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Conferencing - the Gateway Drug to UC?

Alan PercyBy Alan D. Percy, Senior Director of Marketing, AudioCodes

I've spent time with a number of our partners more recently discussing the opportunity to extend their Unified Communications practices – much of the conversation centered around helping businesses voice-enable their UC implementations.  Many of the partners I've spoken with wonder how to get their end-customers to "test the waters" of Unified communications, without a huge commitment.

The challenge is – how do you get a business “hooked” on Lync voice?

Cargill_logo.pngLet’s turn to a case study presented by Cargill during the Lync Conference 2014 in Las Vegas this last February.  With 142,000 employees in 67 countries and over 1,000 locations, Cargill is a global supplier of food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services.

Cargill saw conferencing as a primary opportunity and motivation to reduce costs and improve business processes.  As noted by Steve Hanson, IT Manager – Lync Solutions, Media Services “Our top 1,000 conferencing consumers accounted for 55% of total spend…the top 60 users averaged more than $500 per month”.  Conferencing costs were an easy justification to make some changes.

With the help of their partner Perficient, Cargill implemented a total of 6 Microsoft Lync Server Pools, supporting roughly 69,000 users with Lync conferencing and collaboration.  Dial-in access to conference calls was facilitated by 10 AudioCodes Mediant 1000 gateways, regionally dispersed in their network.  The gateways allowed Lync to operate behind existing Cisco network infrastructure, avoiding duplicate trunking facilities and allowed direct-dial for callers within the business.

As a result of the conferencing implementation and an extensive internal marketing and awareness campaign, Lync has now become the primary platform for conferencing and collaboration within the business.  The cost reduction goals had been met.

But that is just the start….

After Cargill had completed the conferencing roll out, Steve noted:  ”we had sites come to us and say they wanted to try Lync as their PBX…we actually told them no three times”  However, after the preparations were in place, Steve and his team used a “drop and insert” architecture to allow them to integrate Lync with the site’s existing PBX and enable a soft cut-over to Lync voice for groups of users as training and facilities permitted.   As of February, Cargill has completed the voice implementation at their first site in Paris, Il and four others were “on the docket” for implementation.

Clearly, voice Unified Communications had arrived at Cargill and was spreading like wildfire.

This is the opportunity– integrating the voice features of UC and offering their expertise to business, not starting with a full rip-and-replace presentation, but with a “getting started” strategy that enables conferencing and collaboration alongside the existing PBX.  This strategy offers the value of the new UC services, allows the users to experience those addictive services, while retaining the old PBX until it is obsolete.

The supplier of this addiction? The partner.

You can read the full Cargill written case study, continue the conversation by commenting below or on Twitter @AlanDPercy

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AudioCodes a Microsoft Gold Competency Partner, offering One Voice for Lync a broad portfolio of products and services that facilitate Microsoft Lync implementations.  For more information, visit: www.audiocodes.com/Microsoft

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