4-page Case Study
Posted: 2/19/2013
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EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services Limo Company Delivers Improved Business Processes with Communications Solution

EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services is a personal executive travel service favored by CEOs, dignitaries, executives, and entertainers around the world. EmpireCLS differentiates itself by promising superior service and uses technology to deliver on that promise. With a highly mobile workforce and two large call center staffs, coordinating the effort to completely satisfy each customer’s requirements can be challenging. To provide the clear communications required to deliver on its promises of superior service, the company deployed Microsoft Lync Server 2013 to provide voice, conferencing, mobile access, instant messaging, and presence capabilities. By using Lync Server 2013, EmpireCLS finds its staff can communicate better to provide services for its clients.

Situation
Empire CLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services helps people travel in style, offering cars such as the Maybach and Rolls-Royce Silver Spur for clients including Hollywood celebrities, Grammy Award–winning artists, and Fortune 500 executives. However, luxury transportation services are not just about arriving in style. Arriving safely and on time is just as important. Empire has more than 1,000 employees who use technology to develop innovative processes and services to ensure that the company always provides excellent customer service.

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* Most of our employees are not at their desks, and now they can access their office phone through the Lync 2013 client from anywhere. *

Alan Bourassa
CIO, EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services

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Clear communication is critical to successful operations at EmpireCLS. Communication is complicated by the fact that the vast majority of its employees are mobile or remote. They might be at hotels, meetings, events, or in cars but are rarely at the office. A large call center staff takes reservations, and a large dispatch staff ensures that chauffeurs arrive at the right place at the right time. When a customer needs a car immediately, the reservation and dispatch staff must work together to arrange service.

Customers also need to communicate with chauffeurs, so EmpireCLS sends a text message to each customer with a chauffeur’s name, location, and mobile phone number just prior to pick-up time. Although this process works, EmpireCLS would prefer not to give out chauffeurs’ mobile phone numbers. The company also cannot monitor or record calls that customers place directly to chauffeurs, so it cannot review service quality or verify a customer’s requests in the event of a misunderstanding.

Customers also frequently call the reservations staff and ask to be put in contact with their chauffeurs. The staff then calls the chauffeurs on their mobile phones and coordinates the call, which ties up multiple phone lines on the reservations system.

Empire CLS had several communications systems in place to address these challenges. It used a private-branch exchange (PBX) to manage its phone calls. It provided its chauffeurs with proprietary devices that tracked cars’ locations and enabled two-way radio for communication with dispatchers. It also deployed a Microsoft communications solution including Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 to provide instant messaging, presence, and voice communications and Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007 R2 for web conferencing. EmpireCLS widely adopted the Live Meeting hosted conferencing service to hold meetings both internally and with customers over the Internet. It found that Live Meeting was an excellent way to hold virtual meetings. It used Polycom CX5000 panoramic video conferencing units to facilitate large meetings in conference room.

The Office Communications Server deployment was complicated by the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that EmpireCLS uses to support about 90 percent of its employees. To provide virtual desktops for about 200 reservation agents and dispatchers, the company uses Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services. Everyone else uses virtual desktops hosted on Windows Server Hyper-V technology. The Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2 client could not be deployed as part of the virtual desktop solution, which meant users could not access a communications solution that would help to solve some of their communications challenges.

Though EmpireCLS saw great potential for Office Communications Server, the solution was never widely adopted. When EmpireCLS learned that the latest generation of communications technology, Microsoft Lync Server 2013, would support its VDI environment, it immediately decided to be a part of an early adopter program.

Solution
In addition to support for VDI environments, Lync Server 2013 provides support for multi-user video conferencing, desktop sharing, voice calling including mobile voice over IP (VoIP), persistent chat, and many other communications capabilities. EmpireCLS will deploy Lync Server 2013 to 500 employees when the product is released. It will also provide the Microsoft Lync 2013 mobile client for its 600 chauffeurs.

Delivering Mobile VoIP and Meetings
EmpireCLS fully integrated Lync Server 2013 with its PBX system so that employees can make phone calls from the Microsoft Lync 2013 client. “Our goal is to retire our PBX equipment,” says Alan Bourassa, CIO at EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services. “Today we have simultaneous ring so employees can choose how to answer calls. Most of our employees are not at their desks, and now they can access their office phone through the Lync 2013 client from anywhere.”

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* We have failover within each data center and between the data centers. We have tested it extensively and are very confident in the reliability of our Lync Server 2013 solution. *

Alan Bourassa
CIO, EmpireCLS Worldwide
Chauffeured Services

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The company deployed Jabra PRO 9470 headsets to all of its employees to use for Lync calls. Employees can answer both their office lines and mobile lines through the headsets. “We love using the Jabra headsets,” says Bray Doherty, Systems Engineering and Project Management at EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services. “I can go anywhere in the building and still take a call with the headset.”

EmpireCLS has also migrated its meetings from Live Meeting to Lync Server 2013. Employees can now join meetings through Lync 2013 or by clicking the Join Meeting button on the meeting reminders that pop up through the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client.

EmpireCLS is also using Lync Web App, which provides voice and video capabilities so that clients and partners can easily join meetings. The company is also using Lync meetings for sales presentations and to show videos within Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, to help clients understand the level of service it can provide.

