Lohia Corp Rings Up Efficiency With Cloud Telephony

With next-generation voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services, the company’s CIO, Jagdip Kumar, has slashed new office setup time from months to just days.
Key Learnings
  • The resiliency of the wide area network (WAN) connection should be sufficient to provide high availability of telephony services. Even with a redundant architecture, the WAN connection must be reliable.
  •  The WAN is usually shared with other data. The appropriate quality of service (QoS) service mechanisms should be in place to prioritise voice packets over the WAN.

The Challenge

Lohia Corp Limited has been providing advanced solutions to the woven plastics flexible packaging industry in over 90 countries for more than four decades. The fabric produced is used in many applications such as bags for cement, fertiliser, food grains, jumbo bags, ventilated bags and many more. The global footprint of the company is serviced by subsidiaries/associates in the USA, Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and UAE, supported by sales agents in all major woven sacks-producing countries.

The company, with eight manufacturing units (six in India and one each in the US and Italy) and 1200 employees, faced several communication and collaboration challenges that hindered its operational efficiency.

Traditionally, call processing was performed by conventional private branch exchanges (PBX). These required a physical wire connecting the PBX to the individual phones. The wires could only be run for a limited distance, so the phones and the PBX had to be in the same general locality, in the same building, or at most, within the same campus. This meant that any remote sites would require their own PBX to deliver call control to its local telephones.

The company’s legacy analog PBXs, therefore, operated in silos, unable to communicate seamlessly across its multiple sites, creating communication barriers and hampering collaboration.

“The current PBX system was experiencing several issues, including being at the end of its life cycle with no spare parts available, which led to capacity exhaustion for landline connections in the company’s office at Panki and wireless (DECT) lines in the Chaubepur facility. Additionally, replacement handsets for wireless and desk phones were not currently available. The existing infrastructure struggled to support a remote work environment, impacting employee productivity,” says Jagdip Kumar, CIO, Lohia Corp.

The existing communication setup was not optimised for employees on business travel, leading to connectivity disruptions. Maintaining and upgrading the traditional on-premises PBX systems also demanded substantial upfront and maintenance expenses, putting a strain on the company’s resources.

Upgrading to a State-of-the-Art Communication Solution

To address these challenges, Lohia Corp decided to implement a cloud telephony solution. The company partnered with Proactive Data Systems to implement Cisco’s Webex Cloud Calling. The deployment of Webex Calling, along with multi-platform firmware (MPP) phones and local gateways, aimed to create a unified communication infrastructure across the organisation.

It took four months for delivery to happen from Cisco and another two months to roll it out. The project went live in November 2023.

Ringing up the Benefits

The implementation of Webex Cloud Calling at Lohia Corp Limited transformed the company’s communication and collaboration capabilities. The solution leverages modern session initiation protocol (SIP) technology instead of traditional primary rate interface (PRI), providing access to the latest telephony capabilities.

“Following the successful implementation of Webex, the transformation was evident. Our collaboration and connectivity significantly enhanced our operational efficiency. Remote work scenarios are now supported seamlessly, and our mobile workforce stays connected effortlessly, boosting productivity,” says Kumar.

With VoIP, the telephony endpoints no longer have to be in the same physical area as the IP PBX. All they need is network connectivity to the call-processing device, which can be provided almost anywhere in the world. Centralised call processing for a multisite telephony deployment means the call processing intelligence is provided at one central site and all telephony endpoints, whether physically located at the same site or a remote site, register to this central IP PBX. VoIP technology makes this setup possible.

“The centralised solution has increased user mobility and employees can now access the PBX system while travelling, at home, or in the office, providing greater flexibility and productivity,” Kumar says.

Lohia Corp was already using Teams and Kumar integrated it with Webex for better navigation.

“The integration of Webex Teams further enhanced the company’s collaboration capabilities, allowing for seamless information sharing, document collaboration, and virtual meetings. This integration streamlined workflows and enabled teams to work together efficiently, regardless of their physical location,” he says.

IBRS states while some enterprises, especially those in a hybrid environment, have retained their cloud-based telephony system alongside Teams to offer more flexibility for users who need to switch between suitable communication channels based on their tasks, a growing number of enterprises have already tapped Teams as its all-in-one telephony solution required to replace regressive PBX facilities. It can place or transfer calls, set up call flows, and manage call queues. To complement these capabilities, some vendors are also offering failsafe option features should there be unexpected network disruptions or outages. An effective unified communications (UC) setup for enterprises must, therefore, be based on its needs and capabilities. Adopting Teams’ functionalities depends on its applicability to business requirements.

Substantial cost savings have also been achieved. The cloud-based approach has led to significant savings in operating expenses, as there is no need to maintain an on-premises PBX server. Further cost reductions have happened owing to optimised communication, as calling between the head office and branches can now be done through the internal network.

The cloud-based system simplifies administration, as the Webex Cloud platform can manage patches and upgrades for the devices.

New desk phones can be deployed more quickly, and setting up a new site in India or abroad is easier.

“Setting up communication for a new site used to take two months, involving physical line application, configuration, and bridging, but with cloud telephony, it can be done in two to three days with only an internet connection required,” says Kumar.

While the benefits of cloud telephony are many and well-established, IBRS adds a bit of caution for CIOs. Organisations are grappling with how to balance the new collaboration capabilities that come with Teams and the new approaches to communications,against the need for robust security and information compliance policies. As organisational structures and human resource policies may not always align with the new collaboration capabilities, creating further challenges in implementing these solutions effectively, IBRS recommends that there need to be comprehensive strategies for deploying such, including reviewing and updating information governance and staff digital literacy.

Gearing Up for the Next Phase

Having successfully deployed Webex Cloud Calling, Lohia Corp Limited is now exploring the next steps to leverage Webex’s capabilities further. The company is considering integrating advanced analytics and exploring additional features to enhance its operational efficiencies and drive continued success.

CIO Insights

“Setting up communication for a new site used to take two months, involving physical line application, configuration, and bridging, but with cloud telephony, it can be done in just two to three days with only an internet connection required.” 

  • Jagdip Kumar, CIO, Lohia Corp

Additional Reading

Company Details

Jagdip Kumar

With over 25 years of experience as a seasoned technology leader, Jagdip specialises in spearheading digital transformation initiatives that seamlessly integrate technology with business objectives. 

Company Name: Lohia Corp

Vertical: Manufacturing

Total employees: 1200

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