4-page Case Study
Posted: 2/19/2013
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Dunamare Education Group Dutch School System Uses Unified Communications Solution to Improve Collaboration

Dunamare Education Group was formed in 2007 after the merger of three secondary educational systems in and around Haarlem, Netherlands. It now has 24 secondary schools and provides high-quality education for 13,000 students. Dunamare wanted to find a way to expand its communications beyond telephones and email to help its teachers and administrators work together to solve problems in and out of the classroom. With the help of Microsoft Partner Network member Wortell, Dunamare decided to deploy Microsoft Lync Server 2013 to provide administrators and teachers with more innovative ways to communicate and collaborate in the learning environment, while also reducing telephony costs. The school has increased use of videoconferencing and desktop sharing to improve its ability to solve problems and foster deeper relationships among staff.

Situation
Headquartered in Haarlem, Netherlands, the Dunamare Education Group oversees educational programs for 24 secondary schools in 36 locations across the region. Its 1,400 teachers and administrators serve approximately 13,000 students through college preparatory and vocational programs designed to fit students’ needs. As part of the merger that formed the Dunamare Educational Group, all of the schools involved set a goal to provide an innovative and widely accessible education for students. The group knew that this goal would require it to look for ways to incorporate technology into its learning environment, and that it would require teachers to collaborate on new and innovative lesson plans.

In 2009, to help achieve its technology goals, Dunamare decided to outsource its IT environment to a local IT service provider. It chose to partner with Wortell, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network with multiple Gold competencies. Wortell brings knowledge of the latest innovations and is able to ensure that IT resources at Dunamare are being managed using best practices. “Dunamare wants to be a forerunner in information technology, and we felt that a knowledgeable partner would help us do that,” says Bas Groeneveld, Chief Technology Officer at Dunamare. “Wortell really understands our needs. They are a true partner.”

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* Lync Server 2013 provides us with highly reliable communications that are easy to use. We are doing a lot more videoconferencing and desktop sharing than we did in the past, and it really makes a difference in resolving issues and strengthening relationships. *

Bas Groeneveld
Chief Technology Officer, Dunamare

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Wortell helped Dunamare upgrade its 6,000 computers to the Windows 7 operating system and all of its servers to the Windows Server 2008 operating system. The upgraded operating systems provided a reliable base for the IT infrastructure, so Dunamare also decided to upgrade to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.

Teachers and administrators were relying primarily on email and the telephone to communicate with one another. The real challenge for Dunamare was its voice solution: each of its 36 locations had its own telephony system to manage, with different providers and contracts for varying levels of service. In addition, local calls in the Netherlands are not toll-free; customers are charged on a per-minute basis for every call they make, which meant that teachers had to consider the expense before using the phone to collaborate on lesson plans.

Dunamare needed a centralized communications system that teachers and staff could use without having to worry about costs. But more than just lowering costs, the group consciously wanted to adopt the latest technology—such as instant messaging and presence—that could help its teachers communicate more efficiently, and possibly provide new, innovative methods for extending the classroom environment for students. Because Dunamare was created by merging three school districts, it wanted a communications environment that would help build and strengthen relationships among its staff.

Solution
To address these communications issues, Dunamare deployed Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 (now called Lync Server) for its voice, videoconferencing, instant messaging (IM), and desktop sharing capabilities. All 1,400 teachers and administrative staff have access to the full suite of Lync Server capabilities. Students also have access to Lync when they are at school. To make voice calls through Lync Server, staff members can elect to use their Lync softphone with a headset or a USB phone. As more teachers adopted the voice solution, Dunamare removed its desk phones.

Teachers and administrators immediately took advantage of the presence, instant messaging, desktop sharing, and click-to-call capabilities to communicate with one another. They can now discuss educational programs, coordinate lesson plans, and discuss students’ progress, even beyond regular school hours. They are also using Exchange Unified Messaging to track and manage voice mail and email that comes in throughout the day, all through the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client, Outlook Web App, or from their mobile phones.

To facilitate meetings between teachers and administrative staff at different schools within the system, Dunamare uses a Polycom CX5000 conference phone with a built-in 360-degree camera that follows the conversation and provides a close-up view of speakers’ faces so that participants can easily identify one another and follow the conversation. With this technology, members of the staff can join or leave meetings at will, or they can review sessions they missed.

Dunamare has now upgraded its deployment to Microsoft Lync Server 2013 to take advantage of the latest communications capabilities that Microsoft has to offer. Dunamare plans to expand the use of videoconferencing, desktop sharing, and mobile access.

Lync Server 2013 includes many architecture improvements that Dunamare is using to ensure the reliability of its communications. It has deployed two pools of servers; the individual pools host accounts and have extra capacity in the event of a server failure. If an entire pool goes down, then the users will transfer to the second pool without a loss of functionality.

