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Efficiency, a good interplay between fixed and mobile communication and a major technological advantage. These were reasons enough for ING Belgium to migrate thousands of mobile phone subscriptions to Proximus, all within just two months.
ING Belgium is one of the 4 largest banks in the country and operates some 800 branches. In total, over 10,000 people in Belgium are employed by the bank. So that the communication between the hundreds of sites can take place smoothly and economically, the bank, as a matter good housekeeping, is constantly looking for cost-effective yet high performance solutions. “For fixed telephony, we have been with Belgacom for ages,” explains IT Manager Peter De Bruyne. “For mobile communication, we have turned to a range of suppliers in recent years. There’s nothing wrong with that as such; it is just that, naturally, you’re missing the benefits of a ‘closed user group': the ability to let your staff within the company make calls to one another, whether on mobile or landline devices, at economical rates. When you have different fixed and mobile operators, you can establish a global agreement with a financial discount but, in functional terms, that’s not an optimal solution.”
“Another application that was on our list was SIP trunking,” De Bruyne mentioned. Thanks to Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), incoming and outgoing phone calls can go via the data network instead of a separate telephone line. We want to be able to consume telephony as an application from our datacenters, which we can connect centrally to the fixed network. We are already onboard with Belgacom’s strategy of switching over completely to IP-based services. In this way, we’re future-ready. This is not something that all operators can offer but Belgacom can, thanks to the Business Trunking service. De Bruyne: “We also now have one-number-reach: all employees can be reached on a single phone number, both mobile and fixed. In fact, many staff members no longer have a landline device. They make calls on their mobile or using a software program on their PC.” Concretely, ING was handling some 7,500 mobile subscriptions.
A close contest
The changeover to a new provider started in August last year with a call for tenders which led to responses from various parties. By December, an initial recommendation for the senior management was ready; one month later, the final decision was made. “For corporate profiles, there are not all that many players in Belgium,” De Bruyne pointed out. “What was decisive in choosing Belgacom was the synergy between fixed and mobile, linked with the SIP trunking. Also, the very good coverage of the Proximus network and the fact that they were already well underway with 4G, certainly played a role.” On 1 May the migration started with some 250 employees per day. Everything was completed in just two months: it was a fairly intensive, logistical exercise. Each user was scheduled in a chart, which included the option of choosing an alternative date and, 24 hours before the changeover, everyone was sent an SMS offering them the option to reschedule in case an unexpected conflict had arisen.
“The changeover went surprisingly smoothly,” De Bruyne noted. “Both Belgacom and Vandenabeele, the logistics and support partner of Belgacom for this project, did great work. Also our HR department, which analyzed all users, and our communication department, that provided support, deserve recognition.” The IT Manager is reluctant to give concrete figures, but the savings that the migration allowed them to make are clearly quite considerable. “We are spending about half as much now. No matter how you look at it, that is a huge amount.”
ING is one of the 4 largest banks in Belgium and is active in banking, insurance, private banking and leasing. In 2011 it booked a net profit of EUR 979 million.
For more information on IP-telephony, visit the Belgacom website or contact your Account Manager.
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