Akron is both the name of the fifth largest city in Ohio and a public research university within it. Primarily STEM-focused, this university is involved in industries such as polymers, advanced materials, and engineering. Ordinarily, it’s home to about 20,000 undergraduate students, all of whom rely on an IT help desk peopled by 50 technicians. With the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, the university faced the challenge of taking this team remote.
In 2020, the spread of COVID-19 rocked businesses and institutions all over the country. The education world faced a particularly difficult challenge when schools had to rapidly transition to online learning and operations. The University of Akron was no exception. Not only did it need its student body to go “remote,” it also needed its IT help desk to be able to run optimally while its technicians were sheltering in place.
At the onset, this looked like it would be easier said than done. Akron’s IT department utilized an Avaya contact center system prior to the pandemic. While this system was perfectly serviceable pre-COVID, its on-premise limitations didn’t serve the need for remote work. Akron needed a new, cloud-based contact center solution that could help its IT desk take remote tickets, but the crisis seemed like it would make acquiring the equipment and deploying the solution significantly more difficult.
This was before University of Akron realized that a Five9 contact center could be deployed in just a couple of days.
Continuant, Akron’s vendor that had been hired to support Akron’s Avaya system in January of 2019, was able to work with Five9 to get this cloud-based contact center solution deployed. Where the initial timeline had projected the contact center wouldn’t be done until summer, Continuant and Five9 set it up over a weekend. Now with a 100% cloud-based contact center, Akron’s IT desk could easily manage remote tickets even with all their technicians working from home.
This is just the beginning of a communications transformation at Akron. To further boost their collaboration capabilities, the University will be installing a new Microsoft Teams solution in place of the Avaya system with Continuant's help.
Teams is one of the best cloud solutions to use in place of a PBX, combining modern collaboration tools with the ability to make and take PSTN calls. For a university like Akron, it creates a "Bring Your Own Device" environment where all users need to connect is a compatible device and an internet connection. This kind of environment is ideal for student employees, especially at a time when so many of them need to work remote.
Through all this, Continuant and Five9 have proven capable of moving quickly under pressure and deploying the perfect solution, while Microsoft has helped the university turn its IT helpdesk into a modern workspace.
The University of Akron can now rely on its solutions and the partners that set it up to help it save money, access more resources, and move forward with the support it needs.
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