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Case Studies

We consolidated the communications infrastructure for global wealth management giant FNZ

Over 1,500 users connected.“Conversant integrated our communications infrastructure, in the middle of both a pandemic and an aggressive acquisition strategy”

FNZ

Consolidating the comms technology for a global wealth management platform


Conversant:

  • Connected over 1,500 global users to a single, integrated Microsoft Teams-based system
  • Enabled FNZ to implement a functioning remote and hybrid Unified Communication solution across continents with a fully managed support service
  • Future-proofed the communications needs of the organisation
  • Provided contact centre and financial compliance recording solutions that seamlessly integrate with MS Teams

“Conversant integrated our communications infrastructure, in the middle of both a pandemic and an aggressive acquisition strategy”

The client

FNZ partners with major financial institutions to enable them to provide wealth-management services to their clients across direct, intermediated, and workplace channels. FNZ is based in Edinburgh, UK, and has over 2,500 staff worldwide. For a firm of this stature, failsafe communications are paramount.

The story

An organisation like FNZ, which is not only global in reach but also in wealth management and investment operations technology, simply cannot afford for its voice-led communications to be anything less than exemplary. The effectiveness of their communications technology needed to stand as a reflection of the performance of the company itself.

FNZ needed to know that whether they were communicating internally, liaising with partners or receiving/making calls to clients, that they could rely on their systems, and also achieve internal efficiencies through all communications being streamlined on one platform.

“We could not afford for our voice-led communications to be anything less than exemplary”

As Nick Dunford, Head of Workplace Technology for FNZ, explained:

“FNZ provides a unique combination of wealth management technology, IT infrastructure and industrial scale back office investment operations, which are seamlessly integrated as a service operating model. We develop long-term partnerships with our customers to enable them to get to market quickly with a market-leading digital proposition. It means they can provide multi-channel, multi device wealth management services that span the entire wealth management value chain.

This being the case, if our communications are below par, it affects both the functioning and the reputation of our organisation – and prior to changing our systems to Conversant, this was the case.”

Several ailing legacy systems, all approaching their natural end-of-life

Before opening discussions with Conversant in summer 2019, FNZ was running not one but several legacy systems that were fast becoming end-of-life. Without a single, unified strategy, the company was grappling with out-of-date phone systems, hastily-introduced platforms such as Zoom, and separate messaging applications through older solutions, such as Skype for Business (SfB). Being able to scale and manage the company communications infrastructure was becoming increasingly difficult.   

“We were also in the middle of an aggressive acquisition strategy, and required newly-acquired companies to be assimilated at technology level as fast as possible,” said Dunford. “This was literally impossible using our existing infrastructure.”

Conversant therefore consulted with FNZ over the next six months, understanding their existing IT infrastructure, capturing requirements, developing a scope of works, pilot testing and making site visits to all UK locations consulting with key members of staff.

Enabling hybrid working without dropping a call

The impact of COVID-19 further highlighted significant shortfalls in the capabilities of the existing systems, as overnight, additional needs such as compliant working from home, hybrid working and location-agnostic Contact Centre services, with uninterrupted customer service, became top priority.

Because the initial consultations had already taken place, it meant that when Conversant was formally appointed, we were ready to help springboard FNZ’s solutions into action when Covid hit in early 2020. Conversant became FNZ’ technology partner for all their unified communications needs, using MS Teams as the focal point and umbrella which held all the other elements together, connecting staff working from home, and ensuring call quality as well as information sharing.

“Implementing Teams was recognised as crucial to our continued success and growth”

“We knew by the time Covid hit that Teams was the way to go, because of the cohesion and holistic approach it provides,” said Dunford. “We could use it for all internal and external calls, chats, file storage, sharing, video conferencing, archiving and more, saving considerable time moving from platform to platform, and also insuring us against downtime and service failures. It also future-proofed us, with a system that guarantees the latest technical updates and provides upgrades in terms of numbers of user licences on an on-demand basis. This, bearing in mind our rapid growth through acquisition, was crucial.”

In early 2020,Conversant delivered a holistic hybrid working and unified communications platform, using Teams, for over 1,500 users across the UK and Europe. This included:

  • PSTN Calling for Teams with Domestic and International Call Packages

  • Compliant MiFID II Call Recording – vital for the financial sector

  • Contact Centre solution – to enable full inbound and outbound call management, custom workflows, skill-based call routing and caller options, with full real-time reporting and analytics for agents, supervisors and managers

  • Managed support service

  • Teams certified devices – Wireless Headsets and IP handsets

  • Optimised licence management, tailored for growth

All services were provided from Conversant’s proprietary platform, and from our 24/7 support locations based in Bristol and Cwmbran (Wales).

Connecting over 1,500 users in lockdown: 100% uptime, migrating all numbers, services, and customer routing

The first phase of the deployment was therefore completed against a backdrop of national and international lockdowns, which forced FNZ to go completely virtual in the very early phases of migrating to the new system.

“It was a real challenge,” said Dunford. “There were 3 separate contact centre locations that needed migrating simultaneously to avoid any downtime.”

But the phone system service was not disrupted, and outsourced contracts were maintained at 100% uptime. As all FNZ offices closed, Conversant deployed all solutions in MS Teams, providing a single interface for all staff, internal and external communications.  Avaya, SfB, and Zoom were all retired. This involved porting all phone numbers, migrating services, and customer routing. 

In Phase 2, Compliant Call Recording, Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Reporting were then rolled out to selected users to provide management with full sight of all company communications, creating an environment that was compliant strict financial sector rules.

Major time savings in incorporating new companies into the fold

In the final phase, as locations came back online during 2021, a hybrid working environment was created to ensure all users could access Conversant solutions and services regardless of the location. Conversant successfully managed the provision of remote devices to home workers, ensuring complete safety for users, in tandem with the FNZ project team. Meanwhile, all FNZ’ acquisition companies have been fully assimilated into the Conversant platform with zero downtime.

“It has been an unmitigated success,” said Dunford. “Conversant’s centralised platform has significantly reduced the time it takes to incorporate new users, regardless of location.”

The package
  • Compliance recording as required by the Financial Services sector, including stop/start options for agents, transcription, translation and key word flagging.
  • A contact centre management solution deployed to handle calls to agents and provide inbound and outbound call services, including:
    • Call waiting times and numbers
    • Welcome message and forwarding/divert options
    • Place in queue
    • Call back, divert and redirect
  • Reporting and data analysis services to aid supervisors and provide management information, including:
    • Average/specific call length
    • Calls taken/missed and busy/fallow periods identified
    • Agents available/time agents spend online
  • Over 1,500 users connected across Conversant’s Unified Communications for MS Teams solution
    • Conversant Calling Plans with bundled minutes
    • New geo- and non-geo phone numbers
    • Number porting services
    • All staff issued with Teams-certified headsets and/or handsets

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