matches the dynamism of its development and has left behind the increasing costs, limitations and complexities of its previous telephony infrastructure. As Xavier Romeu, head of IT at Fundesplai, concludes: “I definitely recommend the NFON cloud phone system. I can’t think of a better way to have fixed telephony without worrying about the maintenance of the switchboard or the rest of the technical aspects. Today, it doesn’t make sense to implement other business communications technology than the cloud.”

By Alvaro Rivers

Award-winning student. Incurable social media fanatic. Music scholar. Beer maven. Writer.