A TierOne Case Study: Integrity Home Care + Hospice
TierOne was formed with the goal of delivering an unparalleled customer experience within the often frustrating telecom industry. Since 2014, we’ve been connecting clients with transparent pricing, better solutions, and long-lasting support. But, don’t just take our word for it. Integrity Home Care + Hospice teamed up with TierOne for a system overhaul in 2020 and uncovered even more value in the process.
Integrity Home Care + Hospice is a Springfield, Missouri–based company passionately dedicated to improving the health care system. The 1,100-person business specializes in private and in-home care, consumer-directed services, home health, and hospice services.
Because of the company’s service-centric mission, every interaction with Integrity is personal, down to the very first call. “These days, it’s really uncommon to call the front desk and actually get a person,” says Nathan Barnes, Chief Administrative Officer at Integrity. “If you call our front desk, you get a really short menu of options, and then you speak to the operator. We want our service to be very personal. It’s part of who we are and what we do.”
“We want our service to be very personal. It’s part of who we are and what we do.” — Nathan Barnes, Chief Administrative Officer, Integrity Home Care + Hospice
As Chief Administrative Officer, Barnes oversees HR, marketing, and the company’s nine-person IT team. When he assumed the role three years ago, one of his main responsibilities was balancing core tenants of the brand’s identity — like warm, personal service — with efficiency and progress.
For a home health care company, naturally, security is paramount. “As you can imagine, patient data is what we do, so it is of utmost importance to us to make sure that’s secure,” Barnes says. However, additional priorities for the company’s telecom ecosystem include a contact center system to accommodate the high call volume flowing into Integrity’s eight physical locations, and extended bandwidth and flexibility to support an increasingly mobile team.
“The nature of the business is people can work from anywhere,” Barnes says. “They can work remotely, or they may go from Lebanon to Springfield or Joplin.” In 2019, the company had begun converting to an SD-WAN model, VoIP phone system, and laptops to facilitate travel to clients’ homes and between offices.
However, implementing and supporting solutions that met those priorities had become a challenge for the IT department. “There are always three main levers when it comes to technology: there are people, there are products or solutions, and then there are processes,” Barnes says. “All three of those levers were being challenged when I came in.”
“My motto was that we were looking for solutions that were better, faster, and cheaper — and we knew it was out there.”
“My motto was that we were looking for solutions that were better, faster, and cheaper — and we knew it was out there,” Barnes says.
In early 2020, Barnes connected with the TierOne team, who walked him through their signature Inventory Analytics process to evaluate Integrity’s current telecom environment. Through this free exploratory process, TierOne sifted through invoices and contracts to audit every circuit, term length, and expense, giving Integrity a transparent view into its entire telecommunications ecosystem.
Through a collaborative strategy, the TierOne team worked alongside Barnes to identify Integrity’s main goals for its solutions, including delivering better circuits, handling a higher call volume, and upgrading the company’s phone system top to bottom. From there, TierOne assembled a proposed new environment for every location, outlining streamlined solutions and costs.
In Integrity’s Inventory Analytics report, TierOne’s new solutions saved the company 51% in monthly costs. “It was actually a little bit unbelievable when we first saw it,” Barnes says. “I said, ‘Where’s the hidden cost? I don’t understand.’ That’s how the conversation started.”
“I took one of the new phones to our president and said, ‘I’m going to save you 51% each month, and everyone in the company gets one of these.’ He said, ‘Where do I sign?’”
TierOne’s new solutions addressed Integrity’s core pain points with its previous environment. “We were experiencing issues with the time it took to move, open, or shut down an office; we didn’t have a backup solution at some of the offices; and the third issue was definitely the cost,” Barnes says. Transitioning to one consistent Mitel VoIP, UCaaS, and CCaaS solution across all Integrity locations streamlined communication, and additional fiber connections increased speed and security.
“It was easy to sell,” Barnes says. Integrity’s previous phone hardware didn’t include displays or headsets, and the company had four or five different models for different roles and positions. Through the new Mitel solution, every person in the company upgraded to brand-new hardware. “I took one of the new phones to our president, I set it on his desk and said, ‘I’m going to ask for your approval, but I know what your answer is going to be. I’m going to save you 51% each month, and everyone in the company gets one of these,’” Barnes says. “He said, ‘Where do I sign?’”
By early spring 2020, the Integrity team was ready to convert to their new solutions. “I made a judgment call,” Barnes says. “At the time, Mitel didn’t advise the approach we took, but after we did it, I think it was the smartest thing we could have done. We decided to go live all at once.”
That meant converting over a thousand employees across two states to an entirely new platform supported by nine IT people — all in one day. “We called it the Big Bang,” Barnes says. The alternative, a phased approach, would have kept two systems live simultaneously and required a gradual transition from Integrity’s centralized call management group, complicating the handover and impacting the overall acceptance rate from end-users.
With upfront planning from TierOne and Mitel, the Integrity team brought on its IT and operations teams to make the conversion on April 12, 2020. “Mitel told us it was one of the most complex migrations that they had ever done,” Barnes says. Throughout the process, the Integrity team trained via video calls and virtual chats on Microsoft Teams. “The observation we made was that we really haven’t missed a beat,” Barnes says.
Mitel and TierOne were available through regularly scheduled calls and were able to immediately resolve tickets with live support, which continued long past the conversion. Every solution TierOne offers includes access to an in-house support team to serve as an extension of existing IT teams. By outsourcing tickets and troubleshooting to TierOne, Integrity’s IT department could shift their focus to enabling business and innovating.
“I’ve worked in IT for 30-plus years, and I’ve learned that you need to have the right business partners to keep checking and pursuing the best technology for the best price.”
After 10 months on the new system, Barnes and the Integrity team are seeing results. On top of the dramatic monthly savings, workers can stay connected even through COVID-19-related shifts to remote work. Even office transitions have become easier. “When I first came in, we had offices that were moving or transitioning, and every time we had to do a technology move, it took 120 days to move a site,” Barnes says. “Now we can get an office live with data and phone in right around 30 days. In some cases, we’ve even gotten that down to a couple of weeks.”
If Barnes has taken anything away from his experience, it’s to stay vigilant. “I’ve worked in IT for 30-plus years, and I’ve learned that you need to have the right business partners to keep checking and pursuing the best technology for the best price,” he says. After seeing and experiencing the dramatic savings and system improvements outlined in TierOne’s Inventory Analytics study, Barnes is a believer. “If you can get a better, faster, cheaper solution that allows you to enable the business to do what it needs to do, you owe it to the company and the people you support to do an Inventory Analytics study and at least evaluate the ROI,” he says.