What is an Aastra 400?
An Aastra 400 is an Internet Protocol (IP) type of PABX telephone system. It offers extensive functionality and flexibility yet results in significant cost savings compared to older style telephone systems.
Welcome to today’s world of telephony which is comprised of specialised communications hardware and software plus a whole new suite of acronyms that describe it. The Aastra 400 takes advantage of VoIP, SIP and XML and has embedded UCC applications. Legal Practice Intelligence is not even going to attempt to explain the significance of all that because, quite frankly, it’s beyond us.
A brave law firm
A small law firm in the Sydney CBD has courageously plunged into this acronym filled ‘space’ with the lure of being able to do more with its telephones, including mobiles, and save a lot of money at the same time. Robinson Legal became the first legal practice in Australia to adopt the Aastra 400 IP telephony solution. We are very fortunate to be able to learn about the firm’s experience to date.
Robinson Legal is a 30 year established boutique legal practice in the Sydney CBD specialising in commercial law, property and commercial litigation. When it became free of a costly long term contract with a legacy telephone system, the firm was not weak at the knees about adopting new technology in the form of a new product.
Managing partner of Robinson Legal, Dominique Robinson, said prior to the introduction of the Aastra 400 system, the firm was spending more than $36,000 annually in rental, line and call charges yet the firm’s phones were only being used to take, make and transfer calls.
Benefits achieved by Robinson Legal
With the Aastra 400, incoming calls can be manually or automatically forwarded to a lawyer’s mobile or home phone. The firm’s clients can use one phone number and don’t need to worry about where their lawyer is physically located. Yes, you could do similar things with some of the older style telehone systems but usually at a budget wrecking cost.
The firm also acquired the Aastra Mobile Client which turns mobile phones into an extension of the telephone system. If an office phone extension rings and isn’t answered then the mobile phone starts ringing. This is not strictly call forwarding because the landline and mobile are called in tandem. With this set-up, the firm’s clients do not need to know a lawyer’s mobile number.
Robinson Legal has integrated all its voice traffic, e-mail, text and faxes, as well as iPhone, Blackberry and Windows mobile devices used by staff.
The Aastra solution included integrated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and email notification of voicemail messages that promoted strong client and colleague responsiveness. Team work has been further enhanced with group voicemail boxes, instant messaging (IM), presence management and conference call capabilities that are all standard.
The solution was tailored to include the integration of its existing SoftLog cost recovery system.
Who is Aastra and why is the Aastra 400 significant to small law firms?
Founded in Canada in 1983, Aastra is now a public company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange with annual revenues in the vicinity of $700 million. In 2008 it acquired Ericsson’s Enterprise Communications division. In Australia, Aastra products have been implemented by large businesses and government departments.
The Aastra 400 is a new product, created specifically for small to medium sized businesses. It was launched in Europe some months before becoming available in Australia. In August 2011, Robinson Legal became the first legal practice to implement it in Australia.
Passes the tantrum test
Venessa Gallagher of Robinson Legal told Legal Practice Intelligence that they found the system to be user friendly and haven’t had any major hiccups with it; nor have there been any tantrums by anybody feeling challenged by it. It has been a smooth transition.
Aastra has been dealing directly with Robinson Legal. The Aastra 400 will soon be handled by Aastra’s network of resellers and integrators across Australia and New Zealand.
Based on Robinson Legal’s experience to date, the Aastra 400 looks like it has an excellent chance of being selected by many more law firms across Australia and New Zealand.
For further information, visit www.aastra.com.au