Founded in 1879, Georgia Military College provides approximately 5,000 junior college students with a liberal arts–based two-year undergraduate curriculum. Its main campus is located in Milledgeville, Georgia, and it has five additional locations
in the state. In 2009, the college deployed the voice capabilities of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 for 450 employees. Georgia Military College upgraded to Microsoft Lync Server 2010 in September 2010 to help simplify the administration and
management of its voice environment. The solution now requires 50 percent less hardware. By taking advantage of Response Groups and Desktop Sharing, the college is resolving students’ problems and IT issues faster. IT technicians have also reduced travel to
remote locations by 30 percent, saving U.S.$9,000 per year.
Georgia Military College was established in 1879. Today, the junior college has five locations with its main campus located in Milledgeville, Georgia. It provides 5,000 students with a liberal arts–based two-year undergraduate curriculum. Though the
majority of its students commute, a small group of students attend the college’s highly regarded cadet program as preparation to become officers in the United States Army.
In 2009, the college deployed the instant messaging (IM), presence, conferencing, and voice capabilities of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. Office Communications Server was connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) through
a SIP trunk, making the college’s costly Centrex-based service unnecessary. “We eliminated our Centrex lines completely,” says Drago Totev, Associate Vice President, Telecommunications and Networking. “We were paying about [U.S.]$12,500 per month for phone
service. With Office Communications Server, it was reduced to $2,500 per month.”
Employees at the college were pleased with the voice capabilities of Office Communications Server, and they frequently used audio conferencing for meetings because it was easy to set up through Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2, which they also used
for instant messaging. However, people tended to use web conferencing less frequently because they had to set it up through Microsoft Office Live Meeting. Even with additional training, people were often confused about which client to use.
Also, enrollment officers and financial aid workers spent a lot of time checking voice mail and following up with students to answer questions. Students need quick responses to questions about the financial aid packages or course enrollment information.
Students became frustrated with delays in getting issues resolved. The college needed a better way to route students’ calls so they could connect with a person instead of getting voice mail.
Georgia Military College has three full-time technicians who support 500 full-time employees and 1,300 computers across seven locations, so they frequently travel around Georgia to troubleshoot employees’ computer problems. With economic conditions tightening
everywhere, the college needed a way to reduce travel costs without impacting service for its employees who need technical help.
To continue to improve employee productivity and reduce costs, Georgia Military College began deploying Microsoft Lync Server 2010 in August 2010. Lync Server provides enhanced versions of the communications capabilities provided by Office Communications
Server—presence, instant messaging, robust conferencing, and enterprise voice—as well as improvements in topology, deployment, and management tools. Totev says, “We expect to deploy Lync fully at our main campus by December 2010 and at the remaining locations
by March 2011.”
||Lync Server is helping us do more with less. We’ve reduced costs, reduced travel, and support more students and employees with the same number of staff members.
| Drago Totev
Associate Vice President, Telecommunications and Networking, Georgia Military College
Employees at Georgia Military College have found the Lync client easy to use. Totev says, “With one client instead of separate clients for Communicator and Live Meeting, we don’t have to train our employees on two products, and people are no longer confused
about which one to use.”
The college is using the Response Group Service in Lync Server to configure workflows that route and queue incoming calls to the proper channels. Totev says, “Now each department, such as financial aid, has a virtual phone number tied to that department,
so students have a single number to call if they have financial aid questions.” Department employees can also place outbound calls through Lync Server using response groups, so when students receive a call, they know which department is calling and they don’t
get confused with tracking multiple phone numbers. With Lync Server, response groups can be deployed broadly across the college because it is built into the product, so it is easy to set up and there is no additional cost.
Though desktop sharing was available with Office Communications Server 2007 R2, the college began to more completely integrate the capability into its processes with Lync Server. “IT uses desktop sharing to troubleshoot most issues,” says Totev. “Other departments
love desktop sharing as well. A financial aid officer may have a question about a form and not know how to proceed. He can share a desktop with his manager, who can see the issue and provide guidance immediately.” As the college expands its online course offerings
to students, it may present desktop sharing via Lync Server as an option for professors to interact with students.
Georgia Military College used Topology Builder to design its topology and configuration settings prior to deployment, which made the deployment process very straightforward. At its main campus, it deployed a front-end server with a collocated mediation server,
which is now possible with Lync Server. It plans to replace two servers with a single server at each location in the same way.
The college is also taking advantage of Role-Based Access Control in Lync Server in order to delegate different levels of administrative access to people who help troubleshoot issues. Totev says, “I have junior technicians who can troubleshoot many issues,
but they don’t understand a concept such as routing, so I have not granted them full administrator access. As they become more proficient, I can adjust their access.”
By deploying Lync Server 2010, Georgia Military College can maximize its investment in its communication infrastructure and continue to take advantage of the $120,000 annual phone cost savings. With Lync Server, the college is resolving student problems
faster as well as reducing travel, hardware, and training costs.
Resolved Student Problems 50 Percent Faster
Employees at Georgia Military College are using the presence, instant messaging, voice, and desktop sharing capabilities of Lync Server 2010 to resolve student questions faster. Totev says, “If students have course enrollment issues, they call a single number
and the call is routed to the proper employee using a response group.” If that employee cannot answer the question, he uses presence to identify an available person who can help resolve the enrollment question via instant messenger. He may even use desktop
sharing to more clearly communicate the issue. So instead of students waiting several hours for a call to be returned, they know immediately if their enrollment problem has been resolved. Totev adds, “On average student issues are resolved 50 percent faster.
This is critical because good service keeps the students coming back.”
Reduced IT Travel Costs by 30 Percent
The college’s IT technicians use desktop sharing to troubleshoot most IT issues. Before Lync Server, IT technicians had to frequently travel from Milledgeville to the various campuses in Georgia to be on call for IT issues. “An employee from Valdosta
may call and say that she can’t get email,” says Totev. “Using desktop sharing, I can see that her [Microsoft] Outlook icon has been accidentally deleted and resolve the problem in minutes.” Before, the employee may have been given a work-around and told to
wait for whenever a technician was scheduled to be on-site.
||If students have course enrollment issues, they call a single number and the call is routed to the proper employee using a response group.
| Drago Totev
Associate Vice President, Telecommunications and Networking, Georgia Military College
Totev adds, “Our IT technicians have reduced the amount of time they spend traveling by 30 percent. Avoiding about 18 trips per year is saving us $9,000 per year in travel costs.”
Reduced Hardware Requirements by 50 Percent
By upgrading to Lync Server, Georgia Military College can take advantage of collocating the front-end and mediation servers on the same computer, so it only requires one server to supply its communications requirements for each campus. Previously, two
servers were required.
Reduced Training Costs
Because Lync Server 2010 has a single client, employees require less training. Totev says, “With the unified client, we don't have to train on Live Meeting. It has reduced the time and cost of our employee training.”
Georgia Military College is helping reduce its costs while providing better service to its students. Totev says, “Lync Server is helping us do more with less. We’ve reduced costs, reduced travel, and support more students and employees with the same number
of staff members. We can do more because of presence awareness, desktop sharing, and conferencing. With the Lync client, employees can interact with each other with a single click and are not limited by physical boundaries.”
Microsoft Lync Server 2010
Microsoft Lync Server 2010 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 2010, go to:
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