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Posted: 7/16/2013
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MWH Global "Wet Infrastructure Firm" Uses Collaboration Solution to Achieve Competitive Edge

MWH Global believes that drawing on the collective expertise of its workforce is critical to business success, so the company developed a comprehensive collaboration strategy. To achieve its vision, MWH chose Microsoft Lync Server and Yammer, complementing its existing Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange environment. Now employees can share innovative ideas in real time to improve service and give the company a competitive edge in project bidding.

Business Needs
“Wet infrastructure” encompasses everything from public water distribution to hydropower and environmental reclamation. With roots extending back to 1820, MWH Global is a world leader in water-related projects. To maintain its competitive edge, the company leadership passionately believes that it must foster innovation by helping its nearly 8,000 employees share their talent and experience.

MWH has embraced this concept for quite some time by regularly upgrading its collaborative solutions. For example, a few years ago it switched from the IBM Lotus Domino social business application to the Microsoft Exchange enterprise messaging and collaboration solution and from the IBM Lotus SameTime social communications offering to Microsoft Office Communications Server.

* With Microsoft Lync Server, the MWH workforce collaborates without borders. We’re driving business efficiencies across 35 countries on six continents, using Microsoft collaboration and social technologies to differentiate MWH in the marketplace. *

David Neitz
CIO, MWH Global

By 2011, MWH had an integrated global working strategy that calls for keeping collaborative processes and tools as simple and universally available as possible. To that end, MWH sought an upgraded solution that would offer employees cost-effective and wide-ranging communication and collaboration technology.

In late 2011, as a first step toward realizing its integrated global working strategy, MWH Global chose Microsoft Lync Server 2010 as a unified communications solution for presence, instant messaging, voice, video, and desktop sharing. “We wanted a solution that tightly integrated all these collaboration features,” says Dave Neitz, Chief Information Officer of MWH Global. “We looked at various competitors, including Cisco, but Lync was the natural choice for interoperability.”

Specifically, Neitz notes that Lync Server complemented the company’s Microsoft Exchange environment for email and unified messaging, including voice mail delivered to email inboxes. Lync also fits well with the IT team’s experience with Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 for team sites—another key component of the company’s collaboration strategy.

By January 2012, after only seven weeks, MWH had deployed Lync 2010 worldwide, and employees used 2 million audio minutes between February and September. A few months later, with high performance in mind, MWH chose to upgrade to Microsoft Lync Server 2013, and the company expects to fully deploy it by mid-2013.

Separately, as part of an evolving strategy to save on future IT costs, MWH has begun to migrate from Exchange Server to Microsoft Exchange Online.

Other features of Lync Server 2013 that especially interest MWH include improved support for mobile devices and federation with outside organizations, better interoperability with SharePoint, and upcoming integration with the Yammer enterprise social network. Says Neitz, “We know that combining Lync and Yammer capabilities will firmly establish our real-time collaboration model.”

Dave Roberts is the Regional IT Director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa at MWH Global. He says, “Each upgrade—from Notes to Exchange Server, from SameTime to Office Communications Server, and from there to Lync 2010, Lync 2013, and Exchange Online—has been a big leap forward in our ability to collaborate.”

Putting this observation into a larger context, he notes that the move to Exchange Online is a natural progression of the company’s evolving IT service model. “It’s a commoditization of a service that allows us to flexibly deliver email to our organization, even as the number of users may change.”

By using Lync, Yammer, and SharePoint Server as part of a comprehensive collaboration solution, MWH Global is able to foster creativity within and across organizational boundaries. Consequently, it is a more efficient, competitive company that better serves its global customers and community.

Collaboration That Crosses Borders
MWH uses the solution to provide “collaboration without borders” so that employees can work across departmental boundaries—from nearly any location, with anyone else, and using an array of devices. The result is improved agility, customer responsiveness, and productivity. Neitz recounts a colleague’s anecdote: “I’m using a tablet device with Lync paired to a Bluetooth keyboard on a high-speed train in England while talking to someone in Pune, India, 5,000 miles away. These collaboration tools are fantastic!”

Similarly, with federation and external SharePoint team sites, the easy-access and productivity benefits extend beyond corporate borders. “For large and joint-venture projects, bringing outside engineers and suppliers into the conversation has become indispensable—and using SharePoint is so much more efficient than phone calls and email,” says Neitz.

Collaboration That Sparks Innovation
A great idea can occur to employees anytime, and MWH believes they should seize that moment to explore it. Says Roberts, “It starts as a spark in one person’s imagination. And by bouncing it off colleagues, it can grow into a well-thought-out concept.” From there, employees may want more collaborative input, which is where social networking comes in. “With Yammer, the original idea can grow into a truly innovative plan that makes the business run better,” notes Roberts. “Yammer is the perfect forum for evolving ideas at the group level.”

He adds that the monetary value of using collaborative technology to encourage innovation is difficult to quantify, but “we believe it ultimately differentiates us when we bid against our competitors.”

Collaboration That Saves Money
MWH uses its new solution to save money in several ways. First, employees can effortlessly connect from the field or from home, and they can easily move from one office—or even one desk—to another. The result is less need for physical space, consolidated offices, and thus lower real estate costs. “While not all of our property savings can be attributed to Lync, we certainly wouldn’t have the lower-cost options without it,” says Roberts.

More significantly, MWH is deploying Lync voice capabilities in many offices as a less expensive alternative to traditional local telephony. And Lync conferencing saves on in-person travel costs and on separately licensed third-party conferencing systems.

Concludes Neitz, ”Beyond the savings, the really exciting story is that our collaborative philosophy amplifies the core capability of our business—providing a positive, lasting impact for customers, their communities, and the planet.”

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

Solution Overview

Organization Size: 8000 employees

Organization Profile

MWH Global provides engineering, construction, and management services for some of the largest “wet infrastructure” projects in the world—from strategy and planning to development and delivery of technical solutions.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2013
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2010
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Exchange Online
  • Yammer

Vertical Industries
  • Heavy Construction
  • Architecture, Engineering & Construction

United States