How UK charity Dimensions is using tech to help those with autism

GCI has deployed Skype for Business and Teams across 750 sites for UK charity

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 24 August 2018
How UK charity Dimensions is using tech to help those with autism

This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of The Record. 

UK-based not-for-profit organisation Dimensions is geared towards helping those with learning disabilities, autism, challenging behaviour and complex needs. With over 7,000 members of staff supporting people and their families across 750 sites, Dimensions plays an active part in helping communities UK-wide.

The huge challenge of supplying IT and network services to 750 sites across the UK was catching up with Dimensions’ ageing network infrastructure. With slow and sluggish bandwidth, the network was becoming insufficient. Legacy systems and poor network infrastructure were negatively impacting the support it could offer to those under its care, as well as the efficiency of its staff.

ICT company GCI stepped in to provide the help that was required. GCI upgraded Dimensions’ network infrastructure and deployed 1,750 Skype for Business seats which run fully from the cloud. This was further enhanced by the deployment of 80 Enghouse contact centre seats, wall boards and integrated operator consoles at all regional centres, delivering an omnichannel solution that is fully integrated with Skype for Business.

Dimensions now has a robust network infrastructure with high-speed connectivity, with staff reporting that line speeds are already 100 times faster. Its omnichannel unified communications solution and fully scalable contact centre allows the company to deliver a more streamlined customer experience.

An unexpected cost-saving benefit was that, by using Skype for Business to deliver its training, Dimensions has reduced the amount spent on this crucial task by two thirds. Additionally, the use of Microsoft Teams to upload and update complex documents such as care plans means that staff members can fill in these forms in their own language, with Teams translating questions and answers as necessary to help avoid mistakes. Best of all for Dimensions, by consolidating all its suppliers and selecting GCI to manage all its services, multiple challenges could be addressed at once whilst striving for maximum cost efficiencies, safe in the knowledge that the company is supported around the clock.

“This was no ordinary tender; we provided an exhaustive brief, containing 72,000-line items across 750 sites,” explains Mark Verrier, head of IT at Dimensions. “We didn’t want to have ‘suppliers’ anymore – of which there were over 40 – and instead wanted to work with just one partner that would truly understand our needs, culture and desired outcomes. GCI were the only company that we considered able to demonstrate this, and we felt that GCI wanted to do a good job for us, rather than just make money.”

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