About the Client
Nestled along Highway 2 in Alberta, near the halfway point between Calgary and Edmonton, is the idyllic City of Lacombe, a growing community of more than 14,000 Albertans with a burgeoning local economy that boasts a well-earned reputation as a great place to raise a family.
For the city’s nearly 200 staff, spread across numerous departments and community buildings, delivering high-quality services to its citizens in a fiscally responsible manner is core to its mission to create a community where Albertans are proud to live, work and play.
Connectivity plays a core role in the ability to provide the level of service Lacombe’s residents and businesses deserve, placing added responsibility on those municipal employees that oversee and
maintain critical IT services for the city.
For Andrew Reed, the City of Lacombe’s Manager of Computer and Information Services, the 2014 Thanksgiving weekend started out like any other. But when the city’s aging phone server began to crash on the Saturday – wiping out phone communications across the City’s entire staff – the holiday weekend’s priorities quickly changed from family and turkey to full-scale IT triage.
“Our key technician with our service provider at the time had just retired, and we hadn’t yet been connected with a replacement resource. Ultimately, they weren’t there for us when we needed them the most,” said Reed. “It was the Saturday afternoon of the long weekend and we had no support, no solution, and no time to spare.”
|“We have a significant responsibility to the citizens of our municipality. Cost is always amongst our biggest concerns, and we need to ensure that we’re smart about how we spend every dollar. Sunco has definitely provided us significant cost savings over the course of our relationship, with an unmatched level of service.”
After a chance meeting and discussion about telephony solutions with Sunco’s President at an Alberta Municipal Information Systems Association conference a few months prior, Andrew placed an urgent weekend call to Sean Schoenberger.
Sunco sprung into action, sending its top technician to Lacombe City Hall, quickly diagnosing the issue, replacing the City’s malfunctioning phone server and restoring phone services for the municipal operation within 24 hours.
That timely Thanksgiving adventure in troubleshooting would become the first step in a multi-year, meaningful relationship between the City of Lacombe and Sunco, consisting of a number of mission-critical projects including:
• Managing the city’s telecommunication billing, helping to consolidate dozens of phone lines and individual monthly statements into one single monthly invoice and payment
• Implementing redundancy services to ensure that city and police services’ IT and telecommunications are safeguarded against downtime
• Managing the transition from a Primary Rate Interface (PRI) system to a Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) enterprise phone system
• Ongoing support for the City’s critical phone infrastructure
“We like to think of ourselves as a big fish, but as a city of fewer than 15,000 often we aren’t treated as such. With Sunco we’ve always been treated like a big fish, even though we aren’t their biggest customer. We’ve been able to count on great service, great responsiveness and great support when we’ve needed them the most.”
|Crisis situation averted and phone service restored within 24 hours.
For Reed, the impact of the City of Lacombe’s relationship with Sunco today goes well beyond uninterrupted long weekends; it comes down to two things critical for any municipality – cost savings and customer service.
One of the most obvious areas of cost savings Lacombe has experienced is through bill management for the City with its Big 3 telecommunications provider, which Sunco consolidated as a service from dozens of individual bills and monthly payments into one. That managed service alone saves hours of work for Lacombe’s accounts billable team every month. Reed also notes that the move from a PRI system to an SIP enterprise phone system has resulted in significant cost savings for the municipality since implementation.
As the community continues to grow, so to will its telecommunications and IT services requirements – and Lacombe knows where they can turn when looking for everything ranging from new internet services to new buildings and connectivity to existing networks.
“If and when we need them, we know they are there to help us – while providing value at every turn,” adds Reed.