4-page Case Study
Posted: 2/19/2013
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LA Fitness Fitness Giant Upgrades Conferencing Solution to Improve Communications and Collaboration

Going to the gym is a process of continuous self-improvement. LA Fitness helps its customers achieve their goals for personal improvement by providing excellent facilities and highly motivated trainers. Internally, LA Fitness also has goals to provide excellent service. One way it has achieved this goal is by continually improving its communications capabilities so staff members in the clubs have access to the right information and systems to handle customer interactions professionally and efficiently. LA Fitness uses Microsoft Lync Server 2010 to provide voice, conferencing, instant messaging, and presence. It recently tested Microsoft Lync Server 2013 to understand how it can continue to improve employee communications and collaboration. With the deployment, LA Fitness plans to improve mobility support, add conferencing capabilities, and use advanced high-availability options.

Situation
LA Fitness operates state-of-the-art fitness clubs across the United States and Canada and is always seeking innovative ways to improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of its members. LA Fitness prides itself on its highly trained staff, who handles customer requests professionally and efficiently.

To help its staff provide excellent customer service, LA Fitness has invested heavily in its communications systems. Efficient communications are essential to help LA Fitness employees increase sales, promote customer loyalty, and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.

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* I am very excited about Lync Server 2013. With the new high-availability options, persistent chat, improved conferencing options, and enhanced mobile capabilities, it has a lot to offer us. *

Michael Spruel
Telecommunication Manager, LA Fitness

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LA Fitness first deployed a Microsoft communications solution in 2009 and subsequently upgraded to Microsoft Lync Server 2010 in 2011. LA Fitness uses Lync for all of its communications needs—from voice and conferencing to automated programs. Lync also interoperates with the other Microsoft products LA Fitness uses, such as Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft Office, to provide presence and enable communications.

LA Fitness improves productivity by integrating Lync presence and communications options into its line-of-business applications to foster communication. “Lync is tied into everything I do—customer service, front-desk management, updating billing information, and renewing memberships. With the presence information I get from Lync, I can reach out to a colleague and resolve customer issues much faster,” says Lea Roelle, Member Service Manager at LA Fitness.

Outside of its clubs, LA Fitness has additional communications needs to support. Many employees spend a great deal of time traveling to various clubs they manage or support. These employees need mobile options to help them stay in touch, and LA Fitness needed better support for mobile devices, especially through Lync Server. It also wanted to promote the use of video conferencing between employees. In addition, LA Fitness sought to ensure redundancy of Lync because so much of its staff relies on Lync to get work done quickly and efficiently.

Solution
After testing Microsoft Lync Server 2013, LA Fitness sees many reasons to deploy it. “I am very excited about Lync Server 2013. With the new high-availability options, persistent chat, improved conferencing options, and enhanced mobile capabilities, it has a lot to offer us,” says Michael Spruel, Telecommunication Manager at LA Fitness.

Management and High Availability
Lync Server 2013 expands on the high-availability options that were available in the 2010 version. While Lync Server 2010 had pools that provided extra server capacity, Lync Server 2013 introduces the concept of linked pools

Lync Server 2013 also expands the role of the front-end server to store contacts. In the event of a Microsoft SQL Server database failure, LA Fitness employees will no longer lose access to their contacts. “I’m glad we can configure Lync Server so that we are no longer dependent on the database for critical functionality,” says Spruel. LA Fitness is also happy that the monitoring server role has been incorporated in the front-end server role as well, which simplifies the environment.

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* Delivering video is something our employees have been asking for and it works great. Our corporate staff will use it to deliver more robust presentations to the staff in the clubs. *

Michael Spruel
Telecommunication Manager,
LA Fitness

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Microsoft has also added support for dynamic memory management to better support Lync Server virtualization. “We don’t virtualize Lync Server today, but the fact that we could virtualize everything is appealing to save on space, power, and cooling,” says Spruel.

LA Fitness relies heavily Lync Server response groups. Lync Server 2013 expands the server of role-based access control to response groups with different levels of permissions for editing response group settings. Enabling the groups to self-manage the response group settings will make it easier for the groups to set up the functions to meet their needs and decrease the burden on administrators.

Conferencing
LA Fitness is interested in the capability to deliver videos in Microsoft PowerPoint presentations during a Lync meeting. “Delivering video is something our employees have been asking for and it works great,” says Spruel. “Our corporate staff will use it to deliver more robust presentations to the staff in the clubs. They can show inspirational videos rather than just PowerPoint slides. It’s a better experience for everybody.”

