As a central part of its mandate, Argentina’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights needed to provide more efficient service to citizens nationwide. The organization’s IT team plays a central role in enabling the ministry to meet this mission.
To trim operating costs, simplify IT management, and provide employees with enhanced collaboration tools in a single, easy-to-use interface, the ministry sought to upgrade its communications infrastructure. Based on its experience using Microsoft Office Communications
Server 2007, the ministry was eager to evaluate improvements to the design and interoperability of the next generation of the technology. In 2011, ministry leaders opted to upgrade to Microsoft Lync Server 2010. Now, the organization benefits from lower costs,
faster IT service delivery, and a 40 percent gain in productivity by relying on a single communications infrastructure.
Ministry of Justice and Human Rights
operates within the federal government’s executive branch, assisting the president’s office in all matters related to legal affairs and human rights.
The ministry has 200 administrative offices throughout the country. In addition, it maintains numerous remote locations called Sending and Receiving Units, which are used to processes criminal background information. The people who work across this geographically
dispersed network of offices need to share case information, reports, and other data on a daily basis. “Employees throughout the ministry need to process an enormous amount of time-sensitive information that relates to critical concerns like public safety,”
says Daniel Padlog Lapetina, General Director of Information Management in Argentina’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. “To do their jobs effectively, agency workers need access to reliable, modern, and highly secure communications technology that lets
them quickly connect to and collaborate with colleagues. And it’s our role in IT to continuously improve support for that mandate in the most cost-effective way possible.”
For decades, the ministry relied on an analog private branch exchange (PBX) telephone system for voice communication. This system required a significant investment in hardware, and it was difficult and costly to add extensions to accommodate the organization’s
growing number of employees. To trim costs, the ministry eventually migrated to Cisco IP SoftPhone technology, which enabled the organization to deliver voice communication services over its managed data network. “We gained additional flexibility with the
use of IP PBX solution from Cisco, but it meant we had to license and maintain software components from multiple vendors to get the features we wanted,” says Padlog Lapetina.
||We’ve achieved 40 percent greater productivity by using Microsoft Lync Server 2010 to standardize and speed up our IT help-desk service.
| Daniel Padlog Lapetina
General Director, Information Management, Argentina’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights
In recent years, an increasing number of the ministry’s employees have come to rely on desktop computers, portable PCs, and mobile devices to perform their work tasks. To promotegreater
productivity and flexibility
, IT leaders wanted to enable employees to access voice communication—in addition to collaboration tools, such as videoconferencing and instant messaging—on their PCs or smartphones.
In 2007, IT leaders initiated a pilot test of Jabber, an open source instant messaging software tool. IT staff appreciated the ability to quickly connect with colleagues. But as managers looked to extend the service to additional staff, they encountered
issues with application instability. “Jabber gave us a simple solution for real-time messaging, but it lacked the scalability and the integration capabilities we needed to make it truly effective for our organization,” says Padlog Lapetina.
As IT staff continued to investigate the market for unified communications technologies, they placed a priority on low cost of ownership. In line with the federal government’s overarching initiative to control operating costs, the ministry needed a solution
that was easy to deploy, and one that could interoperate with and even enhance the functionality of its existing PBX system. To protect its technology investment and support IT efficiency, leaders further emphasized the importance of ease of management. Administrators
need to quickly apply security policies, distribute software updates, and provide remote assistance to workers, regardless of their location.
In 2008, the ministry chose to deploy the Windows Server 2008 operating system, together with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. The IT team also took full advantage of Active Directory Domain Services, a feature
of Windows Server, to create a centralized repository for employee contact data. This meant that employees were able to access a global address list to quickly find and connect with colleagues in locations throughout Argentina. “Remote or mobile employees
outside of the firewall still needed to use a virtual private network to connect, but for the first time, we had a common communications infrastructure to link the majority of our employees nationwide,” says Padlog Lapetina.
With its adoption of a unified communications solution from Microsoft, the ministry was able to ease the administrative burden on its IT staff while providing advanced productivity tools to its employees. As leaders looked ahead to the continued growth of
the ministry’s remote workforce, they identified several additional capabilities that would help build on their existing solution. The ministry wanted to find a way to integrate its unified communications solution with its IP PBX switchboard. “This became
an important requirement when it came to assigning numbers to the corresponding internal extensions,” says Padlog Lapetina. Leaders also wanted a solution that offered enhanced connectivity and scalability.
In 2011, leaders saw an opportunity to make the most of
Software Assurance benefits
through the ministry’s Microsoft Enterprise Agreement to upgrade toMicrosoft Lync Server 2010
wanted to take advantage of the solution’s enhanced presence, instant messaging, conferencing, and enterprise voice capabilities. They also noted the importance of the improved interoperability with traditional PBX systems.