Administrators and teachers use the Lync 2013 desktop client to communicate from school or from the office, and about 100 people use Lync Mobile on their smartphones to extend their IM, presence, and conferencing capabilities. Dunamare has also tested Sennheiser headsets with its Lync 2013 deployment.

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* Video is easy to use in Lync; you just make one click. The image quality we get from our Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 is amazing. *

Bas Groeneveld
Chief Technology Officer, Dunamare

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The Lync 2013 client has an intuitive layout that replaces the menu selections with five buttons to control important functions. The client also arranges conversations in tabs so that users who are chatting with several people at once do not have a multitude of confusing windows on their desktops.

Lync Mobile will provide advantages, too. “All of the schools are anticipating the Lync 2013 mobile client,” says Groeneveld. “We have not deployed any Wi-Fi phones at this point, and the schools are looking forward to making calls over our wireless networks.” The updated mobile client also improves the conferencing experience by delivering video in addition to the audio content.

Dunamare has seen an increase in the use of videoconferencing since deploying Lync 2013. The gallery view enables administrators to see up to five video streams so that they can see the reactions of others to the presentation, identify the active speaker, and associate names with faces. The contact card has an option for video calling, making it much easier to initiate a video call by just hovering over a colleague’s name and selecting video. “Our Board of Directors, comprised of the 24 school principals, is now using videoconferencing for their meetings to make it easy for everyone to join even if they cannot attend in person,” says Groeneveld.

As in many schools, the Microsoft OneNote note-taking program is very popular among teachers and administrators. Dunamare is taking advantage of the interoperation between OneNote and Lync to create and share notes during meetings.

Benefits
By deploying Lync Server 2013, Dunamare has helped improve collaboration among teachers and reduced the costs of its traditional telephony solution. “Lync Server 2013 provides us with highly reliable communications that are easy to use,” says Groeneveld. “We are doing a lot more videoconferencing and desktop sharing than we did in the past, and it really makes a difference in resolving issues and strengthening relationships.”

Increased Efficiency and Collaboration
A primary goal for Dunamare in deploying a unified communications solution was to help increase efficiency and collaboration for administrators and teachers. Because educators can see their colleagues’ presence information at any time of day, they can connect with one another in a way that is less formal and more conducive to promoting innovation and better relationships. “With Lync Server 2013, educators can communicate without having to reach for the phone, which can be like an invisible wall,” says Danny Burlage, Chief Technology Officer and Founder at Wortell.

Lync has helped to expand the use of videoconferencing at the schools. “Video is easy to use in Lync; you just make one click,” says Groeneveld. “The image quality we get from our Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 is amazing.”

Not only is video easy to initiate, the gallery view really enriches the experience. “It sounds simple, but using a photo or video to highlight when someone is talking really improves the conference call experience,” says Groeneveld. “I don’t have to figure out who is speaking because the person’s name and face are right there. I focus on what really matters.”

Reduced Telephony Costs by 20 Percent
Because teachers and administrators from different schools can use instant messaging or click-to-call capabilities in Lync instead of relying on the telephone, Dunamare estimates that it has saved 20 percent on tolls for local calls. And because the voice solution in Lync is centralized in one data center and needs to be connected only to one telephony system, Dunamare has consolidated its contracts with telephony providers, which also provides substantial savings.

Dunamare strives to provide innovative and widely accessible education for all of its students. With the Lync communications solution from Microsoft, it can continue to develop innovative and interesting ways to educate students well into the future.

Microsoft Lync Server 2013
Microsoft Lync Server 2013 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.

For more information about Microsoft Lync Server 2013, go to:
www.microsoft.com/lync

For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about Wortell services, call (31) 20 7505050 or visit the website at:
www.wortell.nl

For more information about Dunamare Education Group, call (31) 23 5303600 or visit the website at:
www.dunamare.nl


Solution Overview



Organization Size: 1550 employees

Organization Profile

Formed in 2007 in Haarlem, Netherlands, Dunamare Education Group is committed to providing quality education for the 13,000 students it serves.


Business Situation

Dunamare wanted to provide its educators and staff with more efficient and flexible ways to communicate and collaborate with one another while also reducing costs.


Solution

Dunamare deployed Microsoft Lync Server 2013 to enable more flexible communication and collaboration and help reduce telephony costs.


Benefits

  • Increased efficiency and collaboration
  • Reduced telephony costs by 20 percent

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2013
  • Microsoft Lync 2013
  • Microsoft OneNote 2010
  • Microsoft Outlook 2010
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010

Vertical Industries
Primary & Secondary Edu/ K-12

Country/Region
Netherlands

Business Need
  • Business Productivity
  • Unified Communications

IT Issue
Personal Productivity

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Wortell

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