Haseltine Lake Kempner (HLK) was created in 2019 when two of Europe’s leading specialist intellectual property firms merged. Between the previous firms, HLK has 180 years of combined history, experience and expertise in intellectual property matters. They have offices in London, Bristol, Leeds, Glasgow, Munich, The Netherlands and Guangzhou, China.
HLK was looking for a local IT supplier who understood both traditional analogue telephony and new technology. They had experienced issues with analogue providers in the past and wanted a single IT provider with expertise in integrated voice solutions.
Blackstar Solutions (Blackstar) were a logical choice as they work closely with clients to understand their telephony requirements and provide an extensive range of options, regardless of business size or location.
HLK was already embedded in Microsoft Teams, using it as a fundamental part of their business communications process. Blackstar suggested that it would be logical to use Teams for voice as well, resulting in fewer apps on employees’ desktops and no need for physical phones, just headsets.
Discussions were ongoing throughout 2019 and by the summer, on Blackstar’s advice, HLK decided to deploy Microsoft Teams for their telephony services. Plans were put in place to lay the foundations between August and December, followed by internal testing. Blackstar deployed a successful pilot migration at the Leeds site, then shortly afterwards, HLK decided to roll out Teams across their entire user base.
“To enable voice services over Teams, I wanted to work with a flexible partner who understood SIP, porting and call routing. Blackstar’s approach was very professional and they filled me with confidence from the outset. They were willing to listen to all of our ideas and encouraged the use of Teams for voice.”
There are two ways to route voice services into Teams: either Microsoft Calling Plan (as SIP bundled packages) or a Direct Routing Service, the option chosen by HLK. Direct Routing enables calling within the Microsoft Teams app to support HLK’s workforce wherever they are. It is also a cost-effective alternative to Microsoft Calling Plans.
After a successful pilot, the migration of HLK’s telephone numbers began in January 2020 when Blackstar started to port all of their telephone numbers from ISDN to SIP.
With early signs of Covid-19 in late January 2020, Blackstar accelerated the rollout to all users as soon as possible, but well in advance of the ‘panic’. HLK’s employees were already working remotely and had been issued with laptops and USB headsets, well before the full force of the pandemic hit, so they were in a good place for business continuity and seamless working practices.
Blackstar also provided internet connectivity through their private hosting environment which gives HLK the reliability and speed they need.
HLK’s mobile phones are also supported by Blackstar for the 50 employees who need them and they also benefit from using the mobile Teams app. HLK put their trust in Blackstar to rely on them for additional support services.
With Direct Routing, HLK is enjoying significant cost savings per user when compared to Microsoft Calling Plans or call plans on their previous systems.
HLK still have full phone system capabilities and benefit from a truly unified communications experience. Work is no longer tied down to the office and HLK’s employees have been empowered to work from anywhere, on any device. It has cut down on travel time and encourages greater staff collaboration and productivity.
The Munich office now use Teams Unified Comms, with local in-country SIP provided by Blackstar, so they benefit from no international call charges, just bundled calls included.
Paul Targett said,
“The technical team at Blackstar are fantastic. They have gone above and beyond, helping us with out of hours issues when they didn’t have to. Our voice services, mobile devices and internet connectivity are all supported by Blackstar, which makes management so much easier now it is all ‘under one roof’. They are always so helpful and receptive: I cannot fault the service we have received from Blackstar and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.”
Elliot Mace, Sales Director at Blackstar Solutions, commented,
“It has been a pleasure helping HLK transition to Teams for their voice requirements. They were lucky enough to have been forward-thinking in terms of remote working and flexibility prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in business as usual operations throughout the whole of 2020, with no disruption to business communications.”
HLK is planning SIP trunking for other global locations. Blackstar’s international SIP trunks provide global coverage for customers that operate internationally.
Blackstar currently manages HLK’s video technology and HLK have turned to them for advice when looking to implement a new videoconferencing solution in the future. Blackstar will continue to support any new video solution, a reflection of their excellent service delivery.
Contact us of a free discovery session. In the session, we’ll advise how we can either replace your phone system with Microsoft Teams or integrate it into your existing system.
Contact us here.