« Yodel needed a trusted, specialist IT partner to deliver an efficient and reliable telephony system »

Yodel delivers millions of parcels every week to every postcode across the UK. It has 50 sites nationwide, as well as partnerships to deliver across the Republic of Ireland and the Channel Isles. In total, Yodel employs 10,000 people year-round and up to 12,000 during peak delivery seasons – the majority of which are couriers, out on the road, making important deliveries to homes and businesses. That’s why Yodel needs a trusted, specialist IT partner to deliver an efficient and reliable telephony system. This will ensure its fast-moving operation works efficiently and its people stay connected.

With its existing telephony system reaching end of life Yodel were looking to improve both the technology and support. The business spoke with several potential partners before awarding the major project to SCC Collaboration. SCC Collaboration and Yodel have an existing, long-established partnership for IT services. It was a natural fit for SCC Collaboration to extend its delivery to include critical telephony across Yodel’s business.

The telephony project became even more vital to Yodel’s operation when the UK was plunged into its first national COVID-19 lockdown. With enforced homeworking and highstreets closed for business, residential deliveries saw a significant increase in volume. Capable of scaling its operation to meet the increased demand, Yodel needed a dependable telephony system to maintain its high standards. This was even more crucial as Yodel entered the Christmas period, the busiest time of year for parcel courier and delivery businesses.

Yodel had been planning its telephony upgrade for some time, predating COVID-19. The pandemic accelerated the project, with SCC Collaboration awarded the contract in September 2020 and completing delivery the following month. SCC Collaboration worked closely with Yodel’s internal IT team and planned the upgrade meticulously. Many changes were made overnight and at weekends to minimise business disruption.

“It all ran like clockwork and that’s down to the careful planning and great communication between SCC Collaboration and Yodel.”

Ashraf Adil, Director of DevOps & IT Operations at Yodel, said: “Trying to deliver a major IT upgrade out of business hours in an organisation which operates 24/7 is a challenge. We worked with SCC Collaboration to ensure detailed preparation was carried out, enabling successful changes to be made within a very limited time window.

“We had been planning an upgrade to Call Manager since before COVID-19 but the increased volume across our network presented an opportunity for us to deliver our most successful peak period ever during Christmas 2020. It was critical to get maximum value from the project to ensure the very best experience for our technology enabled end users. This will enable them do the best job they can during this difficult period.”

With forward panning crucial to a successful upgrade, SCC Collaboration held several workshops with Yodel. These workshops helped put in place the appropriate resource and integrate project management teams from both organisations. Together, SCC Collaboration and Yodel drew up a schedule to identify non-disruptive work that could be carried out during working hours. The teams then selected appropriate change windows for service upgrades that needed to be implemented during business hours.

Ashraf Adil continued: “Once our change windows were opened, we had to begin work immediately and bring the service back, working, on time. SCC Collaboration helped us plan for this and were incredibly accommodating in supporting out of hours work to ensure minimal disruption. It all ran like clockwork and that’s down to the careful planning and great communication between SCC Collaboration and Yodel.

“Communication was key to the success of the project, with SCC Collaboration taking a consultative approach from the start. We had a very good understanding of our own system to begin with and SCC Collaboration were able to add knowledge about the technology as a whole. We worked together to understand what could be achieved and keeping that communication going is what made the project a success.

“Sometimes with technology, you don’t want your users to notice the change. In this case, we wanted complete silence and, since completing the upgrade, we’ve not had a single incident. That is testament to the partnership between our IT teams and SCC Collaboration.”

Looking ahead, SCC Collaboration will continue to work closely with Yodel to carry out testing and ensure configuration of its new telephony system is optimised. SCC Collaboration will advise on new features and recommend appropriate upgrades ensuring Yodel achieves maximum return on investment.