An expanding West Midlands IT company is urging other local firms to take advantage of free software it claims can make their business calls more cost-effective and efficient.

Earlier this year IT firm ADECS and marketing consultancy Profita merged after working together successfully on a project.

The Coventry company, which employs 25 staff at its Westwood Business Park headquarters, has been working hard to ensure that all of its working practices were brought together.

One of the most important elements was the telephone system - and the company took the radical decision to ditch a conventional system in favour of one that sees calls channelled through computer software.

ADECS Profita was introduced to the free Open Source software called Asterisk after assistance from the National B2B Centre - the West Midlands' e-business centre of excellence at the University of Warwick.

It has enabled the firm to give each member of staff voicemail and also allows calls to be transferred to people working from home without the caller ever knowing that they are not in the office. "If one of the team is working at home for the day, calls will still be filtered through to them," said Gareth Drew, of ADECS Profita. "The caller would never know that they are not here.

"From that point of view, it has very much integrated the company since the merger and that was absolutely crucial.

"The Asterisk system has worked perfectly for the firm and we certainly feel that the efficiency of the business has been improved on the back of it."

Steve Orriss, of the National B2B Centre, said: "When firms grow, it is absolutely vital that they use scaleable technology.

"With this phone system, ADECS Profita have shown that open source technology can work across a medium sized company, where there are employees who need to work out of the office.

"It is impressive that these improvements to efficiency and call handling have been made possible using low cost technology."

The National B2B Centre is part of WMG at the University of Warwick and funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Advantage West Midlands.