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1 collaboration Keeping people in touch efficiently

2 What is collaboration? At its best, unified communications (UC) is just what it says it enables better interaction between people by integrating what were separate types of communication into a single, combined user experience. It means , text, and voice messaging work seamlessly with live voice, audio- and video-conferencing, and Web collaboration, in one interface, with presence notification to indicate your availability to participate. People are familiar with the concept of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telephony because of applications such as Skype, which facilitate low-cost or free voice calls through the Internet. Collaboration has expanded this idea to incorporate other types of communication as well. Collaboration differs from standard telecoms systems because it uses server-based technologies, and digital IP networks (the same type of network that routes Internet traffic). And unlike the old analogue telephone systems, it sends voice information over the network as digital packets, much the same way as an . By integrating telephony and data on the same network, it can give enterprises the ability to combine and use voice, data and video information in their common business applications, saving and forwarding whole instant message streams, s, voice phone calls or videoconferencing sessions as chunks of data. And being data, Enterprise grade Collaboration software can encrypt the information being sent across the network, greatly enhancing security. Collaboration also means an employee can use a single phone number or handset and a unified inbox for all their communications, making life simpler. What are the benefits? Collaboration is designed to help workers do their jobs better by allowing them to work anywhere and cutting down on the time that can be wasted trying to contact or be contacted by other people. In short, one of the biggest paybacks for a business adopting a Collaboration solution is increased efficiency and productivity. Combined with a move to Cloud computing and a Mobility strategy to manage company communications, Collaboration turbo-charges a worker s ability to perform regardless of where they are. To start with, it offers advanced telephony functions. These include shortnumber dialing, which eliminates the use of area codes, and is particularly helpful with businesses that are located across geographical areas. Collaboration also offers advanced call-forwarding to different types of devices, and incoming calls can search for an idle extension in a department. It can also ring multiple devices at once desk phone, desktop, and mobile regardless of their location. The aim of this is to help the caller get through to the right person at the right time. Phone users can also benefit from having a single number for all of their phone devices; and companies can keep the same geographic number across properties and mobile phones. For someone using Collaboration, they can start a phone call from their desk phone, and continue the call seamlessly on the mobile as they walk away from the desk and out of the office. A single voic with a unified voic box is another feature of Collaboration, and this works for multiple communication devices, such as a desk phone, home phone, mobile phone, or VoIP (Voice over IP) phone, connected to a computer. Pulling together voice or video conference calls becomes a simple matter too, with the benefits of presence technology. Presence technology allows colleagues to quickly see the availability of, and best way to contact, an individual. Presence can indicate whether the recipient is available on their mobile, home phone, desk phone, and so on; and whether they are in a meeting, working from home, or driving between meetings. 2

3 Are there any cost savings? The short answer is yes. Being based on a digital network, Collaboration can offer cheaper calls than traditional telephone systems. With voice and video being carried as data over the public network, there is scope for businesses to lower their phone bills. Another attraction for businesses is that Collaboration systems can simplify billing and administration, and potentially lower the overall costs of conferencing by combining disparate services through one vendor. Collaboration can give a business predictable bills, so you know roughly what its monthly spend will be. Companies with many locations often have trouble getting a handle on expenses when each office manages its own phone system, Web meeting software, fax service, and even contact centres. With Collaboration, you get one bill. Lyncing up There are several major players providing Collaboration systems, but Microsoft has gained ascendency because of the widespread use of Windows and Office apps in business, its integration with Lync software and its association with Skype. Lync, which comes bundled with Office 365 business subscriptions, is Microsoft s server platform for unified communications. In a former life it was called Office Communications Server. Lync ties real-time presence information with instant messaging, video conferencing, and voice communication, and it integrates with Exchange and Microsoft Office applications. The features that Microsoft Lync brings to organisations of all sizes can translate quickly into business benefits. Lync drives savings in hardware, software and support costs, and provides a familiar and consistent interface across a wide variety of devices. With the release of Lync 2013, Microsoft also introduced the Web version of Lync which allows users to use the program from their browser. Users can join a Lync meeting from Windows or Mac OS X using a Web browser, and still have access to all of the features of Lync, including HD video, VoIP, instant messaging, and desktop sharing. Microsoft has developed Lync Mobile apps for Windows Phone, ios and Android, so Lync communications are available almost universally. The Lync Mobile apps allow users to instant message, call, or join a Lync meeting from virtually anywhere. The cross-platform approach is a trend with Microsoft, and it s an important one. Microsoft would obviously prefer that everyone choose Windows Phone, but the reality is that Windows Phone has relatively little market share, while the vast majority of smartphones and tablets use ios or Android. You will run into plenty of customers who don t use Lync. Skype, on the other hand, is a popular and free communications tool and Microsoft owns that as well. Lync has always provided the option to integrate and communicate with Windows Live Messenger, but Microsoft is phasing that platform out and driving users over to Skype instead. For some businesses, Skype alone may be enough to serve their needs, but organisations that want more robust, comprehensive communication tools should take a look at what Lync 2013 has to offer. Lync 2013 extends communications to Skype with presence, instant messaging, and voice capabilities. 3