The IT team sought to improve the overall network availability of the ministry’s communications services. It also wanted to connect the solution to its IP PBX switchboard. This would let the ministry reuse existing telephony components andextend
the voice communication capabilities in Lync Server 2010 to ensure optimum call quality.
“One of the most compelling reasons we chose to upgrade to Lync Server 2010 is that we knew we didn’t have to rip and replace our previous investments,” says Padlog Lapetina. “Lync coexists with the switchboards we already own and extends new capabilities
to the services that are an integral part of our operations.”
||Lync coexists with the switchboards we already own and extends new capabilities to the services that are an integral part of our operations.
| Daniel Padlog Lapetina
General Director, Information Management, Argentina’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights
To implement Lync Server 2010, the ministry worked with
Delany Technology, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network
based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. With help from the Delany Technology team, the ministry performed high-availability cluster testing of the solution, while running Office Communications Server
2007 in coexistence mode. The joint team also tested integration between Lync Server 2010 and the BlackBerry mobile devices that a number of ministry employees use.
After the ministry deployed the solution, IT leaders noted how quickly people throughout the organization adopted it. As part of the first phase of user training, Padlog Lapetina’s team sent a reference guide to all employees. The team also set up a help-desk
service that incorporates the solution’s instant messaging utility, which it still uses today to help resolve IT issues. “We were amazed at people’s immediate proficiency with the Lync client,” says Padlog Lapetina. “And our decision to use the tool as a way
to encourage people to become more comfortable with it worked extremely well. We got a first-hand look at how different users were interacting with the software, and how fast they were learning and adapting it to their work style.”
Padlog Lapetina and other IT leaders have received feedback from numerous employees about the user experience enhancements offered in the solution, including those derived fromintegration
with other Microsoft products. Lync Server 2010 works with Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SharePoint Server, and Microsoft Office applications to support improved collaboration. “Lync goes well beyond providing communications functionality,” says
Padlog Lapetina. “It gives people access to features like presence from right inside their email inbox or while they’re working on a spreadsheet. This is very important for us because it allows us to get more value from existing investments and provide new
capabilities without replacing other technologies. In this sense, Microsoft offers technology integration possibilities that other vendors simply can’t match, which is the key to lowering our total cost of ownership.”
The ministry’s IT team anticipates expanding its use of Lync Server 2010. In the coming months, the ministry plans to kick off a project to create a unified network that connects its communications systems to those within Argentina’s other national government
agencies. This project will involve enabling federation with agencies that use Lync Server 2010 or previous versions of the technology. “Our goal is to develop an expanded collaboration platform to increase the transparency and effectiveness of the work we
do on behalf of citizens,” says Padlog Lapetina.
By implementing a unified communications solution that offers enhanced features, improved interoperability, and a simplified management experience, Argentina’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights has benefitted in several ways. Says Padlog Lapetina,
“Thanks to Lync Server 2010, we’re able to achieve an
integrated communications environment among users, desktops, applications, and telephone systems
. We’ve increased our productivity, and today, we can offer better levels of communication service and functionality to office locations where previously we
only had access to traditional telephone systems. By empowering our employees to work more efficiently, the ministry can better meet its mission to promote public safety and justice for all of Argentina’s citizens.”
Reduced Costs with a Single, Unified Communications Platform
Through its adoption of Microsoft Lync Server 2010, the ministry has been able to consolidate on a single, extensible communications platform, which has helped to trim infrastructure licensing, and maintenance expenses. Also, because the ministry’s IT
team can use the solution to remotely troubleshoot help-desk requests, the organization has reduced its travel expenses.
Improved IT Service Delivery
By using Lync Server 2010, the ministry’s IT team can focus on providing more responsive service to employees and citizens. “Lync enables us to use fewer technologies, so now we’re able to deepen our knowledge of the applications we support,” says Padlog
Lapetina. “This means we can concentrate our efforts on improving the IT services we currently provide and expand into new service areas.” In addition, the ministry is able to extend rich communication tools to more employees throughout the organization.
Increased Productivity by 40 Percent
Because the IT team has been able to use Lync Server 2010 to reduce its system maintenance burden and accelerate IT service delivery, the team has increased productivity levels. “We’ve achieved 40 percent greater productivity by using Microsoft Lync
Server 2010 to standardize and speed up our IT help-desk service,” says Padlog Lapetina. “Now we can use the solution to stay closely connected to the 3,000 people who work in our offices throughout the country so that we can operate in a much more agile way.”
Microsoft applications, solutions, and services help to empower public servants and government employees to share critical information and serve their constituents more efficiently.
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For more information about Argentina’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, call (54) (11) 5300-4000 or visit the website at:
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