The city of Växjö, Sweden was maintaining a complex communications environment. Each of its departments had a different solution, which did not foster collaboration among employees and was expensive to maintain. The city launched its One IT program to provide one centralized service for employees that includes communications, collaboration, intranet, and networking. It deployed a Microsoft communications and collaboration solution including Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 for email and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 for its Intranet, document management, and collaboration sites. Most recently, it deployed Microsoft Lync Server 2010 to provide a single communications solution including instant messaging, presence, conferencing, and voice. With Lync Server, Växjö will reduce costs by more than 5 million SEK (U.S.$750,000) and improve employee productivity by 10 percent.
The City of Växjö (Växjö kommun) in Sweden is known for its high standard of living and its work on environmental issues. Established in 1342, the city has 7,400 employees and a population of approximately 81,000. It is also home to Växjö University and approximately 7,400 businesses in a range of industries.
City employees fill many roles in the city’s six departments covering Education, Buildings and Housing, Environment and Transportation, Social Services, Business Development, and Parks and Tourism. Given the wide variety of services provided and the varying roles required to provide these services, the city’s IT department found it difficult to provide an infrastructure that met everyone’s needs.
||It is only a matter of time before we can retire the PBX and no longer have to pay for licenses and maintenance. We expect to save more than 2 million SEK [U.S.$300,000] per year by retiring the PBX system.
IT Manager, City of Växjö
The city ended up with a wide variety of disparate IT solutions including five Active Directory domains and six email solutions. For communications, the city relied on a private-branch exchange (PBX) for basic telephony and many other services for conferencing and instant messaging. Maintaining all of these systems was time-consuming and expensive, and the duplicate systems did not promote effective communication across departments. As a result, the city wanted to consolidate these solutions to reduce its labor, hardware, and licensing costs and improve productivity.
The city embarked on its One IT program to provide a standard communications and collaboration solution for all employees. The solution had to be comprehensive and yet flexible enough to meet the needs of all of the various stakeholders working for the city. “We want an IT solution that makes everyone’s work more efficient. This needs to integrate not only email and telephony, but all of our collaboration and content management tools,” explains Per Andersson, IT Manager for the City of Växjö.
As the city was happy with its current Microsoft solutions including Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Office, it investigated whether Microsoft could meet its needs for an integrated communications and collaboration solution. It was impressed with the technology Microsoft could provide and the roadmap for future technologies. Microsoft also provided the best value. “Out of all of the vendors we looked at, Microsoft was the cheapest,” explains Andersson. “And that was just for the basic functionality we specified. With Microsoft we get so much more without having to pay any extra.” In the summer of 2009 it set about deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 to replace its current email solutions. Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 will also be deployed during 2011, replacing the current Office SharePoint Server 2007 environment, for document management and collaboration and to host the city’s Intranet.
At the same time, to provide instant messaging (IM), presence, and conferencing capabilities, the city deployed Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. The IT team deployed the solution for its own group first so they could evaluate the technology. With the availability of presence information, the IT staff found it could communicate much more easily because they could see who was available to resolve pressing issues before the problems affected operations. IT quickly deployed federation to provide access to presence, instant messaging, and conferencing with its partners and suppliers. They also integrated web conferencing into their daily routines to reduce travel and improve collaboration with vendors. “We have been using web conferencing extensively in IT since it was deployed,” explains Andersson. “We communicate with external contacts everyday on projects. With web conferencing, we can meet and share information anytime worrying about location.”
Växjö had plans to deploy Office Communications Server to all of its employees and integrate Office Communications Server with its PBX to provide voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) capabilities. Before it could begin the deployment, Microsoft announced Lync Server 2010 as the next generation of Office Communication Server. Lync Server 2010 provides enhanced conferencing and voice capabilities and a simplified user interface that was appealing to Växjö. The city decided to upgrade to Lync prior to completing the larger deployment.
Växjö has upgraded its Office Communications Server hardware to Lync Server. The new deployment has a front-end server pool with collocated Mediation Servers for high availability. With Lync Server, companies can collocate the Mediation Server role to connect to the telephony system with the front-end server, reducing hardware requirements. It has a separate AV Conferencing Server to handle a high volume of audio and video traffic. It also has an edge server, which provides access for external users and access to public IM systems like Windows Live Messenger.
||With Lync online meetings, we can meet as needed without worrying about distance or travel.
IT Manager, City of Växjö
A separate Monitoring Server collects call detail reports (CDRs); usage information related to VoIP calls; IM messages, audio and video conversations, meetings, application sharing, and file transfers; numerical data describing the media quality on the network and endpoints; and call error and troubleshooting information for failed calls. Växjö can use these reports to track usage and to troubleshoot any issues. Because the Monitoring Server captures end-to-end call quality information, it can also use reports to identify potential problems with network equipment and services.
To support telephony functions, Växjö installed a Dialogic DMG4000 digital media gateway to connect Lync Server to its PBX. Lync Server provides the flexibility to work with existing telephony solutions, making the initial installation of voice capabilities easy and inexpensive. Over time, Växjö will connect Lync Server directly to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and retire its switchboard and PBX.
