Unified Communications Powers Global Collaboration at Energy Trading Company

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1 Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Customer Solution Case Study Unified Communications Powers Global Collaboration at Energy Trading Company Overview Country or Region: United Kingdom Industry: Oil and gas Customer Profile Gazprom Marketing and Trading (GM&T) is a London-based subsidiary of Russian energy producer Gazprom. Its 560 employees trade energy and market liquefied natural gas. Business Situation Responsible for communications in offices around the world, GM&T IT staff wanted to maximise communications capabilities so that colleagues could share knowledge quickly and seamlessly. Solution In March 2011, IT staff equipped the new London head office with a unified communications platform based on Microsoft Lync 2010 and Microsoft Lync Server 2010, integrated with Microsoft Exchange Server Benefits Ease of communication Better knowledge sharing High resiliency Increased staff effectiveness Lync makes communicating easy... [It] means I can keep very close to my team, wherever they are working. Rob Pringle, Director of Global IT, Gazprom Marketing and Trading Based in London, Gazprom Marketing and Trading (GM&T) trades oil and gas in global markets for Russian parent company Gazprom. In early 2011, GM&T prepared to move its headquarters to a new London office. IT staff assessed how to provide cost-effective integrated multichannel communications for staff, including traders who depend on instant communication. They selected a unified communications solution based on Microsoft Lync, which includes Microsoft Lync Server 2010 and the client component, Microsoft Lync This platform integrates instant messaging, presence, audio, and voice communications, and as a result, staff can switch instantly between different communications channels, getting the information they need fast. Impressed by the system s capabilities and the quality of the telephony, GM&T has started to deploy Lync in other trading offices.

2 The main benefit we ve gained from Lync is having all these communications channels in one place. The more channels you have on the same platform, the greater value you get from each. Simon Garcia, Head of Global Communications, Gazprom Marketing and Trading Situation Established in 1989, Gazprom is Russia s largest private company and one of the world s largest energy companies. With annual revenue of U.S.$130 billion and a global head count of 400,000, Gazprom is responsible for 15 percent of the world s annual natural gas production and supplies 23 percent of Europe s gas market. To maximise the value of its energy portfolio, Gazprom has established global trading operations. Headquartered in London, England, Gazprom Marketing and Trading (GM&T) trades oil, natural gas, power, and foreign exchange in global markets; ships and markets liquefied natural gas (LNG); trades European carbon permits; and, in the United Kingdom, sells gas directly to commercial customers. The subsidiary employs 560 staff members, and has offices in Singapore and Houston, Texas, to support 24-hour trading. As a participant in global energy markets, GM&T staff must have exceptional roundthe-clock communications capabilities. To work effectively, our staff need continuous knowledge sharing and rapid communications, says Rob Pringle, Director of Global IT at Gazprom Marketing and Trading. They need to know what s going on in markets and to share that knowledge effectively with colleagues throughout the 24-hour trading cycle. Knowledge sharing is essential to the success of GM&T. GM&T IT staff support a variety of telecommunications systems and applications in the United Kingdom and global offices. These include traditional private-branch exchange (PBX) phone systems in each office, specialist trading telephone systems called dealer boards that allow traders to prioritise incoming calls and instantly connect to counterparties, and Microsoft Exchange Server for staff . These systems had been deployed separately as the company grew, but in mid-2010, a planned move to new headquarters in central London prompted IT staff to fundamentally reevaluate staff communication needs. We started to think about communications holistically, not as a collection of individual capabilities like phones or , says Pringle. Our job is to help staff share information in a fast-paced work communications environment. So we started to think about a collaboration platform that would help employees communicate in a variety of formats. Traders specifically wanted the capability to conduct group chats by using instant messaging. This would provide a forum for instantaneous knowledge sharing between traders and offices and facilitate 24-hour trading. However, Pringle wanted an integrated communications platform that would enable all staff to move seamlessly between different channels. As early adopters, we were open to ideas, he says. Solution In mid-2010, Pringle and his colleagues began trialling instant messaging (IM) at one west London office, using the unified communications platform Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. The effect on our staff was dramatic, says Pringle. During the first month that IM was available, staff sent approximately 1,000 messages per week. By December, usage had grown to approximately 50,000 per week. Alongside IM, we also trialled desktop IP telephony. We integrated it with our existing PBX phone system and other

