The Economist is a weekly magazine owned by the Economist Group. Continuous publication began under its founder, James Wilson, in September 1843. In 2015 its average weekly circulation was a little over 1.5 million, about half of which were sold in the United States. The publication belongs to the Economist Group. It is 50% owned by the English branch of the Rothchild family and by the Agnelli family through its holding company Exor. The remaining 50% is held by private investors including the editors and staff. The Rothschilds and the Agnellis are represented on the board of directors. A board of trustees formally appoints the editor, who cannot be removed without its permission. For the year to March 2016 the Economist Group declared operating profit of £61m.
The Economist takes an editorial stance of classical and economic liberalism that supports free trade, globalisation, free immigration and cultural liberalism. The Economist targets highly educated, cultured readers and claims an audience containing many influential executives and policy-makers.
The Economist have two offices in London, one in Canary Wharf which houses support staff, technicians and the publications back office functions and a media office in Central London where the journalists, editors and creatives are located
At the office in St James’s, The Economist had an old Siemens iSDX telephone system. The solution was over 10 years old, in need of replacement
The Economist were moving their media office from St James’s in central London to The Strand in Westminster. This office move afforded The Economist the opportunity to replace the ageing telephone system.
The legacy solution had failed on several occasions frustrating staff and causing major headaches for I.T. Support was based on a best endeavours contract. This meant, if a hardware part wasn’t available or a software bug was found, there is no guarantee that the system could get back up and running. This was a big risk for the publication.
Soniza were commissioned to create a strategy which addressed the possibility of expanding the telephone system at the Canary Wharf office to the new site or to investigate the possibility of alternative technology, and implement a new solution.
Soniza ran workshops with The Economist to understand what their business drivers and what functional requirements were required.
Soniza then created a fully budgeted cost and functionality comparison between expanding the existing infrastructure and replacing with a new solution. Soniza recommended that the new solution would be a better strategy based on cost, functionality, ease of deployment and concern over the manufacturers' profile at the time.
Soniza created a request for proposal (RFP) document asking suppliers to respond on their profile, functional requirements, their deployment approach and support requirements. Soniza managed an expedited procurement process answering clarification questions and facilitating interactions with the client.
Soniza analysed supplier RFP responses using the standard evaluation matrix agreed and recommended two suppliers were short-listed. Each supplier was asked to provide a presentation and demonstration of their product to allow further clarifications to be sort and to show how their solution would operate in the ‘real-world’.
After a short ‘best and final offer’ process, the project team evaluated and updated the scoring matrix and a supplier was selected based on their profile, ability to deliver and product choice.
Through working with Soniza The Economist were able to benefit from a fully resilient telephony and unified communications solution. This meant multiple levels of failover for both back office and reception staff.
The new solution also facilitated mobile integration providing a platform for an agile working strategy and unified communications, which enhanced communication between staff and provided a more efficient way of interacting