Simplicity of system makes

By Caron Carlson  |  Posted 2005-07-18 Print this article Print

it easy to roll out"> The simplicity of the Zultys system has been a boon to Providents IT team and the entire work force alike, Lukitsch said. He said he sent two telephone network experts and one IT expert for training with Zultys, and they mastered the system easily. The relatively low cost of deployment means that Provident can roll out systems at a faster pace.

"They had always been very cautious about opening new branches," Lukitsch said. "Now we can get a branch [network] up and running with [$2,000]."

Whats more, underwriters and other employees have discovered some of the more transparent benefits of VOIP.

"We have ... employees who definitely do not like change. They are overjoyed because they can see their calls on their computers," Lukitsch said.

Telcos develop video and data applications for businesses. Click here to read more. Apart from simplifying network management and giving Provident more control over its communications, the Zultys system is saving the lender money. VOIP eliminates the cost of internal calling, and that alone should save the company between $200,000 and $300,000 a year, Lukitsch said. And he said he anticipates Provident will save as much as $500,000 annually by eliminating six of its nine PRIs (Primary Rate Interfaces), used for dedicated access lines.

Provident is already taking advantage of the open standards at the foundation of Zultys technology by incorporating a new IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system into the network. Borrowers will be able to phone the lending company and verbally enter their account number into the system to obtain a balance. Zultys announced the IVR feature as a regular component of its technology in May of this year, said Iain Milnes, president of Zultys.

The vendor is finding growing demand for its standards-based products overseas, although the United States remains its largest market, Milnes said. Demand for handsets alone spurred the company to find new manufacturing partners, and it has just unveiled a midpriced phone, the ZIP 2x2, which has two Ethernet circuits and two call appearances.

"When we started the company, I said initially were not going to be in the phone business," Milnes said. "Were in the phone business to stay."

Case file
  • Customer Provident Funding Associates
  • Location Burlingame, Calif.
  • Organizational snapshot Explosive growth brought a logistical nightmare for the companys systems group; many of Providents branches employ 10 or fewer workers—underwriters, for the most part, with no expertise in managing a network; Provident was forced to contract with third parties to maintain the systems, and a task as basic as adding a phone meant paying an extra fee
  • Business need To administer disparate telephone systems at a growing number of small branch offices coast to coast by deploying an affordable system that one team could centrally manage, thereby gaining control over telecom usage and costs
  • Recommended solution Zultys Technologies MX250, installed at headquarters, incorporates the functions of a PBX, voice mail server, voice gateway and Internet gateway in one box; Zultys MX25, installed at branches, can be used as a SIP gateway or a remote module for the MX250, handling as many as 30 simultaneous voice channels; Zultys ZIP 4x4 phones
  • Lessons learned Many proprietary VOIP systems are not only costly but also complicated, requiring ongoing management help from the vendor; the relatively low cost of deploying a standards-based system meant that Provident could roll out systems at a faster pace; besides simplifying network management and giving Provident more control over its communications, the Zultys system is saving the lender money by eliminating the cost of internal calling and by eliminating unused PRIs, which were used for dedicated access lines


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