This month we're highlighting a video case study about AT Kearney who implemented a unified communications solution using Microsoft Communications Server “14” and other Microsoft technologies to improve the communication and collaboration among their employees. In addition to achieving significant cost savings, the flexible solution also had a positive impact on the work-life balance of their mobile consultants.
AT Kearney is a leading management consulting firm headquartered in Chicago, IL, with more than 3400 employees in about 50 locations around the world. In looking for a unified communications solution that would integrate with their existing PBX environment, AT Kearney looked at a Cisco solution first. However, they found the integration of Communications Server “14” with other Microsoft solutions to be a "game changer"; implementing a unified experience with Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SharePoint Server, and Microsoft Office Professional provided a superior user and admin experience, and was also more cost effective.
“Integrated services, integrated communication, both voice, video and data and now skills-based search with Wave 14 and the ability to see those integrated products work seamlessly together in SharePoint 2010, Office 2010 and now Wave 14, that is really a game changer for us.”
Kevin Rice, Global Network Architect | AT Kearney
With Communications Server “14” AT Kearney is able to leave their PBX in place and enhance it to give users a full unified communications experience in parallel to their phones. CS”14” connects to their existing PBX and uses Microsoft Communicator in addition to their existing PBX phone. The system can be configured so that Communicator rings whenever the PBX phone rings. This allows their mobile consultants to receive calls on the road or in their home office, and it gives them the option to use Communicator as a primary endpoint even in the office.
AT Kearney CTO John Laughhunn says, “The ability to tie OCS into our PBX environment is very key, it helps give access from anywhere on earth that you have an internet connection plus it helps drive down our costs. We can intelligently route that traffic to a local PBX when it’s possible. We can also provide online conferencing at virtually no cost, which is a huge component of our capabilities inside”.
Laughhunn also appreciates the new features in CS”14” such as skills based search, location awareness and E911, stating, “There’s great value in integration, and the capability to have access to multiple resources from one application. OCS does a very good job of that. Wave 14 is extending that and going more in to the capabilities and skills database area, location awareness, and extending the presence awareness capabilities.”
By choosing the Microsoft solution, AT Kearney avoided the additional cost of hardware and licensing that was required by the Cisco solution. Laughhunn calculates initial savings with the Microsoft solution to be a fraction of the cost, stating, “We saved about a half a million dollars in licensing and hardware savings and infrastructure capabilities just by deploying OCS.” Further, AT Kearney's Director of Global Operations, Michael Robbins says, "For every 10 percent of usage that we can move off of mobile telephones and onto OCS, we’ll save about half a million to a million dollars annually.”
“Because it was integrated and because it was a unified client, there wasn’t all these modular adding on of applications. So for example, with the Cisco solution you get a soft phone and if you wanted video you had to buy more software and licenses to add video to it. With the OCS client we have one piece of software that we loaded and updated and we manage it much more straightforward than we could with any other competitive model.”
John Laughhunn, Chief Technology Officer | AT Kearney
I particularly like the AT Kearney video because it shows how an enterprise company with a mostly mobile workforce, was able to take advantage of the new CS”14” Voice capabilities. They left their PBX in place and enhanced it to give their users a full unified communications experience parallel to their existing phone. Folks, you don’t need to throw away your existing PBX investment to deploy CS”14” Voice. Just enhance it!
Product Manager, Office Communications Group