4 Lync in Office 365 Businesses small and large can take advantage of Lync 2013 as a function of Microsoft s Cloud computing package, Office 365. The Office 365 element is arguably the most compelling aspect of Lync There are other video-conferencing solutions but they can be costly and only provide the video-conferencing piece. Office 365 makes sense for most business customers, and the addition of Lync, Exchange, and SharePoint make it even greater value. An industry example Bridgestone Australia is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the largest tyre manufacturer in the world. The company is a major supplier to the Australian automotive industry, providing an extensive range of quality tyres, carefully developed to suit local conditions. The company has more than 1,500 employees across Australia and New Zealand. Bridgestone has a very widespread workforce with 40 companyowned sites in Australia and about 90 locations in New Zealand. Teams also generally have members from more than one location. With a distributed workforce, employees were not always sure about the location of staff members. Bridgestone has several large private-branch exchange (PBX) systems, but had no connectivity between them. The systems were also ageing and scheduled for replacement. Bridgestone depended on local contractors to work on the PBX equipment, and the specialised resources required were not always available. Any changes we wanted to implement were costly because we had to make them at each location, says Burkin. Because of the system s age, the configuration was not very stable and even small changes sometimes resulted in big problems. Bridgestone used audio-conferencing services to host conference calls. The services worked well but were expensive. The company also installed video-conferencing equipment at many of the offices. These units were very popular and could not meet the demand for daily videoconferencing needs. The company did not have a web-conferencing service, and employees frequently asked the IT staff for access to Skype and similar software to meet this need. To better support its distributed workforce, Bridgestone began to evaluate Collaboration solutions from a few vendors. It wanted a solution that could replace its aging phone system and provide for all of the company s conferencing needs. It also wanted to increase collaboration by adding instant messaging and presence to the communications options provided to its staff. Another requirement for the solution was tight integration for its call centre agents. Most Bridgestone staff members require reliable mobile connectivity, particularly executives who travel overseas and sales staff who travel across the country. Sometimes salespeople make trips up to seven hours to support franchisees in remote locations. Bridgestone operates a few call centres in Australia and New Zealand that have special communications needs. Most employees at Bridgestone used the phone and to communicate, and occasionally they used conferencing. Our core communications offerings were landlines, mobile phones, and , says Graham Burkin, Infrastructure and Support Manager for Bridgestone Australia. They were completely disjointed. 4

5 Solution Bridgestone chose to deploy Microsoft Lync 2013, which provides a unified solution for instant messaging, presence, meetings, and voice. Bridgestone liked the ease of use Lync 2013 provided, and it also liked the inter-operation with other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange Server, and Microsoft SharePoint. Conferencing Because the video-conferencing capabilities at Bridgestone were limited at most sites to one conference room per site, many teams could not use the service as often as they would have liked. With Lync 2013, our employees can attend videoconferences from wherever they are, says Adam Gjorgjievski, IT Communications Specialist at Bridgestone Australia. We deployed Microsoft LifeCam web cameras and our employees really appreciate the HD (high-definition) multi-party video and great sound quality. Instant Messaging and Presence We were excited about introducing instant messaging and presence to the business, says Burkin. With presence information, teams can see who is available at any given time. We often played phone tag because we didn t have visibility into each other s presence, says Gjorgjievski. Presence is especially helpful for our salespeople, who are frequently on the road. Lync and Lync Mobile are integral to broadcast their availability and receive communications throughout the day. After Bridgestone employees have determined someone is available, they have many ways to connect with each other. I love click-to-call. It s easy and I can initiate the call from the application I m already in. It s truly just one click, says Burkin. Once a chat or call is in progress, I can just drag in other people if we need another viewpoint. Employees can also easily switch communications from instant messaging to voice to video to desktop sharing as the conversation changes. I can easily connect with others, and they can easily connect with me, says Burkin. I can divert my calls to my mobile phone or to a delegate and, with Lync Mobile, I can let people know I am available even when I m out of the office. 5

6 Skype The sales force has a lot of area to cover and spends most of its time out of the office. Lync 2013 provides some unique benefits for this team. They regularly update the franchisees that sell Bridgestone tyres, often traveling from store to store. With the Skype association, Bridgestone expects the sales team can use Lync 2013 to talk with the stores through their Skype clients. Tangible benefits The initial reaction to the Lync Server 2013 deployment at Bridgestone has been overwhelmingly positive. By deploying Lync with enterprise voice, conferencing, and instant messaging and presence, Bridgestone has benefitted from cost reductions, improved business processes, and better employee relationships. The sales team is also under a lot of pressure to provide answers to questions quickly. Our salespeople need to be responsive to their customers, says Burkin. With the Lync Mobile on their Windows Phones, they are able to see who is available and send them a quick instant message or give them a call. They no longer waste time leaving voice mail for people who aren t available. Who is Vita Enterprise Solutions? As part of Vita Group, Australia s most exciting technology, communications and electronics provider, Vita Enterprise Solutions draws on the insight, expertise and know-how generated from 20 years of servicing the Australian market. Over this time we ve built an enviable record of technology and service delivery. Our strong reputation comes from developing in-house expertise and aligning with key technology and telecommunications partners including Telstra and Apple. We ll match agile technology outcomes to your business requirements, simplifying the process for you. From providing the right mobility solution, increasing collaboration, transitioning to the Cloud or NBN, to providing hardware and accessory solutions, Vita Enterprise Solutions will partner with your business to deliver a personalised and fully integrated end to end solution.

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