Northern Health School

"The team at New Era have been very good in delivering what they promise. Their skills with Microsoft are impressive and they are always proactive with support."

Richard Winder
Principal - Northern Health School

The Challenge

Northern Health School New Zealand caters for hundreds of home/community- and hospital-based year 0-13 students with high health needs and offers students a variety of modes of service delivery. Teaching is provided through student support centres, hospital ward and classroom support, on-line learning and community home visits.

With 17 regional offices and more than 120 full- and part-time staff, it relies heavily on voice and data communications to coordinate their activities. They had employed a PBX (private branch exchange) that supported voice, FAX and internet access amongst their regional offices. However, as NHS expanded their services and footprint around the country, their telecommunications requirements became more complex.

“We knew we needed to upgrade,” Principal Richard Winder explained “Our PBX system was becoming dated and we wanted to be able to take advantage of the collaboration tools that a digital system would provide."

Our Solution

New Era suggested implementing a fibre-based wide area network as the backbone and Microsoft Lync as their unified communications platform. New Era’s implementation progressed in tandem with NHS’s roll out of their wide area network (WAN). “We worked closely with Spark New Zealand as they linked the regional offices with fibre,” notes Tony Gilbert, Education and Client Services Manager at New Era. “The first step was to install Lync Server 2013 at their Auckland headquarters and then connect the various regional offices as the WAN was implemented. Some of the NHS units are based at hospitals so we had to adjust for their firewalls and security protocols which provided a few challenges, but by and large the entire project progressed very smoothly.”

“Staff training was fast-tracked by the unexpected demise of our PBX partway through the roll-out,” says Principal Winder. “New Era took it all in stride and provided immediate hands-on training for both administrators and instructors as required.

“Microsoft Lync has helped us reduce telecommunications costs by 40% and is making huge improvements in the way we communicate amongst ourselves and students. Microsoft Lync has been a game changer for us.”