2-page Partner Case Study
Posted: 8/20/2013
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Chinook Communications Hosting Provider Extends Conferencing and HD Video to Mobile Devices in Multitenant Setups

To expedite extending mobile capabilities to its Microsoft Lync Server multitenant hosted customers, Chinook Communications joined the Microsoft Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack Technology Adoption Program. The partner expects the new Hosting Pack to provide richer mobile capabilities, enhanced online conferencing, and improved, more cost-effective communications for customers, and expanded value-added opportunities for its own business.

Business Needs
Started in 2006, Microsoft Partner Network member Chinook Communications has built its business on providing small and medium-size (SMB) businesses with hosted, best-in-class phone, conferencing, email, collaboration, and other business services at a fraction of the cost of implementing comparable on-premises solutions. By offering enterprise-grade technologies as web-based services, Chinook enables customers to focus on their strategic operations rather than maintaining their technology infrastructure.

By the end of 2012, many Chinook customers had already shed their expensive, out-of-date private-branch exchange phone systems, in favor of moving to the partner’s hosted Microsoft Lync Server 2010 multitenant solution. That solution made advanced collaboration and communications tools affordable for SMB customers who would not have been able to afford a dedicated private cloud–based Lync installation of their own.

The Lync 2010 multitenant environment also created more opportunities for Chinook to provide additional services. For example, in April 2013 Chinook was the first partner to launch Cloud Contact Center, a full suite of hosted Lync-native contact center functionality powered by Clarity Connect.

One thing missing in the Lync 2010 multitenant environment was a mobile client. “All of my customers wanted the Lync Mobile client so they could take advantage of the conferencing and enhanced video on all of their tablets and smartphones, but that wasn’t available in the Lync 2010 multitenant solution,” says Steve Schwartz, President of Chinook Communications.

To address that lack and add enhanced video and software updates in a Lync Server 2013 multitenant environment, Microsoft created the Microsoft Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack. To be ready to deploy the new Hosting Pack quickly upon release, Chinook Communications joined the Microsoft Technology Adoption Program (TAP) for the Hosting Pack to test early releases of the software with a few of its customers.

* The multitenant Lync Server 2013 solution makes it cost-effective to provide hosted Lync solutions to smaller businesses.” *

Steve Schwartz
President, Chinook Communications

One of those customers was Lionfish, a full-service marketing firm based in Seattle. Lionfish had been on the Chinook-hosted Lync 2010 multitenant platform for about a year and a half and was very happy with the results. When Chinook offered it the opportunity to test the new Mobile client and HD video capabilities available with the Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack, Lionfish enthusiastically accepted.

Lionfish users found it very quick and easy to download and install the Lync Mobile client on an iPhone, iPad, and Android phone, and equally easy to connect to the Lync environment from those and other devices. Even more impressive to the users were the video capabilities. “The visual experience of having video on my phone is awesome,” says Nic Wildeman, Principal at Lionfish.

The feedback from the initial testing was so positive that Chinook plans to go into production with the released version of the Hosting Pack and migrate its customers as soon as possible. The partner also plans to move Cloud Contact Center—its hosted contact center powered by Clarity Connect—to the new Hosting Pack soon thereafter.

When Chinook has fully deployed the Microsoft Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack in production, the partner expects the following benefits:

Richer Mobile Capabilities
The availability of the Lync 2013 Mobile client for multitenant users will provide Chinook customers with a familiar, consistent experience on Windows, Apple, and Android smartphones and tablets. “With this multitenant version of Lync Server, we've opened up this whole paradigm to mobility,” says Schwartz. “Everybody wants mobility so it will help us to expand our market.”

From the customer side, Wildeman is also optimistic about the new mobility support. “The opportunity to connect and collaborate with team members and customers, using all of the richness that is Lync, regardless of the device, is awesome,” he says. “It will allow us to work in the fullest possible Lync environment wherever we are.”

Enhanced Online Conferencing
With the new Hosting Pack, Chinook is able to extend Lync multiparty HD video to its customers’ mobile devices. “The video on my phone is just as crystal clear as on my laptop,” says Wildeman. “We had video before, but now it is a much better experience.”

Improved, More Cost-Effective Communications
Taking advantage of the multitenant architecture in the Lync Server 2013 Hosting Pack, Chinook is able to provide affordable Lync solutions to companies with 250 seats and less. “The multitenant Lync Server 2013 solution makes it cost-effective to provide hosted Lync solutions to smaller businesses,” says Schwartz. ”Without it, we would have to build a dedicated private cloud for each tenant, which wouldn’t be economically feasible for smaller businesses.”

Lionfish estimates that it has already saved about US$50,000 in the last year with the Lync Server 2010 multitenant solution. “By moving to Lync, we consolidated our voice, webcast system, and conference calling service all with Chinook; and we sold all of our telephony hardware because now it's all soft phones,” says Wildeman. He expects the new Mobile client in the Lync 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack to add even more savings.

Expanded Market Opportunities
The supported multitenant architecture in the Hosting Pack is already creating some new value-added opportunities for Chinook. One such example is the hosted version of the Cloud Contact Center, which Chinook plans to quickly move to the new Lync Server 2013 multitenant environment. “Cloud Contact Center is a big add-on for us,” says Schwartz. “Companies between 100 and 250 users need Contact Center capability, so this offering will help us sell to bigger companies.”

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Solution Overview

Partner Profile
Chinook Communications, based in Seattle, Washington, offers small and medium-sized businesses affordable, hosted, best-in-class phone, conferencing, email, collaboration, and other business services.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2013

Vertical Industries
Hosters & ISPs

United States