Adelaide City Council
“Our biggest saving is in annual telephony maintenance charges,” says Carroll. “Even factoring in the cost of our new VX gateways, our net annual phone costs are a quarter of what they used to be. In addition, we have eliminated phone re-routing costs. Now, connections follow staff wherever they are and as a consequence we are a far more flexible organisation.”
David Carroll, ICT Infrastructure Manager at Adelaide City Council
Pioneering enterprise network telephony helps metropolitan council reduce costs by 75 percent and deliver anywhere, anytime working.
The Council employs approximately 700 staff or full-time equivalents, many of whom are temporary or part-time workers, or contractors on secondment to the council. These staff work from 19 separate sites across the city and relied on a traditional copper wire, analogue PABX phone system for inter-office and customer calls.
As the PABX system approached the end of its supportable life, ICT staff decided they wanted to replace it with a communications system that provided a broad range of capabilities, including instant multi-party voice conferencing and desktop video meetings. Additionally, they wanted the phone system to support more flexible working styles.
Under the terms of an existing Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, the Council already had client access licences for Microsoft Lync 2010. Carroll therefore devised a business case to trial a unified communications platform with 90 staff in the council’s finance and ICT departments. He gained approval and the trial began in June 2011.
“The trial continued during my leave of absence, but when I got back, I was immediately called to my executive manager’s office,” says Carroll. “He told me the management was so impressed with the new system that they wanted me to roll out Lync to the entire Council as a top priority.”
During a ten-week deployment, Carroll and his colleagues extended Lync to all 700 council staff, integrating it with the Council’s existing email service, Microsoft Exchange 2010. This enables staff to receive voicemail messages through email and to see their colleagues’ availability within an email message or calendar invite. Lync also enables staff to create instant group Lync meetings, with audio, video and collaboration functionality, all directly from their desktops or laptops, through a single client, wherever they are.
By mid-2012, Adelaide City Council had become the first major metropolitan council in Australia to replace its PABX phone system with Lync desktop telephony. The new system has drastically reduced telephone support costs, increased organisational flexibility and helped staff work more efficiently.
According to Carroll, Lync telephony proved extremely popular. Many staff have downloaded the Lync app to their personal mobile devices on their own initiative, so they can access Lync services wherever they are.
“Once deployment commenced, we were continually door-knocked by departments telling us why they needed Lync now, regardless of the roll-out schedule,” says Carroll. “That’s a testament to the impact it has on people’s lives.
“Staff tell me that Lync saves them time, because they can always see how to get hold of colleagues quickly. Instant messaging usage has soared. They love getting voice messages via email and the ability to control all call diversions from their mobile phone.”
Dramatically lowered telephony costs
By consolidating all communications on a single existing data network, Adelaide City Council has dramatically reduced telephony maintenance costs.