Nikon Corporation is known worldwide for cameras and digital imaging products. To remain competitive in the fast-paced optics market, Nikon employees must communicate and collaborate easily with one another. Nikon had deployed an ad hoc solution that relied on different platforms for messaging, conferencing, and telephony. Although the company provided presence and instant messaging capabilities, employees primarily used the phone and email to communicate. Nikon believed a more comprehensive solution would increase employee responsiveness to customers, expedite business-critical decisions, and encourage collaboration between its member companies. To achieve these goals, Nikon is deploying Microsoft Lync Server 2010 to provide a centralized communications solution to help employees maintain their focus on “Trustworthiness and Creativity,” the main tenets of the company’s core philosophy.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Nikon Corporation has been a leading manufacturer of optical equipment since 1917. Known worldwide for its range of cameras and digital imaging products, Nikon also manufactures industrial and scientific products. Its products include cameras, binoculars, microscopes, and the IC steppers and scanners. With sales of approximately U.S.$9.4 billion, the Nikon Group encompasses dozens of companies around the world and employs more than 26,000 people.
Nikon strives to create reliable products based on high-level technology, and research and development are core strengths for the company. To put the company’s core philosophy, “Trustworthiness and Creativity,” into action, employees must be able to communicate and collaborate with one another to develop new products. However, different divisions at Nikon had implemented communication solutions that were not integrated—and not really conducive to collaboration across the groups. Employees mainly relied on the telephone and email. To provide voice, Nikon used a private-branch exchange (PBX) telephony system. The company had deployed Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 solution for messaging, and it also provided employees with access to hosted audio conferencing and a web conferencing service. To facilitate more real-time communication through instant messaging and presence, the company had also deployed Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 to 1,000 people in its development and design divisions.
||In some areas, we have seen a 30 percent increase in productivity. We also believe we have increased our responsiveness to customers.
General Manager of Information System Planning Department,
Even with more instant capabilities in place, employees continued to rely heavily on email and the phone to communicate, so they often experienced overloaded email inboxes, which meant that people could be slow to return calls and messages. Nikon wanted to provide more options for employees to communicate in real time. “We want to move away from relying on a specific communication tool like email,” explains Michiko Noborisaka, General Manager of Information System Planning Department at Nikon Corporation. “We need capabilities that free people from the constraints of time and place. Our employees should be able to choose the best communications tools for each scenario they face.”
With production facilities and sales offices around the world, Nikon wanted to deploy a communications solution to encourage employees to work together to make critical business decisions quickly. “We want to strengthen and reinforce collaboration between the member companies of the Nikon Group so that management can adapt quickly to change and make decisions more quickly,” says Noborisaka. It wanted to provide instant messaging and presence for real-time communications as well as conferencing and enterprise voice for a completely integrated communications experience for employees.
To provide a more robust, complete communications solution for its employees, Nikon investigated many options, but it determined that Microsoft Lync 2010 offered a more complete solution with a proven record. Based on the same technology in Office Communications Server, Lync Server provides enhanced communications capabilities such as presence, instant messaging, ad hoc collaboration and online meetings, and internal audio calls. Lync Server also works with the Exchange Server and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 solutions Nikon employees were already using. It plans to complete deployment of the solution to existing Office Communications Server users by the end of April 2011.
Nikon deployed Lync Server in a virtual environment using Hyper-V virtualization technology, a feature of the Windows Server 2008 operating system. Each configuration consists of two front-end servers and a two-node Microsoft SQL Server 2008 cluster for the backend, as well as a Monitoring Server.
To support its plan to deploy enterprise voice in the future, Nikon is evaluating a NET survivable branch appliance (SBA). The SBA is based on cost-effective media gateways hosting the Microsoft Survivable Branch Appliance software package. The SBA provides a network connection and a backup public-switched telephone network (PSTN) connection in the event of wide-area network failure. It could use these at branch offices to provide a redundant voice connection in the case of a network outage.
For its employees, Nikon has evaluated voice hardware designed specifically for use with Lync Server, including the Polycom CX600 IP desk phone, which provides directory search and presence information, and the Plantronics Voyager PRO headset they can use to place and manage calls and conferences through the Lync 2010 client on the desktop.
||With Lync, communication is much more efficient because people do not have to switch programs to make a call or join a meeting.
General Manager of Information System Planning Department,
To make communications widely available, Nikon set up Lync Server to work with Exchange Server and Office SharePoint Server. Employees have the same user experience across all the products: they can view their colleagues’ presence information, and with one click they can easily start a chat session or audio conversation.
Employees will continue to rely on the presence and instant messaging capabilities that were available to them in Office Communications Server 2007, but they now can also take advantage of additional capabilities for instant communication and collaboration. Using the new capabilities in the Lync desktop client, employees can view enhanced presence information for colleagues. Using the Activity Feed, they can provide a brief description of what they are working on each day. They can also escalate an instant messaging session to an online conference with the single click of a mouse. For collaboration, people in the design and development departments can use the whiteboard and desktop sharing capabilities to create designs and review technical documents.
By deploying Lync Server 2010, Nikon has provided a more comprehensive communications solution for employees, which will help them collaborate and share information more easily. The company will reduce conferencing and travel costs, and employees will experience a boost in productivity.
Provides Tools to Help Reach Quick Decisions
Nikon believes that the capabilities in Lync will help streamline operations and improve productivity. “With Lync, communication is much more efficient because people do not have to switch programs to make a call or join a meeting,” says Noborisaka.
Employees also find the user interface to be intuitive. Because they can view presence information, they can easily and quickly send instant messages or click to call and hold an impromptu meeting with available contacts to gather information and make decisions more quickly—they no longer have to wait for responses to email or voice mail messages. .
Enhanced presence information also makes it easier for employees to respond more quickly to colleagues and customers, because they can see who is working on specific projects. Naoya Ogasawara, Manager of System Planning, Information System Planning Department at Nikon Corporation explains, “Features like the Activity Feed make people more productive because they can see status, but they can also see real information about what people are working on.”
“In some areas, we have seen a 30 percent increase in productivity,” says Noborisaka. “We also believe we have increased our responsiveness to customers.”
With the ad hoc collaboration and online meeting capabilities on Lync, Nikon can phase out its current audio and web conferencing solutions, helping it to reduce costs. “We believe we can reduce our expenses for hosted solutions more than 50 percent by moving conferences from our current solutions to Lync,” says Ogasawara.
Because employees can so easily set up online meetings, Nikon expects that people will travel less. “We expect to see a reduction in overseas travel in particular,” says Ogasawara, “which will also result in savings in travel costs.”
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:
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