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Indiana’s Maconaquah School Corporation Transforms Communications and Simplifies IT Operations With Hosted VoIP

ENA by Zayo > Customer Success Stories > Indiana’s Maconaquah School Corporation Transforms Communications and Simplifies IT Operations With Hosted VoIP

Maconaquah School Corporation is a small-to-medium-sized K-12 school district serving 2,300+ students and supporting four schools across six townships in north-central Indiana.

Blending its historical agricultural roots with cutting edge technology and STEM-focused programs, Maconaquah is leading the way as a trailblazing district of the future. When the district’s aging phone system began negatively impacting users and staff, technology director Chris Percival knew embracing hosted communications was the next step in Maconaquah’s digital transformation journey.

A Phone System Behind the Times ​

Before migrating to the cloud, Maconaquah’s on-premises phone system simply struggled to keep up. “Our previous platform was at least eight years old and went down frequently,” said Percival. “Any time we had a power outage we had to reboot the entire system in a very specific order – and even then, it struggled to come back on.”

In addition to its quirky reboot process, multiple factors were creating issues for users:

  • Standard features, like voicemail boxes, would often fail, leaving staff no way to leave or retrieve phone messages
  • Complicated and costly equipment and systems made it difficult for previous staff to perform preventative maintenance, exacerbating the system’s age-related issues
  • Phones were failing across the district, causing disruptions in critical communications
  • Simple administrative changes, such as creating mailboxes or new users, required a painstakingly complicated and time-consuming process
  • The IT staff member who managed the phone system left the district, leaving a gap in telephony expertise

Moreover, Maconaquah’s voice provider outsourced customer support; therefore, every time an issue arose, they had to contact an outside vendor and pay an expensive service fee, often for subpar and delayed technical support.

A New Direction

Percival began the process of evaluating the district’s next move after discovering the upfront costs for an on-premises refresh were astronomical.

“With so many annual school projects requiring budget priority, coming up with the large upfront capital costs for two new servers was going to be a challenge,” he said.

An ENA broadband customer for years, Percival connected with ENA at the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) conference and discussed hosted VoIP as a potential solution. After reaching out to vendors for quotes and conducting a cost-benefit analysis, it was clear cloud-based communications was the most cost-effective choice. Ultimately, ENA’s long-standing track record of premier technical support pushed ENA’s cloud VoIP phone system to the top of the list.

“For us it kept coming down to our confidence level in ENA’s customer service,” explained Percival. “There were some vendors with similar offerings, pricing, and features. But with ENA, we knew we would be getting 24/7 proactive customer service. It’s tough to quantify how much that means.”

Cloud Confidence

The district moved forward with rolling out ENA’s hosted phone platform and hasn’t looked back since. Now Maconaquah schools and staff enjoy a robust cloud PBX feature set, including an auto attendant to help route calls, round-the-clock support for the IT team, all-inclusive technical support, and enterprise-level service quality and reliability.

“Moving to ENA’s voice platform was a great decision. The previous system was a pain to maintain, so this hosted platform has taken so many things off our plate as an IT team,” said Percival. “The ease of the system is great – provisioning phones and updating them is a breeze.”

Additionally, Maconaquah is equipped with new features including pinpoint 911 for location-based reporting in emergencies, self-serve online administrative and user portals, and they no longer have to worry about installing phones lines, upgrading hardware, adding servers or switches – ENA takes care of it all in the cloud.

And for on-the-move staff, ENA’s mobile UCaaS application adds their professional phone extension to their personal devices, so they can stay connected anytime from anywhere.

Service is King

With so many hosted VoIP vendors on the market, Percival encourages districts who are considering a phone migration to evaluate the level of customer service from vendors.

“With other vendors, we have to babysit our open support tickets to make sure progress is happening – that makes me lose confidence in them,” said Percival. “Access to ENA’s advanced engineering is only a phone call away. Within an hour of reporting an issue, an engineer is working on it and sending multiple updates to me and my team. And even if the problem is on our end, nine times out of ten, ENA will help point us in the right direction to getting it fixed.”

A Catalyst for Consolidation

With such positive experiences using ENA’s Internet and VoIP, Maconaquah chose ENA for DDoS protection and managed firewall cybersecurity – enabling them to help mitigate impacts of potential IT team turnover.

“Consolidating our critical IT services to a handful of trusted partners has put us in a much better position,” said Percival. “If I or somebody on our team leaves, our critical infrastructure systems can be seamlessly transitioned without a huge learning curve or any devastating downtime.”

Another benefit of consolidation is streamlined operations. Percival appreciates how his team can hop into ENA’s online portal and easily monitor their IA, WAN, firewall, and voice services.

“IT teams are juggling dozens of products, systems, websites, vendors, dashboards, etc. Having one portal for our ENA services has really simplified operations and training for our team members.”

Finding Trusted Partners

While some may be wary about putting so many IT eggs in one vendor basket, so to speak, Percival explains it all comes down to being very intentional about finding partners you trust.

“Even if a vendor’s pricing is a little bit more, you gain so much by having someone that knows you, knows your network, and knows what you’re trying to accomplish. Also, that you can rely on them and you don’t have to call an overseas help desk and be passed around for hours.”

Percival continues; “We know we can call customer support engineers and our account manager any time and we’ll immediately have an advanced expert ready to help. I can’t say enough about ENA’s engineers. Sometimes we forget about everything they do for us because everything just works – that’s peace of mind.” 

Learn more about ENA’s cost-effective and reliable cloud phone system
“There were some vendors with similar offerings, pricing, and features. But with ENA, we knew we would be getting 24/7 proactive customer service. It’s tough to quantify how much that means.”

Chris Percival, Technology Director

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