As a leading provider of session delivery network solutions for enterprises and service providers, Acme Packet knows the value of IP-based unified communications (UC). To deliver that value to its own highly mobile workforce, the company deployed
a UC solution based on Microsoft Lync Server 2010. Now, the firm has reduced travel costs by 10 percent, time-to-decision by 20 percent, and web-conferencing costs by 50 percent, and anticipates a return on investment (ROI) in 12 months.
If your business relies on voice-over IP (VoIP) or other forms of unified communications (UC), it’s likely that Acme Packet technologies are involved—if not deployed at your business, then at the businesses you communicate with or the service providers
they depend on. That’s because the products and services that Acme Packet delivers play an essential role in helping to make IP communication networks more secure, interoperable, and reliable.
The market Acme Packet serves is growing fast, and the firm itself is growing even faster. From 2009 to 2011, it doubled its revenues and was named the enterprise session border controller (E-SBC) market leader by Infonetics Research. Today, it serves more
than 1,600 customers in over 100 countries and counting, with products that are distributed through more than 255 resellers worldwide.
While working to deliver the advantages of more secure, interoperable, and reliable UC to its customers, Acme Packet also strives to deliver those same advantages internally. Typical of its sector, the firm has a workforce that is highly mobile and widely
distributed, with offices in 11 different time zones. Half of its staff members travel up to 40 percent of the time, and more than 20 languages are spoken among its 800 employees. But until recently, the firm struggled to deliver an IP-based communications
solution that met its needs.
In mid-2009, Acme Packet implemented IP-based telephony from Avaya at its headquarters in Bedford, Massachusetts, but found it difficult to integrate the solution with other communications and collaboration tools. “As a result, employees used a mix-and-match
approach to telephony, web conferencing, and instant messaging,” says Steve Voto, Director of Unified Communications at Acme Packet. “These practices were worlds apart from the seamless communications and collaboration environment that we needed internally
and for communicating effectively with customers, partners, and other organizations that we work with.”
In mid-2010, Voto and his colleagues decided it was time for a change. They evaluated options from Avaya and from other vendors, including Microsoft, which had recently released the newest version of its UC tool set, Microsoft Lync Server 2010. When
they took a closer look at Lync Server 2010, they found a fit.
||The way employees now communicate and collaborate has helped us reduce our time-to-decision by 20 percent. That’s a crucial advantage in our sector.
| Steve Voto
Director of Unified Communications, Acme Packet
“We were impressed by the evolution of the UC feature set, especially enterprise voice capabilities, and the product’s integration with Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010,” Voto says. “That was critical because we wanted to deploy SharePoint Server as an enterprisewide
business collaboration solution alongside whatever UC solution we selected.”
To help with the implementation, Voto and his colleagues engaged systems integrators from Sentri, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network with Gold competencies and winner of multiple Microsoft Partner of the Year awards for its sector and region. The
two companies began hands-on work in early 2011 and four months later delivered a UC solution that runs in a Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 environment and is integrated with Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.
Today, that solution provides telephony, web conferencing, and instant messaging (IM), as well as seamless collaboration through SharePoint Server 2010, to all Acme Packet employees and a growing number of customers, partners, distributors, and others. To
provide a smooth transition for employees from their previous PBX phones to Lync Enterprise Voice and SIP trunking, Acme Packet is using its own session management and E-SBC products.
According to Voto, the current UC solution represents the biggest change in the way Acme Packet conducts business since its founding. “For the first time ever, all employees have the same communications experience, same tool set, same pure IP-to-IP environment,”
he says. “They don’t even have to think about the solution—it’s just there.”
Reduces Decision-Making Time by 20 Percent
For example, with instant messaging (IM), employees who use English as a second language can rely on that medium for simplifying conversations without having to remember which IM environment which colleague is using. With presence awareness, employees
collaborate effectively across time zones without having to figure out whether it’s too late to phone someone. Sales reps, in particular, use presence awareness to learn who is or isn’t available to authorize a discount even in the middle of contract negotiations.
All this helps to streamline the decision-making process at Acme Packet. “The way employees now communicate and collaborate has helped us reduce our time-to-decision by 20 percent,” Voto says. “That’s a crucial advantage in our sector.”
Delivers ROI in 12 Months
With the web-conferencing component of the UC solution, Acme Packet enjoys significant new efficiencies. “By taking advantage of a consistent environment for web conferencing, we’ve reduced those costs by more than half, while also reducing the costs
of travel for employees to attend meetings by 10 percent,” Voto reports. “These savings play a large role in delivering a return on investment [ROI] in only 12 months.”
Acme Packet is extending those efficiencies by federating its communications environment with customers, distributors, and others. “As of mid-2012, we were federated with 20 customers and other partners, a number we expect to grow to more than 50 by 2013,”
Voto says. “With every one of those customers, we enjoy the same convenient communications and collaboration that we have internally.”
Supports Long-Term Business Development
That kind of immediacy is critical to the business model that Acme Packet promotes. “The closer we can work with customers—helping them develop, configure, support, and maintain solutions—the stronger our relationships,” Voto says. “And the stronger
those relationships, the better our business prospects over the long term.”
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