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Laura Hanssel – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Harris Theater
Experience: Over 13 years in the telecommunications field
When I first stepped into my job as Chief Financial Officer and Executive VP for the Harris Theater, I looked into upgrading our seemingly ancient landline system. We were approaching a busy holiday season and could not afford to have much downtime for installations and upgrades. In addition, we had just acquired a second office for our administrative staff, which required wiring and setups. Sometimes a deadline and necessity conjure up a perfect storm.
We had already been using Access One’s communications services when I came on board. They were the preferred vendor of our outsourced IT provider; with the current generation of VoIP technology, it seemed like a natural fit for them to also provide us with voice and communication services. Working with Jana, our personal Account Manager, our main concerns were addressed by moving our system to the cloud, which would save us extra time (for its installation) and physical space (for its clunky switchboard).
Moving to the cloud linked both locations seamlessly on state of the art touchscreen phones and reduced the need for onsite upgrades and maintenance, since cloud servers are hosted elsewhere. This gave us flexibility for growth in the future, too – if needed, we can simply request additional offsite server space. It is hard to claim something as future proof, but this comes pretty close in my opinion.
Another added benefit was Access One’s help desk, which troubleshoots most issues remotely. One of the worst things to happen for a venue business is an extended downtime, which would preclude customers from buying tickets. The remote help desk allowed for work to be ongoing while they fixed things on the other side; work did not have to stop for routine maintenance. Additionally, if we believed that a problem was bigger than we predicted, Jana was always reachable with a single phone call.
Finally, what really won me over were the upfront cost savings. As Chief Financial Officer, it made sense to consolidate our telecommunications system into one single vendor and bill. Instead of the usual disconnect most businesses have when they have one vendor fixing the hardware, another vendor troubleshooting the software, and a third vendor maintaining the line itself, Access One was an easy one stop shop. Things do not have to be overly complicated when one company is familiar with all the parts required to run it.
To sum things up, with Access One’s attention and guidance, I never doubted making our deadline, and we were able to maximize our uptime despite the new installation. Because of their professionalism and expertise, I would recommend Access One to any business looking to improve or expand their telecommunications infrastructure.