LA Fitness wants to further improve communications between staff members by encouraging the use of video during calls and conferences. To facilitate the use of video, LA Fitness is purchasing monitors with built-in video cameras. The Microsoft Lync 2013 client provides improved video support by enabling LA Fitness employees to preview what their camera is showing before they turn on video and by delivering up to five video streams during a conference.

Client Options
With Lync 2013, employees have many ways to access their communications capabilities including persistent chat. “Now that persistent chat is integrated into the Lync client, we will deploy it,” says Spruel. “I like the capability to send out an announcement to all of our clubs. With persistent chat, our clubs get the notice and then can go back and reference it along with any follow-up instructions.”

LA Fitness also sees value in the fact that Lync 2013 provides Skype federation with voice and chat interactions with Skype users. It believes that Skype federation will facilitate communication with vendors who do not have access to Lync.

Another option for the company’s vendors to join conferences by using the Lync Web App. “I love the new Lync Web App because it offers desktop sharing and voice and video,” says Spruel. “Everyone gets the full Lync experience.”

LA Fitness is encouraged that Lync 2013 mobile clients are available for major phone platforms. Through their mobile phones, employees can access much of the same functionality as in the Lync 2013 desktop client, including VoIP calling and contact management. “Now our VPs out on the road or managers who have just stepped out of their office have presence from their mobile devices, so people know they can get in touch with them,” says Spruel.

Benefits
With the deployment of Lync Server 2013, LA Fitness will continue to improve the communications services it provides to employees. By improving communications and fostering collaboration, LA Fitness can maintain its high levels of customer service. “Lync Server 2013 provides a lot of new capabilities that we didn’t have with Lync Server 2010,” says Spruel “I’m really happy with the decision to deploy our Microsoft communications solution and I’m looking forward to deploying Lync Server 2013 and pushing it out to the organization.”

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* I love the new Lync Web App because it offers desktop sharing and voice and video. Everyone gets the full Lync experience. *

Michael Spruel
Telecommunication Manager,
LA Fitness

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Improves Availability
LA Fitness depends on Lync Server for all of its internal communications. It has also embedded Lync Server functionality into its most common processes for serving customers. Employees expect access to the presence information and instant communications that Lync 2013 provides. Because Lync Server is so important to LA Fitness, it will benefit from having a fully redundant architecture to prevent unplanned downtime and make it easier to perform maintenance without causing an outage.

Raises Productivity
LA Fitness has seen significant improvements in employee productivity due to its Lync Server deployment. Individuals no longer waste time trying to locate the right people to talk to or looking up phone numbers. With the integration of presence information into Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft Exchange Server, employees can see at a glance if the person they need to talk to is available. If not, they can easily find someone else. “SharePoint Server is a significant element of how we operate, and we have leveraged the communications capabilities provided by the interoperation of Lync Server with SharePoint Server, which makes us all more productive in the long run,” explains George Bedar, CIO at LA Fitness.

By using the Lync 2013 mobile client, LA Fitness can extend these productivity benefits outside of the office. “Just having presence on mobile devices makes it easier for people to get in touch,” says Spruel. “For our VPs on the road or for a manager interacting with employees at the club, that extra availability is really important.”

Builds Teams
The incorporation of more video into daily communications at LA Fitness will help to improve the bonds that form between employees. “Seeing video enhances the communications experience,” explains Spruel. “It allows interpersonal experience that is lost in just a phone conversation.”

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 LA Fitness products and services, visit the website at:
www.lafitness.com

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 20000 employees

Organization Profile

Founded in 1984, LA Fitness operates sports clubs at more than 500 locations throughout North America.


Business Situation

LA Fitness wanted a unified voice platform that would help it reduce costs and meet its large-capacity needs while also providing a reliable, flexible solution that was easy to manage and maintain.


Solution

LA Fitness is upgrading its unified communications solution to Microsoft Lync Server 2013 for its robust enterprise voice capabilities.


Benefits

  • Ensures communications availability
  • Resolves customer issues faster
  • More efficient operations
  • Builds stronger employee relationships


Software and Services
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2013
  • Microsoft Lync 2013
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft Outlook 2013

Vertical Industries
  • Other Services
  • Health & Personal Care

Country/Region
United States

Business Need
  • Business Productivity
  • Unified Communications

IT Issue
Personal Productivity

Languages
English

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