ASX-listed InvoCare has updated its entire network across Australia and New Zealand as part of a $200 million investment to deliver a better customer experience.
The funeral, cemetary and crematoria service provider's main goal was to move to the cloud to offer a contemporary service to families but its existing ageing infrastructure made it impossible for this to happen.
The previous network, which was running on end of life copper, provided limited connectivity with 60 per cent of sites across Australia and New Zealand operating on less than 1Mb/s bandwidth and 42 per cent of sites in Australia operating on a 3G network. This prevented InvoCare from moving to a cloud-based ERP but also didn't allow for plans to live stream funerals, allowing overseas or distant family members the opportunity "to take part in the celebration of the life of their loved one".
As InvoCare has grown through acquisitions, resulting in 18 different telephony systems with 94 per cent using copper networks, which are planned for shutdown. Last year the company completed 7 acquisitions, collectively valued at around $3.6 million and has completed one in 2019.
The disparate telephony platforms also provided limited visibility on uptime, lack of flexibility on call hand-offs and minimal reporting, according to InvoCare.
Another challenge was around costs of building on legacy network infrastructure. With a decade-long incumbent telecommunications provider costs were quickly building up. It required a managed solution that enabled it to grow but reduce overall costs. Cisco routers, switches and Cisco Meraki Wi-Fi equipment was installed at 242 sites in Australia and 42 in New Zealand.
The new, cloud-based ERP solution is currently being used at 50 per cent of InvoCare's locations, with remaining sites expected to migrate by the end of the year.
The ageing Telstra services were replaced by a centralised cloud telephony platform for InvoCare's sites and customer care centres. Jon Evans, CEO at Enablis, the company that helped deploy the new network, several wholesale carrier last mile providers were used to "to bring it into our [Enablis] own managed network".
The unified cloud approach has simplified management and also increased operational efficiency. It provides uniform reporting across the company, InvoCare said.
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