School Sisters of St. Francis

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School Sisters of St. Francis

Driving Spiritual Direction and Operational Efficiency Through Technology

The School Sisters of St. Francis have been operating continually in the United States since their first three sisters pronounced their first vows in 1914. Their multiple ministries include a retreat center for prayer and healing, a community garden to help serve the poor, and a center of prayer and education.

Since the merger of two separate provinces, one in Western Pennsylvania and one in Eastern Pennsylvania, the combined United States province was running disparate telecommunications infrastructure with a gallimaufry of equipment and providers. HLV Technologies and its predecessor companies have had a relationship with the legacy Bethlehem province (based in Hanover Township) since 2003, and were up to the challenge of unifying the telecom landscape, starting with these two sites.

The existing SIP trunk provider at the Hanover Township was used for the buildout of the new environment, which we built on 3CX Communications Server. The software-only nature of the communications server software have allowed us to use their existing virtualization environment at the Hanover Township location, and provides us the ability to port to the Cloud when necessary to scale to a larger environment.

Due to the multi-facility nature of the existing on-premise NEC telephone systems at the Hanover Township facility, our team was able to unify the three separate phone systems into a single communications platform, allowing internal four-digit dialing across the multiple buildings, as well as the ability to perform key call handling features from building to building.

When the business offices of the legacy Pittsburgh province moved from Bellevue Borough to Ross Township, the HLV and School Sisters team took a long look at the providers being utilized for voice and data services, and opted to bring the new office in Ross Township into the fold, operating just as they would in the Hanover Township locations.

As a result of this consolidation, the capital expenditure of building a communications server in the Ross Township location was rendered unnecessary, and the only capital expenditures were the purchases of the physical desk phones and a remote office controller, which ensures a secure link from the branch office to the communications server. Further, the expensive telephone bill for Bellevue was essentially eliminated by porting the telephone numbers to the communications server in Hanover Township.

On the day of the move, HLV’s team worked with the established local IT vendor, who assisted in the unboxing and setup of the phones, as well as providing testing assistance. Once online and tested, the Ross Township office operates just as if they were in the same building as the Hanover Township team.

Future state infrastructure may include the consolidation of telephone service at mission homes, and scaling out to additional US and global operations. These efforts will provide a unified experience for the team, drive down operational expenses by putting all locations in a single telecom account, and simplify account management by providing a single pane of glass for both the sisters and for HLV.

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