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Ironbark Aboriginal Corporation Case Study

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Delivering the sustainable and engaging ICT environment Ironbark Aboriginal Corporation needs to improve lives and transform Aboriginal communities

Ironbark Aboriginal Corporation Photo

Complete technology and services revamp creates the connections to bring Ironbark’s team closer together

Based in Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory (NT), Ironbark Aboriginal Corporation (Ironbark) is a not-for-profit organisation delivering services to urban, regional and remote Aboriginal communities in the Darwin/Daly Region. Ironbark aims to improve lives and transform Aboriginal communities by providing employment services, enterprise, economic and community development, and business solutions.

The Darwin/Daly Region is an area of 60,000km2 with three main population centres and a number of small, remote and isolated communities. Ironbark operates from nine locations six of which are remote communities.

It is critical to the organisation’s goals to strive for sustained outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Ironbark holds the core belief that local people must be engaged in the process – not only as recipients of services and/or initiatives – but as principal participants at all levels.

By 2016, ICT had become a significant problem for Ironbark and its 65 staff.

“Unlike a lot of organisations that would fit our profile, we have high ICT needs, with a reliance on internet-based applications, a number of remote offices and a lot of mobile data usage,” explained Chris Shirley, Ironbark’s Corporate Services Manager.

Ironbark had the multiple challenges of different phone systems in each of its locations; a requirement for Internet and cloud-based applications; and Internet connections which, at their best, were only marginally better than home broadband performance.

“WITH OUR NEW SHORETEL SOLUTION, OUR STAFF ARE FEELING CLOSER TO EACH OTHER AND MUCH MORE CONNECTED.”

Chris Shirley
Corporate Services Manager
Ironbark Aboriginal Corporation

“Productivity was a big issue. If someone called looking for one of our staff members there was no way to easily transfer calls. We had to just give them another number to call,” said Mr Shirley.

A complete technology revamp and new managed services construct was proposed, together with an onsite UC solution based on ShoreTel Connect.

“A single unified communications solution was proposed across all our sites to ensure a consistent telephony experience for all our users,” said Mr Shirley.

Creating Connections

Engaging with its communities is held as a core principle at Ironbark. However, prior to the revamp, Ironbark had been struggling with internal communications, engagement and collaboration. This was having a major impact on its ability to deliver the services needed by its supported communities.

ShoreTel Connect UC provides Ironbark with a single, voice over IP (VoIP) solution across all nine sites with direct dialling to all staff across the region. Staff visiting one of Ironbark’s three main sites are now able to login to any ShoreTel handset so their extension follows them, making it much easier for them to be reached.

ShoreTel Connect is integrated with Microsoft Skype for Business, part of Ironbark’s new Office 365 deployment. This provides users with a single interface for calls, instant messaging, user presence information, point-to-point video and audio/video conferencing. It also integrates with users’ Microsoft Outlook for voicemail and scheduling conference calls.

“With our new ShoreTel solution, our staff are feeling closer to each other and much more connected,” said Mr Shirley.

Future Plans

Ironbark plans to introduce additional UC functionality on the ShoreTel platform and via the integrated desktop client and, to complement this, there is an education and training program to be rolled out to all Ironbark users on the system.

Chris Shirley is also excited by the potential that improved mobility will bring. “We are looking to roll out VoIP on mobile and to manage mobile data better. We want to bring down our mobile phone costs and we want our people to be less reliant on their mobile phones and 4G.”

CHALLENGE:

To completely revamp the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and associated support services for a not-for-profit organisation servicing Aboriginal communities in northern Australia.

SOLUTION:

Introduce a ShoreTel unified communications (UC) system to address communications deficiencies as part of a project to re-engineer and provision: a new wide and local area networking infrastructure; Internet connectivity; whole-of-ICT managed services; and a 24x7 helpdesk. Introduce a new public cloud infrastructure providing Remote Desktop Services, and migrate email and other services to Office 365.

BENEFITS:

  • Greater staff productivity through increased networking speeds and application response times
  • Improving internal communications with single IP telephony solution and feature-rich UC
  • Better user experience with more flexible desktop configurations and application accessibility
  • Overall reduction in annual IT spend across all services

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