South Australian chartered accounting firm Jaquillard Minns has begun rolling out MyNetFone-branded Cisco phones to allow the company to deploy a virtual PBX, which will allow it to connect the company's head office with its back-end services in Manila in the Philippines and in Melbourne.
The company has 65 staff overall, mostly based in Adelaide. The company also has several people in an office in Melbourne and 18 staffers based in Manila that provide back office and processing support for the Adelaide headquarters.
Prior to rolling out MyNetFone, the company used to keep in contact with the Manila office via Skype, but IT manager Immanuel Canda said that wasn't the best.
"We were using Skype before, but sometimes Skype doesn't work well," he said. "With the phones now, the voice quality is very clear.
"It will be fantastic [to] have a phone system where you can direct dial-in phone numbers of staff members and make calls to clients without having to make reimbursements," he said. "With the Virtual PBX system, it will make it easier to handle those situations."
The company had looked into a number of options for different enterprise-grade solutions from the likes of Cisco, Avaya, and Mytel, but ultimately settled on the Virtual PBX.
"We decided that Virtual PBX is the way to go, because it will save us from a huge capital expenditure for hardware-based PBX systems and it is very easy to set up," he said. "We just ordered the phones from MyNetFone and we deployed them in Manila, and it is so good. It connects straight to our network, as long as you are connected to the internet."
It also assists in letting some staffers telework from home.
"Because we offer flexibility for some of our staff where they can work from home. Instead of setting up a VPN, to give them office telephone systems, we just provide them with a Cisco MyNetFone phone and they just connect in," he said.
Currently, only a few staffers — including two who have recently had children — are taking up teleworking, but it was a slow start to get teleworking, Canda said.
"It depends on their roles and their function. Obviously, for some functions, you need to be in the office to be more effective, but we have that flexibility [now]," he said.
"Previously, we used to direct calls to their mobile phones, but now we have the flexibility to assign them an office-issued telephone so they can connect in through our telephone system. Those who work from home, we have arranged for their work task to be purely things they can do while they work from home."
For staff who do take up telework, they're given remote access to the company's network after their personal laptops are given the all-clear by the firm's IT department.
"Obviously, when they want that set up, they bring their laptops or computers into the office and the IT officer will review and make sure that they have anti-virus software installed, and it is clean and good," Canda said. "We place a high degree of trust with them."
But Canda said that he was in the process of improving this method of providing access to staff.
"We have projects to improve that process; I am not really a big fan of it at the moment, but in the meantime, that is how we do it."
The company has a dedicated Telstra Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) service from the Adelaide office to Manila, but Canda said that a minimum ADSL2+ connection would be fine for teleworking — for the most part.
"I've even tried a 3G connection. Sometimes, it is OK, [but] if you're drafting accounts, generating financial reports, or working on Excel spreadsheets, you'll need a faster connection."