Case Studies

Upcycling telephony ensures continuity of support

McGrath Group installs modern IP telephony to replace discontinued Nortel PBX


Since its inception in 1972, The McGrath Group has grown to become one of the largest recycling and resource management businesses in the South East and is still managed by its original founders who remain hands-on executive Directors.

Today, as a multi-disciplined organisation employing over 200 people with a turnover in excess of £26 million, the company is more heavily reliant on its communication systems than ever before.

Operating across two separate sites in East London, the ability for a centrally managed reception desk to quickly locate the right member of staff is essential both in terms of providing excellent customer service and boosting staff productivity.

So when support for the company’s old Nortel BCM 400 telephone switch was discontinued by British Telecom, this was deemed to present a serious risk in terms of system failure.

The McGrath Group duly invited Ignite, with whom it had enjoyed a long-standing business relationship, to perform a detailed analysis of its telecommunications requirements before advising on an appropriate upgrade path.


If it was the questionable support policy and part availability for its old PBX that first prompted the search for a replacement, McGrath Group was nevertheless on the lookout for new functions and technologies that could deliver tangible efficiency gains and help reduce cost throughout the organisation.

Its former system did not offer DDI numbers or voicemail functionality and these were features that the business wanted to embrace in order to improve customer service levels.
With 90 per cent of inbound traffic destined for the service department, the company felt that automated call routing could be employed to reduce the workload of its reception staff and help clients to reach their desired points of contact more quickly.

With a fast, secure MPLS network already running between its two sites, the McGrath Group was also aiming to build on the very limited VoIP functionality of its previous telephone system.

The final objective was to use ISDN combined with new SIP technology to build greater redundancy into the telephony system and simplify ongoing moves and changes.


After consulting closely with its client, Ignite recommended an Avaya IP Office PBX system, together with an OAK call recording solution, running over 10 SIP channels (for outbound call routing) and 12 ISDN30 channels (for inbound call routing).

Ignite managed the provision of all lines and services, setting these up on its own billing platform. This ensures that all future moves and changes can be managed on behalf of its client and simplifies on-going administration, with all of The McGrath Group’s telecommunications services now being consolidated into one single monthly bill.

This next generation communication solution has provided the customer with an extended feature set, which includes DDI numbers, soft phone functionality via smartphone apps, voicemail to email, company-wide contact lists and hot desking.

Following the initial site surveys and preinstallation planning, 53 IP handsets were installed across two separate offices, providing seamless transfers via a state-of-the-art reception console with presence indicators.

Eileen Arnold, who assisted with the internal project management, commented: “Ignite’s engineers were amazing. They explained our options in plain English and their all-round professionalism ensured that this upgrade process was completed smoothly within the stated deadlines.

After conducting the user training, the installation took place over a weekend to ensure we encountered no downtime. But just to make sure, they stayed on site all day Monday, ready to troubleshoot any small problems.”

Business Director, Tara Donaghy, added: “By managing all of our telecoms needs, Ignite has been adding value to our business for many years. We would whole-heartedly recommend their services to others.”


The decision by the McGrath Group to invest in an Ignite telephony solution has enabled the organisation to rationalise its suppliers, embrace a modern unified communications solution with built in redundancy and future proof this investment for many years to come.

Some of the key benefits are:

  • Ignite SIP trunking for improved line management, enabling the scaling up and down of channels according to traffic. This technology also simplify any future office moves and changes.
  • Inbound/outbound routing failover.
  • Call recording helping to check back on important details, resolve disputes and assist with user training.
  • Reporting and statistics for all inbound and outbound traffic.
  • Auto attendant functionality for inbound traffic has reduced the workload on reception by up to 90 per cent.
  • DDI numbers have boosted customer service and business productivity by providing easy, direct access to key members of staff.
  • New voicemail system, which delivers messages straight to users’ inboxes in the form of an email.
  • Implementation of cost saving 03XX numbers.
  • Hot desking functionality enables staff to log in to any handset in either office and receive calls on their extension number.
  • High performance conference phone.
  • Option for directors to utilize existing static VPNs for connection from home.
  • Investment protection with Software Assurance, allowing for future system updates at no additional cost.

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