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State Upgrades to Sakon for Unified Communications

When a State government client wanted to cut the cord on its outdated – and expensive – legacy PBX system, it turned to a large IT vendor for help. When that large IT vendor needed help supporting the new VoIP system it was implementing with a billing platform that could keep pace with the complexities of rebilling, chargebacks, inventory tracking, dispute management, and reporting – in an environment marked by 100+ agencies, millions of calls, and multiple vendors – it turned to Sakon.

Now the State client not only enjoys the cost-savings and performance advantages of a 21st-century IP-based voice communications system, but also the benefits of an elegant, accurate and user-friendly billing platform to match.

[Download a PDF of this case study]

Migrations can be messy.

Not with Sakon. Helping a client successfully migrate from one voice system to another is not just a technological challenge, it’s a logistical one, too, with many moving parts. This State client was no exception.

As the new system was being rolled out site by site across the state, the old one still needed to be supported. The migration’s scale – encompassing no less than 112 agencies – and the number of vendors involved – the IT outsourcer managing the project, the VOIP system provider, and the voice-services carrier, each with their own invoices and rates – heightened the challenge further.

Fortunately, Sakon thrives on complexity.

First, the Sakon Platform catalogued the State’s existing voice inventory, managing and tracking all move, add, change, and delete (MACD) orders throughout the upgrade, so business as usual could be maintained, and even improved upon.

Second, through the power of its Synkronize™ Engine (see Synkronize diagram), Sakon quickly established itself as the system of record for the entire communications ecosystem, not only providing visibility into every piece of communications inventory, old and new, but also acting as the new system’s rebilling Platform. As a result, the State gained something it never had before – accurate communications invoices generated on an agency-byagency, department-by-department level. This precision delivery included built-in dispute-management capabilities to drive savings and an elegant workflow to mask the system’s multi-vendor complexity.

With Sakon, 62 agencies (and counting) are up and running with a single billing platform.

Your Bill Your Way

Before Sakon, the State received two big monthly invoices, one from each of its carriers. All the hard work of a) matching call activity to particular agencies, divisions, and cost centers, b) assigning chargebacks and general ledger (GL) codes, c) creating and managing payment files, and d) dispute management was left to the individual agencies and their staffs and involved using multiple platforms – an inefficient and error-prone process.

Now, with Sakon, 62 agencies (and counting) are up and running with a single billing platform, a single system of record that takes the monthly carrier and IP-platform vendor invoices, matches them with current inventory and service agreements for accuracy – flagging errors upstream before they reach the client – and automatically converts them to the master billing rate. In addition, the system categorizes each charge, presenting call detail reports (CDRs), usage charges, and one-time charges.

Then through the extensive mapping and automated workflow within the system, Sakon routes the appropriate invoices to the specific agency, departments and cost centers from which the call or service activity emanated for a simple, systemdirected approval process. A billing coordinator at each agency, backed by a team of reviewers, accesses invoices for each department through the Sakon portal and can drill down to review a single line item on a single bill to initiate a dispute for Sakon to resolve, or zoom out to a divisional or agency view to track expenses at the macro level.

This ability to “see it all” – from the macro to the granular – is supplemented by the system’s ability to “act on it all” through custom reporting, helping agency and departmental staff monitor and manage their communications-spend more agilely, with more precision, and in the format they need.

The Right Call

Site by site, the State is closing in on completing its migration. Every agency is on track to be live with the new system by the end of 2018, and the benefits keep accruing. Voice-communications costs are down more than 50%, productivity is up, and satisfaction with the new system is high, with more resources being freed up to focus on what matters most – serving the needs of the State’s citizens.

The Sakon Difference

Part inventory. Part engine. All brains.

Sakon’s Synkronize engine brings together in one place all of the scattered, disparate elements of your global IT infrastructure, normalizes them, and makes them easy to manage – and transform.

Unifies

Links source data and transaction data from network and mobile service providers, as well as HR and location information, then unifies it with service, logistics and operations desks.

Organizes

Organizes, cleanses and normalizes information across geographies, carriers and currencies.

Connects

Using secure, open APIs, connects the data to purpose-built applications and a global network of help desk partners to coordinate actions and provide visibility across systems.

Verifies

Applies the industry’s only proven and effective three-way match to compare assets, contracts and actual costs to drive out waste.