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OneUnited Bank Case Study

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Case Studies

Mitel unifies OneUnited’s voice network to improve customer service, while reducing complexity and cost

Continued acquisitions hasten need for unified

OneUnited was acquiring community banks at a rapid rate, so finding technologies that can deal with constant change was imperative.

A flexible VoIP solution that reduced costs

OneUnited planned to continue acquiring community banks, so finding a solution with modern features and scalability was a necessity. Acquired customers needed to see stronger local attention, not the impersonalized service that often results when a bigger company swallows up a smaller one.

VoIP provided the necessary flexibility, and OneUnited’s evaluation team quickly narrowed platform choices down to Mitel, Avaya, and Cisco Systems. The Mitel IP voice system is an enterprise-class voice system that delivers big-bank telephony features to even the smallest branches—and does so while reducing OneUnited’s operational costs.

“It reduced staff requirements by three full-time equivalents,” says OneUnited Bank’s chief technical officer Jim Barry. Competing platforms couldn’t touch the Mitel system in a features-per-dollar comparison, and it had the most integrated and intuitive interface. OneUnited wanted a multi-site voice network that could be managed as a single system from a single management interface, and only Mitel met this requirement. “Only Mitel truly had a single user interface,” says Barry, and other experts agree. Says Mier Communications, a leading independent testing company, “Mitel has a top-shelf management application other vendors would do well to emulate.”

Centralized control and self-service minimize staffing requirements

After about 10 hours of training on the browserbased Mitel management tool, a network administrator who had known nothing about phones was managing the entire OneUnited voice network and was able to change system configurations on demand, responding quickly to changing business needs.

Mitel’s intuitive management interface and single-system image greatly reduce management overhead and free employees up for more valuable work. “The skill level of the people we bring in to manage the network is dramatically lower,” says Barry. “We don’t need a telco guru.”

Mitel’s real-time, self-service call handling helped to further minimize IT staffing requirements. Employees don’t have to remember convoluted key combinations, or call an IT manager for help. Easy access to advanced phone features makes users more productive and reduces dependency on IT staff, reducing operational costs.

The Mitel system is based on a unique callcontrol architecture that distributes call processing across every voice switch in the network. There is no single point of failure with this approach, and high system availability. The Mitel system at least matches and potentially exceeds the 99.999 percent availability of traditional voice systems, and yet offers the efficiency and economy of plug-and-play replacement.

Tight Microsoft Outlook integration eases call control

Mitel’s seamless Outlook integration enables bank employees to communicate and collaborate more effectively. Instead of remembering or looking up phone numbers, users can dial one another by name. They also get complete control over inbound calls, ranging from simple Caller ID call screening to advanced out-of-office options that can be integrated with Outlook calendars.


Jim Barry, Chief Technical Officer
OneUnited Bank

The Mitel system includes an enterprise-class voicemail service that requires no additional hardware, consumes no ports, and supports message stores limited only by the size of the server hard disk. With Mitel’s unified messaging, OneUnited Bank’s employees can receive voicemail messages in their Outlook email inboxes, along with information about the caller so they can respond to the most important messages first.

Least-cost routing expected to save $600,000 over five years

As a geographically dispersed bank, OneUnited was eager to save on long-distance calls by using its existing IP data backbone for least-cost routing. “Mitel’s implementation of this least-cost routing is dramatically simpler than anything else I’ve seen,” says Barry. “It takes hours instead of days to configure.” OneUnited expects to save $600,000 over a five-year period from least-cost routing and elimination of local service contracts. Meanwhile, less measurable gains accrue daily as better voice communications enable employees to work more efficiently and service customers better.

Mitel enables better customer service and reduces staffing needs

Mitel’s self-service call-handling and collaboration features combine to make virtual, enterprise-wide workgroups a seamless extension of the local staff. OneUnited has numerous offices and the Mitel system provides a single phone directory and network-wide dialing across all of them. Employees in different offices can dial one another with four-digit extensions, and incoming calls can be transferred anywhere – to headquarters, a call center, or another branch – by simply dropping them with a mouse click on another extension.

Mitel’s intelligent and self-service call distribution streamlines business activities, enabling branch personnel to confer with experts residing in other branches or at headquarters at any time. This brings corporate resources closer to customers and provides a better customer experience.

Looking Forward

OneUnited is continuing with an aggressive growth-by-acquisition strategy and Mitel’s single-system view and intuitive management tools make it easy to absorb newly acquired branches into the enterprise voice network, and the distributed architecture can scale to accommodate any number of additional locations.


“We can take telephony problems off our radar screen and focus resources on other areas of our technology plan,” concludes Barry. “Mitel gives an enterprise-class voice system to midsize banks that wouldn’t otherwise be able to manage one or sustain the cost of the infrastructure."


After acquiring 12 financial institutions, OneUnited Bank inherited a disparate voice network. It was a motley collection of incompatible and obsolete phone systems combined with very expensive Centrex service, which impeded the bank’s efforts to provide quick, effective, and consistent customer service.


The Mitel IP voice system provided an enterprise-class voice system that delivers big-bank telephony features to even the smallest branches— and does so while reducing OneUnited’s operational costs.


  • Improved customer service to distributors
  • Cost savings of $600,000 over five years
  • Off-site capabilities for 80 percent of employees
  • Time savings of up to 15 seconds per call

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