Professional Association Stays Focused on Business Performance By Moving Enterprise Voice to Cloud

modernizing phone systems to help free up time

Written By // Larry Jensen

Professional Association
Western Suburbs of Chicago

In business climates where new competitors surface frequently, and members’ needs and demands evolve rapidly, maximum resources must be focused on building brand awareness, providing better profiling from existing data, and more accurately forecasting the demand for services and revenue streams. To facilitate this, IT has to create more time for their personnel to help other departments; A) collaborate more effectively, B) make better use of the data they currently have, and C) forecast and predict trends more effectively.

Free up significant hours each week for key IT personnel to facilitate business initiatives with other departments.

Focus on Business Performance

A leading tech association was dealing with a changing competitive landscape where traditional competitors were beginning to explore better ways to differentiate. This was amplified by the fact that new, online upstarts were increasingly entering the market at greater speeds that ever before.

To maintain a competitive footing, the association knew they needed to broaden business with existing members, as well as bring new members into the fold, by investing heavily in forward-looking data capabilities. However, to prepare for new opportunities in digital business, they first needed to modernize their workforce and streamline everyday processes to save time and money. The new data analytics solution would require IT to create more time in their collective day. By removing as much of their current workload as possible, they could free up IT to focus more on the value-added initiatives that drive the business forward.

The need to modernize the existing phone system and the ability to make greater use of the in-place Skype for Business application presented the organization with a timely opportunity to consolidate or remove other applications in use. Through their partnership with SWC, the company developed a plan to leverage Skype for Business via Office 365 to free up several hours of their IT staff’s time per week.

Replace existing phone system and associated technical debt for maintenance and support
Provide a highly reliable suite of collaborative services, including enterprise voice via Skype for Business
Retain favorable carrier contracts through their current terms
Net hard dollar cost reduction through retirement/replacement of in-place systems, applications, and maintenance/support

Controlling Cost

The current phone system was aged and due for a replacement. Lync was already in place in an on-premises configuration. After the general availability of Microsoft cloud-based enterprise voice functionality was announced, the organization tested and deployed the full range of collaborative capabilities within Skype for Business in Office 365. Existing Office 365 licensing was used, and other in-place applications are now being evaluated for replacement by Skype for Business capabilities. Favorable carrier contracts will be retained through the rest of their respective terms, and transitioned upon expiration to Microsoft.

While the most important benefit of this implementation is to free up IT resources for high value work with other departments, the organization expects hard dollar savings to come from the retirement of in-place applications, systems, and associated maintenance and support agreements.

Tools Used

The organization took advantage of Microsoft Office 365 Skype for Business capabilities to produce these results. These solutions met core needs for communication and collaboration, both internally and externally, via real time interaction between teams, clients, partners, and other external parties.

The SWC Unified Communications practice deployed the full range of Skype for Business capabilities, including enterprise voice via Office 365 and integration with in-place carriers under contract with the organization. Other in-place collaboration applications were reviewed and targeted for replacement by Skype for Business.

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