3 With Lync, the call quality between London and Singapore is now absolutely stunning. Rob Pringle, Director of Global IT, Gazprom Marketing and Trading Microsoft technologies, including Microsoft Exchange Server. The Office Communications Server 2007 R2 trial was a success, with staff impressed by the audio quality of Internet telephony. This encouraged Pringle and his colleagues to adopt the updated version of the product suite for their new office in London. The Microsoft unified communications platform, Lync, is composed of Microsoft Lync Server 2010 with its associated enduser interface, and Microsoft Lync 2010, which is installed on client computers. The successor to Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Lync includes IM, IP telephony, and videoconferencing capabilities. Aside from the cost benefits of replacing PBX communications with desktop IP telephony, IT staff were swayed by two other benefits. Phone handsets, which staff members use to make and receive voice calls through Lync instead of the traditional PBX. Lync enables staff to instantly escalate twoway communications from an IM conversation to an audio and a video call. In addition, by using the desktop-sharing feature, staff can conduct webcasts, which means they can immediately share a presentation or spreadsheet. Integration with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 gave us presence functionality, so that staff can see colleagues communications status, including whether they are at work, on the phone, or away, says Pringle. In addition, voice messages appear in staff inboxes, which are also accessible via a web-based mail application, so staff can check voice messages remotely. First, desktop IP telephony would allow us to simplify our communications architecture, so it would be easier to support, says Simon Garcia, Head of Global Communications at Gazprom Marketing and Trading. Second, Lync would also allow us to integrate our communications with our Microsoft Office and intranet applications, so staff and traders could move seamlessly between content and communication. GM&T engaged Dell, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, to help design and implement a unified communications platform for GM&T. They deployed Lync as part of a much broader infrastructure project at the new London office, and the communications platform was operational by the time staff moved in. The deployment included installing Microsoft Lync 2010 on approximately 450 desktops and deploying Polycom CX600 IP Lync also connects with traders third-party dealer board systems their primary platforms for making trades. Full integration means dealers can call straight onto their dealer boards using Lync and receive calls from dealer boards via Lync, says Pringle. With the success of the London deployment, Pringle and his colleagues decided to upgrade communications at the GM&T Singapore office by using Lync as well. They deployed Lync to 50 staff members, along with Polycom CX 600 IP Phone handsets. With this platform connected to the company s new global wide area network (WAN), London-based employees communicate with colleagues in Singapore though the company s own WAN, bypassing external networks. Benefits Since March 2011, all GM&T employees at the company head office in London have

4 Innovation and communication are essential to our business, and Lync is a physical manifestation of our commitment to them. Simon Garcia, Head of Global Communications, Gazprom Marketing and Trading worked in the unified communications environment. Lync has helped transform the trading floor in exactly the way Pringle, Garcia, and their colleagues hoped, with colleagues able to connect with each other at any time, wherever they are. Ease of Communication GM&T employees now have a range of desktop communication choices, with the freedom to switch instantly between them. The main benefit we ve gained from Lync is having all these communications channels in one place, says Garcia. The more channels you have on the same platform, the greater value you get from each. It shows how a whole system can be much more than the sum of its parts. Staff identify presence as the key feature. Because they can see who is at work, in a meeting, on a call, or free to talk, they can balance respect for colleagues time with the urgency of their requests. Lync makes communicating easy, says Pringle. I have direct reports around the world, and I can see who is online and whether they are accessible. With one click, I can escalate an IM conversation to a phone call, and then to a video call. For me personally, Lync means I can keep very close to my team, wherever they are working. And with Lync, the call quality between London and Singapore is now absolutely stunning. High Resilience The business also benefits from very high levels of call resiliency, which ensures that voice calls are not interrupted by a sudden change in bandwidth availability. Voice is a key workload for the GM&T user base, and reliability was a key requirement, says Lester Hewett, Solutions Architect at Dell. The design incorporated advanced call-routing capabilities and a Survivable Branch Server feature to cater for loss of the WAN or the local ISDN [Integrated Services Digital Network] circuit. These new features provide resiliency and redundancy for voice services. So if the WAN or local connection is lost, the call isn t interrupted. Better Knowledge Sharing By integrating communications, Pringle aimed to ensure that knowledge flows to where it is most valuable. He believes that is exactly what the company has achieved. We have just deployed an intranet using Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, says Pringle. It is also integrated with Lync, so if a staff member publishes an article that catches a trader s interest, the trader can right-click on the author to call them straight away and click again to share their desktop. Webcasts are also an extremely powerful knowledge-sharing tool. Lync enables us to bring external people, including customers, into our meetings. As a result, Garcia believes employees are more able to fulfil two of the company s core values. Innovation and communication are essential to our business, and Lync is a physical manifestation of our commitment to them, says Garcia. It provides solid collaboration capabilities for all our staff across the company and between different geographies and time zones. Increased Staff Effectiveness Respect for the product and advocacy from senior executives has ensured extremely rapid adoption of new communications habits among staff. Lync is a very wellregarded system, and I think our organisation has earned respect by simply providing all the tools and leaving staff to

5 For More Information For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: For more information about Dell products and services, visit the website at: work out how to best use them, says Garcia. As a result, Lync has gone viral within the company and there is no greater accolade than that. In the future, GM&T staff predict that they will deploy Lync and its integrated communications capabilities at other offices around the world. Ultimately, all investment decisions revolve around one subject: What s going to allow my organisation to become more effective? says Pringle. When other CIOs call me to ask for my views on unified communications, I tell them it s easy to spend too much time agonising over the business case. Lync has improved our effectiveness as employees, because it has transformed the way we communicate. Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Microsoft Lync Server 2010 ushers in a new connected user experience that transforms every communication into an interaction that is more collaborative and engaging and that is accessible from anywhere. For IT, the benefits are equally powerful, with a highly secure and reliable communications solution that works with existing tools and systems for easier management, lower cost of ownership, smoother deployment and migration, and greater choice and flexibility. For more information about Microsoft Lync Server 2010, go to: For more information about Gazprom Marketing and Trading products and services, call (44) (0) or visit the website at: Software Microsoft Server Product Portfolio Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Microsoft Office Microsoft Lync 2010 Hardware Polycom CX600 IP Phone handset Partners Dell This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published November 2011

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