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Posted: 2/19/2014
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Sungard Software and Services Firm Unites Global Workforce, Cuts Costs with Unified Communications Upgrade

SunGard, an IT solutions provider, wanted to enhance communications among its global offices. It chose to use Microsoft unified communications tools and is currently upgrading to the latest release of Microsoft Lync. SunGard anticipates that it will save significantly on its monthly phone bills by using Lync. Plus, the new capabilities are improving morale through a “one team” approach, increasing employee responsiveness and easing IT management.

Business Needs
Although no company can be all things to all people, SunGard satisfies an array of technology customers. The company has four business divisions: SunGard Availability Services, which has 5 million square feet of data center and operations space; SunGard Financial Systems, which provides software and IT services to 15,000 financial services companies; SunGard K-12 Education, which provides software products that support more than 8 million students; and SunGard Public Sector, which develops software products that help more than 115 million citizens.

* We’ll make gains with our customers through the greater responsiveness and additional interaction capabilities that we get by using Lync 2013. *

Pete Anello
Enterprise Messaging Team Lead, SunGard

As a large, global company, SunGard faced difficulties with working cohesively, especially across geographies. “Our teams are dispersed over multiple continents, but we still need to work closely together,” says Pete Anello, Enterprise Messaging Team Lead at SunGard. “As we trimmed travel budgets, we looked for tools to help employees everywhere effectively interact so that we could stay productive and remain responsive to colleagues and customers alike.”

SunGard historically grew through acquisition, and each newly acquired business unit came with not only its own processes and culture, but also with its own technology infrastructure. “Our disparate phone systems did not connect to any core telephony system, which impeded employee communication and made it difficult to manage the environment. We decided to launch an intense initiative to bring all the systems together,” says Anello.

In 2009, the SunGard IT team evaluated its unified communications options and chose to roll out Microsoft Office Communications Server companywide. “We conducted a thorough analysis of Cisco Jabber, Jive, and Avaya unified communications systems, but we found that the Microsoft solution made the most sense for us,” says Anello. “We were already familiar with how to manage our Microsoft investments, so the support and operations responsibilities were not daunting, and the integration with other Microsoft products in our environment was a huge plus. After all, bringing tools together makes them more effective.”

The company saw results right away when one of its New Zealand offices needed a new phone system and balked at the cost of Avaya technology, which was standard in that region. Instead, the local team decided to deploy Office Communications Server with enterprise voice and Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging. “Their implementation was an incredible success, and it proved that a software-based system was a viable solution,” says Anello. “Soon, all of our Asia offices wanted it.”

Since that time, the company’s use of Microsoft Office Communications Server (now Microsoft Lync) has spread, and SunGard has consistently upgraded to take advantage of new capabilities. As of February 2014, SunGard is nearing completion of its upgrade from Microsoft Lync Server 2010 to Microsoft Lync Server 2013. Some of the features that make the latest release of Lync especially appealing to SunGard include:

  • Pool pairing, which provides uninterrupted failover capabilities from one SunGard location to another. “Employees can keep working despite a data center failure, which was not possible in the past,” says Anello.

  • Lync Mobile clients, which the company uses on Android, Apple, and Windows Phone devices. “We will be heavy users of Lync Mobile because of the high-quality audio/video experience and the ability to keep calls on-network,” says Anello.

The company plans to expand its use of enterprise voice and explore more opportunities for federation with customers. “We’ll make gains with our customers through the greater responsiveness and additional interaction capabilities that we get by using Lync,” says Anello.

SunGard set up its Lync Server 2013 infrastructure in three data centers. Each runs four physical servers on Windows Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V virtualization technology; combined, these servers support 36 virtual machines. Just three IT employees manage email, Lync, and peripherals for the entire company. Over several upgrades, that team has honed its implementation processes and emphasizes the importance of knowing the environment prior to embarking on such a project. “A network’s structure can pose tricky challenges, so it is critical to be aware of local firewall rules, routes, and bandwidth limitations,” says Anello.

SunGard has found that using Lync helps unify its company and support greater collaboration across the diverse businesses. “Our employees love the Lync toolset,” says Anello. “By implementing Lync, we can give everyone advanced collaboration tools and have all offices and employees on a level playing field.”

Employee Satisfaction
SunGard employees have been pleased with the expanded unified communications tools that the company has made available for them. The evidence? The consistent growth in Lync adoption and usage rates. For example, in the last quarter of 2013, SunGard employees used Lync for 1.64 million minutes of peer-to-peer calls, compared with 1.03 million minutes in the first quarter of 2013. “Our employees aren’t shy about their opinions, and I’ve heard nothing but positive things from them about Lync,” says Anello.

Cost Savings
SunGard expects that its investment in Lync will help it conserve costs for years to come. “We already see plenty of soft cost savings based on travel avoidance and increased efficiency, but there are hard cost savings, too,” says Anello. “Between on-network routing of calls and Lync Mobile, we will be able to reduce our monthly telephony costs by a substantial amount.”

Enhanced Collaboration
SunGard employees are making the most of Lync capabilities—from enterprise voice and instant messaging to audio conferencing and presence functionality—in creative ways. For example, an operations team that is split between India and the United States used to function as two separate units. After the upgrade to the latest release of Lync, team members came up with a “one team, one room” concept and now run an around-the-clock Lync meeting between the two facilities to foster that theme. As employees begin and end their shifts, they greet colleagues in the other office, virtually interacting as though they were in the same room. “The ability to work together in real time makes that team—and teams like it throughout the company—more responsive,” says Anello. “It’s changed the paradigm, connecting employees to one another and reminding them that they are part of a larger team.”

Consistent, Flexible Experience
SunGard employees appreciate that they have familiar tools to choose from to do their work from anywhere, under just about any circumstance. “Lync has quickly become our flagship solution because employees love that they can communicate—and be contacted—in the ways that they prefer,” says Anello.

And that experience holds true on the management side, too. “The fact that we can provide so many capabilities with so little management overhead is testament to how easy it is to support Lync, in large part because it’s so well-integrated with the tools that we use,” says Anello.

For more information about Microsoft Lync Server 2013, go to:

Solution Overview

Organization Size: 17000 employees

Organization Profile

Wayne, Pennsylvania–based SunGard provides software, processing solutions, and technology services to 25,000 customers in more than 70 countries.

  • HP ProLiant DL380 servers with 25 local hard drives and 192 GB of memory per server

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2013
  • Microsoft Lync 2013
  • Windows Server 2012 R2

Vertical Industries
IT Services

United States

Business Need
  • Business Productivity
  • Unified Communications