Växjö will deploy the Lync 2010 client to all of its employees over the next 12 months. Employees will receive IM and presence, ad hoc collaboration and online meeting capabilities, and VoIP functionality. Växjö will also deploy Exchange Unified Messaging for voice mail. After people receive their enterprise voice accounts on Lync Server, they will receive voice mail in their Microsoft Outlook 2010 inboxes.
The Lync Server enterprise voice solution works so well because employees can select the tools that will help them be the most productive. Given the wide variety of roles at Växjö, this is very important and can help the city save money on devices. “Many employees have found that a laptop and a mobile phone is all they need to take advantage of all of the functions in Lync,” explains Andersson. “But we do have users who want a desk phone or a headset and we have many common-area phones as well.”
When they are traveling, remote and mobile workers can use the Plantronics Voyager PRO headset and Microsoft HD LifeCam Cinema web camera to stay in touch with colleagues back at the office or with customers. “We have had a great experience with the Plantronics headsets and the Microsoft cameras,” notes Andersson. “You just plug them in and they work.” Employees that require desk phones have access to valuable Lync features, such as presence and contact cards, through the Polycom CX600 IP desktop phone. As employees adopt the IP desk phones, the city will retire its traditional desk phones.
For common areas such as lobbies, break rooms, and smaller conference rooms, the city is evaluating the Polycom CX500 IP phone, and for conference rooms, the city is considering the Polycom CX3000 IP conference phone. Both phones provide directory search, presence information, and extended conferencing capabilities. It will also use the Polycom CX5000 for video conferencing, which provides a 360-degree viewing angle for conference rooms.
For employees, the Lync client combines all of the telephony and conferencing capabilities in the familiar Microsoft Office 2010 user interface. Employees now have access to social capabilities like Rich Contact Card and Skill Search. The Rich Contact Card displays pictures and organization chart information for contacts. Using the Skill Search, employees can find coworkers with the skills required to solve a problem. With these features, the city will leverage the investments it plans to make in setting up employee My Site accounts on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. Employees can also access online meetings through the Lync client, including the ability to record and save meeting content as .XPS files to preserve the full meeting content.
With the Lync Server 2010 deployment, Växjö will meet its goal to deploy a complete communications and collaboration platform for employees. The city expects significant cost savings, productivity improvements, and reduced environmental impact will result. “When you see the entire picture with Microsoft Office 2010, Exchange Server 2010, and SharePoint 2010, everything has presence and you can just right-click to IM or talk,” explains Andersson. “Lync connects everything together so you can collaborate when you need to.”
Reduces Annual Costs by 5 million SEK (U.S.$750,000)
The deployment of Lync Server to all employees at the City of Växjö will lead to significant cost savings. The City plans to use these savings to pay for future IT projects. “We’d like to get more functionality for the same amount of money and the Microsoft solution enables us to do that,” says Andersson.
||When you see the entire picture with Microsoft Office 2010, Exchange Server 2010, and SharePoint 2010, everything has presence and you can just right-click to IM or talk. Lync connects everything together so you can collaborate when you need to.
IT Manager, City of Växjö
Växjö is moving phone connections from its current PBX to Lync Server as it deploys voice capabilities to the various departments in the city. When the deployment is complete, the city will retire the PBX. “It is only a matter of time before we can retire the PBX and no longer have to pay for licenses and maintenance,” notes Andersson. “We expect to save more than 2 million SEK [U.S.$300,000] per year by retiring the PBX system.”
The IT department at Växjö integrated regular online meetings into its daily routine and greatly reduced travel. Växjö expects this trend to continue when all employees have access to the online meeting capabilities. Växjö estimates that twenty percent of its workforce travels for meetings and that half of these meetings could be replaced with online meetings. The cost savings for petrol, airline tickets, meals, and hotels is estimated to be more than 800,000 SEK (U.S.$120,000).
Växjö will also save money by reducing hiring costs and reducing costs at its contact center. The savings from these items are expected to exceed 2.2 million SEK (U.S.$330,000).
Reduces Environmental Footprint
Reducing carbon emissions is especially important for Växjö, which is known as Europe’s greenest city. Travel has environmental impact, and the city expects to reduce its carbon emissions by 330 metric tons by helping employees drive less for work.
Improves Employee Productivity
Växjö expects to see large gains in employee productivity because people can easily set up meetings online. “We need to have more meetings but spend less time getting to meetings and in the meetings themselves,” says Andersson. “With Lync online meetings, we can meet as needed without worrying about distance or travel. Meetings are also more efficient because people can attend meetings only for the time they are needed to present information or to answer questions.”
Växjö believes the simplicity of the Lync client will improve communications in general. “The client is very user-friendly, which makes it more likely that our employees will use all of the features,” notes Andersson. Employees will also benefit from the integration of presence into the applications they use every day, like Microsoft Office and SharePoint Server. Växjö is confident that the availability of presence information will improve business processes and speed communications, improving employee productivity by as much as 10 percent.
Växjö has moved quickly to deploy Microsoft technologies as its standardized communications and collaboration solution. It can now be confident that employees can find the people and information they need and collaborate using the best technology for the situation.
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 system that works with existing tools and systems for easier management, lower cost of ownership, smoother deployment and migration, and greater choice and flexibility.
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