Pisani Group wanted to replace its existing telephony system with unified communications to improve agility, increase efficiency, and cut costs. Microsoft Partner alwaysON deployed a hosted Microsoft Lync solution, integrated with Microsoft Exchange
Online. As a result, Pisani Group is boosting productivity by 1,488 hours a year to achieve savings of £165,000 (US$212,000) and will reduce travel costs by £27,000.
Pisani Group, a leading United Kingdom (UK) natural stone wholesaler, supplies stone—such as marble and quartz—to customers worldwide. It also provides expert advice on the use of stone, along with consultancy services to its customers.
The company has three offices across the UK—as far apart as Aberdeen and London, a distance of 400 miles. Managers used to spend hours travelling between sites for meetings and consultancy work. As a result, travel costs within the UK were high and time
was spent unproductively.
The design of the firm’s existing private branch exchange (PBX) meant that executives were unable to transfer a customer call from one Pisani Group site to another—instead, they had to tell customers to dial another telephone number. This was unprofessional
and put the business at risk of losing client orders. In addition, there was no video conferencing capability.
Each Pisani Group site had a different information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure with a highly disjointed set up. Dr. Nikolaos Sakellarios, IT and Operations Manager, Pisani Group, says: “Our previous network infrastructure suffered
frequent and prolonged periods of downtime. To improve both network stability and user experience, we replaced our unstable network and disparate communication system with a private network infrastructure and a single unified communication solution from alwaysON.”
Microsoft Unified Communications Gold Partner alwaysON replaced the company’s PBX phone system with a hosted unified communications solution based on the Microsoft Lync 2010 application, delivered via a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network. The robust,
feature-rich solution provides Pisani Group staff with presence information, desktop sharing, and voice and video conferencing capabilities—all from a single application.
As an experienced communications provider, alwaysON prepared the company for a seamless migration from the PBX solution to Lync 2010 and Microsoft Exchange Online, a service of Microsoft Office 365. It planned the rollout, conducting a complete infrastructure
assessment and deploying the solution in phases to cause minimal disruption. The company has also implemented the Active Directory service for identity management and Microsoft Dynamics NAV business management software.
James Byles, Managing Director, alwaysON, says: “Microsoft Lync revolutionises the way businesses communicate. From within Lync, users can see the status of their contacts and decide both when and how best to communicate with them. The ability to replace
several disparate communication systems with a single business-grade solution provides significant benefits for customers.”
Presence information is displayed through an icon, so staff know when colleagues are available. Byles says: “Presence is the new dial tone. What’s powerful about the presence feature of Lync, is the ability to ‘click to communicate’ with your contacts from
within familiar Microsoft applications such as Microsoft Outlook.”
Through Lync 2010, staff can schedule and join meetings with a single click in the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client or a meeting reminder box. Lync 2010 provides built-in desktop and application sharing, and rich whiteboard capabilities,
including the ability to copy and paste content.
Pisani Group transformed its communications infrastructure from that of a wholesale firm with a traditional PBX to a modern customer-facing business using hosted unified communications technology. Productivity has surged company-wide. Over three years, the
company is projecting savings of close to £200,000 from increased efficiency and reduced travel costs within the UK. Dr. Sakellarios says: “We no longer need our management team to meet in one room to review business documentation. Using unified communications
we can share and collaborate on documents from wherever we are.”
Pisani Group plans to cut costs by £200,000 in just three years. The group’s travel bill is expected to fall by £27,000 over three years, while the company makes efficiency savings of £165,000. Dr. Sakellarios says: “We’ll spend more time
on valuable work instead of unproductive travel—up to six hours a day in my case. And we’ll make considerable efficiency gains because we’ll no longer incur mobile charges if staff travel abroad. Replacing the PBX with Lync 2010 also removes the PBX maintenance
costs. Plus, I’ve cancelled the licence for remote desktop support and use the desktop sharing feature of Lync in its place.”
Productivity is boosted, saving an estimated 1,488 hours a year. The return on investment calculation for the firm is compelling. Dr. Sakellarios says: “We’re on track to save 1,488 hours a year, which will give our clients a better experience.
Our employees can work from virtually anywhere with Microsoft Lync 2010 as long as they have an Internet connection.”
Collaboration is enhanced with Lync 2010. All of the firm’s 62 UK-based staff can share the same documents and connect easily via voice, instant messaging, and video conferencing tools. Dr. Sakellarios says: “With Microsoft
Lync 2010, I can put faces to names, which is vital in my job.”
Better decision making leads to improved procurement procedures. Dr. Sakellarios says: “With Microsoft Lync 2010, we can conduct a video conference before making procurement decisions, using the document sharing and collaboration functionality
to edit documentation in real time. Everyone can participate from their own desks.”
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