Smooth transition to cloud-based telephony system for expanding housing association.

Housing association, Eastlight Community Homes, enhances internal and external communications with a unified communications system.


Eastlight Community Homes is a vibrant, resident-led housing association for the East of England, creating affordable homes. It owns and looks after 12,500 social homes across Essex and Suffolk, and plans to build another 3,800 by 2025. 


In 2021, Eastlight made the decision that it required new telephony and IT infrastructure to ensure it was using the best, up-to-date technology. It wanted to consolidate two different systems being used for internal and external calls. This included replacing a legacy analogue, on-premise phone system with a cloud-based solution. This major project would allow Eastlight to increase operational efficiency and the overall customer experience. 

Calls made internally by the housing association had involved using Microsoft Teams for over five years. However, external calls to the customer services department and others were done through an analogue, on-premise system. 

Central was tasked with managing the smooth transition to a new, cloud-based telephony system. Having provided technology support for Eastlight’s small IT infrastructure team for over a decade, Central understood its evolving needs. It had already supported the housing association with complex IT integration following the merger of two previously independent organisations. 

The main challenge was working with Eastlight’s housing management systems provider to integrate the new system and ensure a smooth transition, whilst allowing operations to be carried out with minimal disruption.


Central managed the smooth transition to Microsoft Teams Voice for business, a cloud-based telephony solution designed to unify communications and provide a secure and reliable service. 

As part of the project, Central created the Microsoft Azure environment and secure networking infrastructure, which allowed for our Enghouse installation partner, Amillan Ltd, to install their services directly onto the cloud computing platform.

As well as the Enghouse servers, Central created Azure-based Session Border Controllers — ensuring the entire solution worked within the platform. Following initial testing for basic call functionality, Central then moved on to the full contact centre package available through the Enghouse application, as well as creating a link back to Eastlight's back end systems. 

Implementation of this platform was a challenging project, as the previous Cisco telephony system had been embedded for 10 years, but Central helped the Eastlight team every step of the way.

Regular meetings were held with key parties including Eastlight’s IT and customer services departments, Central, and Amillan Ltd, to effectively manage the changes.

Testing the system was a crucial part of the process, too, as well as the updating of over 450 staff laptops with the new system.


Consolidation to a single telephony system has boosted productivity, streamlined operations, and enhanced Eastlight’s user experience. 

There is greater flexibility too, as features of the system include call transfer and multi-level auto attendants, giving the housing association full control over how calls are routed, and call recording. 

Previously, calls would come directly into the housing association then be redirected to customer services, with the risk of losing the caller, if, for example, there was a poor line or a power cut. As calls are now managed via an ultra-fast network using Azure — Microsoft’s cloud technology — users experience a high-quality call, with it being rare for connections to drop out. Calls can also be answered from any location, rather than staff needing to be by a desktop handset.

Eastlight had previously faced business disruption from events outside its control, including flooding and a failure of the air conditioning system. Teams Voice ensures business continuity and, as an inherently secure platform, organisation-critical data is secure.

Key highlights.

  • Smooth transition from two telephony systems to one cloud-based solution
  • Fully integrated system keeps the entire organisation connected and secure
  • Successfully updated IT infrastructure with systems appropriate for future growth

If you are looking for flexible, customer-focused IT support, why not contact our team of experts to discuss your requirements?

"“We’ve worked with Central for over 10 years, and we have a great working relationship — it’s personal and you know that they really care. The team is always there at the end of the phone if we need them, and they have a large pool of technical knowledge that we can dip into. “Central also understands the history behind our infrastructure and provides excellent fourth-line support and knowledge to our in-house IT team.”

- Perri Knott, IT infrastructure manager, Eastlight Community Homes
If you are looking for flexible, customer-focused IT support, why not contact our team of experts to discuss your requirements?
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