Breast Cancer Now unifies telephony with Britannic

20 October 2023

Breast Cancer Now employs around 350 people with sites in Sheffield, Glasgow, Cardiff, London and a small number of homeworkers.

The charity is dedicated to giving support for today and hope for the future for everyone affected by breast cancer. Around 55,000 women and 400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK and nearly 1,000 people die from the disease every month. Breast Cancer Now’s vision is that by 2050, everyone diagnosed with breast cancer will live, and be supported to live well.

The merger

When Breast Cancer Now and Breast Cancer Care merged it was challenging from an organisational and operational perspective. Fortunately both organisations’ telephony ran on Mitel PBXs.

“We were on two separate systems so there were multiples of everything: two reception numbers, numerous fundraising numbers and two service desk numbers,” said Romeena Kazi, IT support manager at Breast Cancer Now. “External people were calling into two different phone systems and colleagues were having to re-route calls to the relevant team. Any new numbers had to be added to both systems. The entire process was time-consuming and cumbersome for the IT team.”

A seamless single phone system

Breast Cancer Now’s IT team knew that the duplicated telephony systems were essential for integration following the merger.

“We were looking for a telephony company that would support us in this new phase and beyond,” said Kazi.

Britannic worked closely with Breast Cancer Now to merge both phone systems into a single system to streamline telephony and improve processes. All four Breast Cancer Now sites were on Mitel systems, with Mitel MiCollab, a conferencing and collaboration solution. This enabled employees to use a softphone providing them with the freedom to work from anywhere and access it on any device. Kazi and her team rolled out MiCollab to all staff across the charity so everyone had access to a softphone. This allowed mobile and hybrid working and could be accessed from the desktop in the office, on mobile phones or at home on their laptops. Wherever it is accessed, the softphone provides the same features and functionalities as if the user is based at the office.

Improving configuration improved services

Improving configuration was vital to improving telephone services at Breast Cancer Now. The individual groups in the organisation such as service support, events, and IT support are set up using ring groups. A ring group can be configured to ring in different ways. For example, it can simultaneously ring all phone extensions in that team and the first available team member answers the call. Another configuration may be where the call is routed to be answered by a specific person and then if they don’t answer, they are automatically routed to the next. The benefits of a ring group are that it reduces call waiting times, distributes workload evenly and all calls get answered.

It is also flexible to programme and routes calls for your specific needs ensuring that all calls get the same priority, or, when the need arises, that specific calls can be prioritised. This is essential for the services support team who provide information on all Breast Cancer Now services and how to access them. They are an important hub of information so it’s vital their calls are managed as efficiently as possible.

“We had many internal ring groups to set up with lots of configurations, our service users include people diagnosed with breast cancer who we provide help and support for, so it was of paramount importance that our telephone service was robust and reliable with good connectivity,” said Kazi.

A digital transformation journey

Britannic worked closely with Breast Cancer Now to initially understand what technology they had, their pain points, and objectives for the project and assisted them in designing a strategy and a technology roadmap to help them get to where they wanted to be.

“Working with Britannic was really interesting. I found their account management and technical skills outstanding, and their consultative approach was vital to us at this time,” sid Kazi.

Next, Breast Cancer Now wants to look at how they can make changes and evolve their telephony to fit in with the world of work today, now that more people are hybrid working or based at home.

“We are delighted to be working with Breast Cancer Now who are such an important charity and assisting them on their digital transformation. Where they can continually evolve and improve their communications and discover new innovative ways of working to enhance supporter care,” said Jonathan Sharp, CEO, Britannic.