Changing Business Processes
EmpireCLS is using the Lync 2013 mobile client and Windows Phone 8 to extend calling capabilities to its chauffeurs. The chauffeurs carry Windows phone 8 devices and have company phone numbers so that dispatchers and customers can dial their extensions. Chauffeurs can answer the calls through the Lync 2013 mobile client.

EmpireCLS is using Lync persistent chat to ensure that communications between the reservations call center and dispatch center are properly managed. Lync persistent chat, now accessed from the Microsoft Lync 2013 client, enables teams to meet and collaborate in virtual rooms in real time. The discussions are searchable and persist over time, enabling efficient information sharing. “By using persistent chat, we can configure instant messaging to work similar to a response group,” says Doherty. “We can assign instant messaging requests to a particular person, but if that person doesn’t respond, we know someone else is monitoring the chat room and can answer the request.”

The IT team at EmpireCLS is using desktop sharing in Lync 2013 as its primary support solution. “When someone calls our help desk, the support person launches a sharing session,” says Bourassa. “Desktop sharing makes is easy to help them through a process or even just to show them how to format something in Microsoft Word.”

High Availability for Critical Infrastructure
Lync Server 2013 is a critical piece of infrastructure for EmpireCLS and must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to facilitate communications. The Lync Server software is running on Windows Server 2012 and is fully virtualized using Hyper-V virtualization. EmpireCLS has deployed Lync Server at two data centers for geographic redundancy. In addition, within each data center are two fully redundant pools. “We have failover within each data center and between the data centers,” says Bourassa. “We have tested it extensively and are very confident in the reliability of our Lync Server 2013 solution.”

Benefits
EmpireCLS is using Lync Server 2013 to improve its business processes by using Lync meetings for sales calls with customers and by enabling mobile communications with its chauffeurs and staff. With support for VDI, the staff will now access the solution within the virtual desktop just like their other applications, which will help to ensure rapid adoption.

Improving Business Processes
EmpireCLS uses technology to differentiate its services from its competitors and Lync Server 2013 provides the communications capabilities to do that. “When we do sales presentations, our potential clients are impressed to see that a luxury transportation company uses this level of technology to make the experience a good one,” says Bourassa. “Because we use Lync 2013 voice and video to sell to our customers, they can see the level of technology that we deliver in every layer within our organization.”

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* We love using the Jabra headsets. I can go anywhere in the building and still take a call with the headset. *

Bray Doherty
Systems Engineering and Project Management, EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services

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The company has improved collaboration processes between reservations and dispatch by using persistent chat rooms. Reservations agents can communicate instantly with dispatchers to find out the availability of a car and keep customers up to date. Having the log of the instant messages helps both the reservations agent and dispatcher because they can go back and review the details of the conversation to ensure they know their customers’ requirements.

EmpireCLS is also using Windows Phone 8 and the Lync 2013 mobile client so that chauffeurs can place voice calls through Lync. “With Lync Mobile, we can provide our chauffeurs with company extensions, which makes it easier for dispatch to call them,” says Doherty. “When a customer asks for a chauffeur, the dispatcher can also transfer the call to the extension rather than initiating a three-way call.” Because all of the calls are internal, dispatchers can record them to preserve conversations between the customer and the chauffeurs for quality control.

The company also expects that people will use video conferencing more consistently with Lync 2013. “We love the Microsoft HD webcams,” says Bourassa. “Our CEO is pushing video calls within the company to provide face-to-face dialog and ensure that people stay focused on their calls.”

Reducing Costs
Eliminating three-way calls from dispatch to the chauffeurs reduces the number of phone lines the dispatch center uses, so the company can avoid adding phone lines as it grows. Empire CLS has also reduced costs by moving its conferencing services in-house rather than paying for a monthly service.

By using Hyper-V to virtualize its Lync Server deployment, EmpireCLS estimates that it avoided purchasing 16 physical servers. EmpireCLS realized significant savings by avoiding the cost for new servers, in addition to the associated power and cooling costs.

Driving Internal Adoption
Now that Lync 2013 can be deployed on a VDI desktop, employees have full access to all capabilities in the Lync client. “We won’t be supporting local software on our desktops anymore,” says Doherty. “Our employees will have an easier time accessing the client and they will have a much more reliable experience connecting from outside of our office.”

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 EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services products and services, call (800) 451-5466 or visit the website at:
www.empirecls.com

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 1000 employees

Organization Profile

EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services is one of the largest chauffeured transportation companies in the world. Based in Secaucus, New Jersey, it operates in more than 700 cities.


Business Situation

EmpireCLS had deployed Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, but with much of its staff using VDI deployments, the company found it difficult to fully utilize the technology.


Solution

EmpireCLS deployed Lync Server 2013, which fully supports VDI deployments. Now Empire is taking advantage of Lync to make calls while out of the office.


Benefits

  • Impressive technology for customer presentations
  • Mobile client enables direct access to chauffeurs
  • Reduced costs through virtualization
  • VDI support drives adoption


Software and Services
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2013
  • Microsoft Lync 2013
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Phone 8
  • Microsoft Outlook 2013

Vertical Industries
Transportation

Country/Region
United States

Business Need
  • Business Productivity
  • Unified Communications

IT Issue
Personal Productivity

Languages
English

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