ChallengeScalability was critical as the agency expanded and phone installations or relocations required in-person, on-site support - telephone systems and support costs were mounting
SolutionVonage Business Communications
ResultsSince switching to Vonage, LAYC is able to manage their telephony system themselves, adding and relocating phones with ease. The organisation has seen savings because they no longer need costly on-prem service help and because of the flat, monthly rate that Vonage offers
Founded in Washington, D.C., in the late 1960s, the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) has grown into a nationally recognised agency serving low-income youth. The organisation’s staff of 200 employees and volunteers support over 5,000 youth (ages 14 - 24) and families annually through youth centres, school-based sites and public charter schools in the District of Columbia and Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.
Jose Diaz, LAYC’s IT director who has been with the organisation for over 20 years, explained that the agency has gone far beyond offering basic social services. According to Diaz, LAYC has founded multiple public charter schools such as Latin American Montessori Bilingual (LAMB), YouthBuild, a hands-on, skill training school that teaches practical vocational skills, and a Next Step charter school that provides GED classes primarily for immigrants to the US who are not yet fluent in English.
“We also founded Career Academy, which focuses on certifying young people as technology and medical assistants,” said Diaz. “Students also can achieve IT certifications there, from A Plus to Network Plus.”
Today, LAYC has four primary sites and dozens of service points through partner schools and organisations. The organisation’s guiding principle is “a vision for a future where all youth pursue their dreams, reach their goals and acquire the skills and self-confidence to live a life of purpose, connection, contribution and joy.”
Switching to Vonage Business Communications for better quality and better value
For many years, LAYC had been using on-prem, analogue lines for telephone and fax services. The system was clunky, costly and difficult to scale as the agency expanded its reach. “If we wanted to add a new phone, a person from the provider would have to physically come out to us, single out the line by going into the telephone closet, see if that line is activated, and so forth,” said Diaz. “Then we would have to pay for that person, minimum two hours, to do the work.”
The telephone system and support costs were mounting. Every time a new employee came on board or existing staff turned over, LAYC had to get new lines or transfer older lines, which meant someone had to come to their office to do that work. Diaz looked into the benefits of using a cloud-based, IP telephony system and LAYC reviewed a variety of options and companies that offered cloud solutions. They ultimately chose Vonage Business Communications (VBC).
“We saw a lot of companies and we read a lot of reviews about IP phone technologies and Vonage seemed to tick all of the boxes we needed,” said Diaz. “Being able to manage the system ourselves — to just grab a phone and take it anywhere, to easily change info like who’s going to use it. The Vonage system gave us the control that we were looking for. We don’t have to call our provider every time we need something now.”
Diaz also cited that the pricing Vonage offered was very attractive. “Before Vonage, we were paying too much for the service that we were getting. Now we have new technology and better pricing. With our last provider, the costs were all over the map. We’d go to their portal to review the billing and one month it went up, the next was down, and there were all of these charges that were confusing. With Vonage, it’s a flat rate each month for the 90 lines we are using, and we like that. We’ve definitely noticed the savings we’re getting with Vonage.”
The flexibility to work from anywhere using VBC
Another significant benefit LAYC has seen from switching to VBC is that their staff can work from home — or anywhere — with the VBC mobile app. At no additional cost, LAYC staff have the capability to use both a desktop app and a mobile app to initiate and receive phone calls. This was particularly valuable to LAYC when they needed to close their physical offices during COVID-19.
“The pandemic hit us, but no one missed any calls because the app on their phone is connected to the system. When a person’s office phone rings, it automatically gets directed to their mobile phone, so we’ve been able to conduct business without any problem. That is a huge blessing,” said Diaz.
Set it and forget it
Diaz is extremely happy with the ease the VBC system offers and the fact that LAYC doesn’t need to rely on Vonage for help. “In the two years we’ve been using Vonage, I think I’ve only had to call in once,” said Diaz. “They answered quickly and the technician was able to give me the help I needed right away.
“I'm happy with Vonage because they make it so simple to implement their phone system and, once it's implemented, you just set it up and then forget it. Everything works seamlessly. I’m really happy that we have this system.”