QNet maximizes efficiency of global online business with Microsoft Unified Communications solutions

Situation
Established in 1998, QNet, a wholly owned subsidiary of QI Group, is a direct selling company that has seen tremendous growth from its strategy of combining the potential of the Internet and e-commerce with the powerful business model of network marketing. Effectively, QNet’s business has been borderless from the start. Headquartered in Hong Kong, it has a presence in approximately 30 countries and its key markets are Southeast Asia, South Asia, North and Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The company specializes in a wide range of exclusive products, including luxury goods, travel and leisure, and lifestyle and wellness products.

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*We have deployed Lync to most of our offices around the world and it has greatly improved our communication, especially to those offices outside the SEA region. We’ve been communicating a lot more through Lync now... significantly saving the travelling costs and time, plus productivity has definitely gone up.*

TG Kintanar
Director, Information Technology & Telecommunications,
QI Group

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QNet distributors are active worldwide. Since its foundation, the company “has grown to a size I never imagined possible,” says TG Kintanar, Director, Information Technology & Telecommunications of QI Group, “and we are doing business in more or less every country.” The future is set to see the company increasing its penetration further into Europe and the Americas. With such global ambitions and a highly mobile workforce, seamless intra-company communication is vital.

“Previously, we had different solutions, therefore it wasn’t a unified experience,” says Sinamar Reyes, Program Manager, of QNet’s IT Department. QNet’s pre-existing communications set-up consisted of a number of separate systems, including email, traditional PABX, Microsoft Office Communicator and simple one-to-one voice calls. Lacking integration, this system caused numerous inefficiencies, and communicating between offices was time-consuming, awkward and often expensive. QNet tried several solutions, particularly for telepresence, says Reyes, “but the procurement costs were too high.”

Solution
QNet has enjoyed a long-running business relationship with Microsoft, so when Reyes was alerted to the possibilities of Microsoft® Lync® Server 2010, he was keen to explore the benefits it could provide. The company had looked into other options but none offered the integrated features that the Microsoft Unified Communications solution could provide.

The proof of concept (PoC) project was set up in November 2010. “Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) team delivered the PoC efficiently within the IT group, plus some key business users for two weeks, with a total of three man-days,” says Reyes. With the project completed and essential Lync features required by QNet implemented, the customer PoC team was able to demonstrate the benefits of Lync internally. “We evaluated in December and January, and from February, decided to go ahead with Lync because of its powerful features,” says Reyes.

QNet engaged MCS for the production deployment in May 2011. In two months, the infrastructure was already fully deployed, and all 800 employees worldwide had migrated from Office Communications Server (OCS) to the new Lync 2010 system. Microsoft MCS team led the project and provided the full range of support, including project management, planning, design, implementation, deployment and migration. “The MCS team was always very helpful,” says Reyes of the deployment process. “If I had any question come up, they were always there to answer it immediately.”

The solution deployed by QNet enables integration with existing PABX systems, phone calls, instant messaging, phone, web and video conferencing, file transfer and desktop sharing, public IM connectivity, and integration with Microsoft servers. Staff can use system services with PABX phones, desktop and mobile platforms including traditional mobile phones, PC, Mac, Blackberry and iPhone, and connect from anywhere via the Internet or traditional PSTN network.

Benefits

Cohesive, effective communication and collaboration across multiple locations; “We have deployed Lync to most of our offices around the world and it has greatly improved our communication, especially to those offices outside the SEA region,” says Kintanar. “We have been communicating a lot more now, because it’s so convenient to just click a button and drag people into a conference call.”

Sinamar Reyes, Program Manager, IT Department, QNet Limited
Sinamar Reyes, Program Manager,
IT Department, QNet Limited
International support was a key criterion for QNet’s communications solution, says Reyes. “For example, in Thailand and Indonesia, we don’t have a strong team there for IT support. But Microsoft is everywhere, so I think choosing them as a partner was an intelligent decision.”

“[At QNet] we’re practically all Microsoft,” says Kintanar. “From servers down to laptops, we run Microsoft’s solutions. I would not have let this go on for 13 years if we were not happy with Microsoft’s service.”

Significant savings on phone bills and travel costs; Using Microsoft Lync obviates the need for complex scheduling that a conference call through a traditional PABX requires, and saves time often lost when communicating via email.

“Emailing is preferable among us as IDD can cost us a lot and be slow to response. That process alone hampered communication,” says Reyes, “Now with Lync you can make a call in reply to an email and clarify things immediately.” With this feature, the company is also able to reduce phone bill. “Before, you would have to dial in and were always conscious that we were being charged for every minute. So there have been significant cost savings, and productivity has increased,” says Kintanar.

Lync also reduces the need for travel for QNet’s mobile workforce, to around 10% at any one time. With less travel required, “it reduces a person’s lag time,” says Reyes. “Someone who would be traveling is now available for two extra days.”

Integrated mobile communications across platforms; Microsoft® Lync® Mobile extends the IM, voice call and audio conference services to mobile platforms. “I really like Lync Mobile, which you can install on all major mobile OSes, like Windows Phone, iOS, Android, and Blackberry,” says Reyes. “It gives you a much wider reach – you are not limited by a single device. It lets you connect across devices such as from mobiles to PCs or vice versa. The status indicators are very helpful too.” Lync’s at-a-glance statuses are integrated with Outlook’s calendar and can be customized to notify colleagues of the user’s activities.

Easy-to-use, familiar interfaces; Microsoft’s intuitive UI makes the power of Lync accessible to every user. “Many people are afraid of things related to technology,” says Kintanar. “However, when we introduced Lync, especially to the directors, some were absolutely ecstatic. I had some people cheering at how simple it was to make a conference call by just dragging a name into the call list.”

Fully integrated with Microsoft Office; Microsoft’s Unified Communication solutions seamlessly integrate with Office to make file handling and sharing painless. QNet runs a suite of Microsoft products in addition to the standard Office package including Microsoft® SharePoint®, Lync, and Dynamics CRM, to create a unified online work environment that puts information at the fingertips of the staff who need it. “I would definitely recommend Lync,” says Kintanar. “We have only had good things coming out of Lync, and I can’t wait to develop our use of it further.”

At present the QNet deployment of Lync is purely internal, but Kintanar hopes to soon extend Lync interface for the company’s external communications. “We are looking into that very much,” he says. “We would be able to connect with Lync to our independent representatives, which amount to 6 or 7 million users.“

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the customer hotline at (852) 2388-9600. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: http://www.microsoft.com/hk

For more information about Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS), visit the Web site at:http://www.microsoft.com/microsoftservices

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: http://www.microsoft.com/lync

Customer Size: Large Organization
Industry: Other Services
Country or Region: Hong Kong SAR
Solutions:
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
  • Microsoft Lync Server technologies
  • Microsoft Lync Server
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
Organization Profile:

QNet is a dynamic wellness and lifestyle company established in 1998. QNet has established itself as a global direct selling company with a proud Asian heritage.

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