CIO Summit 2012: NSW government office saving money, travel with UC

“Implementation of unified communications is not rocket science,” says CIO David Schneider.

Unified Communications has reduced costs and employee travel for the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, among other benefits, according to the office’s CIO, David Schneider.

Training was critical to spurring adoption by employees, Schneider said at the CIO Summit in Sydney.

The office has seen significant benefits from UC in the first four months since implementation, Schneider said. “Clearly we’re just beginning our journey, but we’re greatly pleased with what we’ve been able to achieve,” he said.

The NSW office hoped to address several challenges with UC. Workers were spread across a large geographic area and infrastructure was reaching the end of its life cycle, he said. There was a large possibility of a “hardware failure or serious outage.”

Driving the shift to UC were the aging systems, as well as a desire to increase employee productivity and collaboration while reducing travel, Schneider said. Given the office’s leadership on environmental issues, Schneider also hoped to reduce the office’s carbon impact.

The office partnered with Gen-i in part because of its expertise and track record on UC but also because the office felt it could work collaboratively with the company, he said. By selecting Microsoft Lync, the office was able to take advantage of its existing data centre capabilities, he said.

The office never had any concern about the technology working, but worried about changing existing management practices and spurring adoption and use, Schneider said. To encourage adoption, the office provided employees with IP-based telephones and conducted training, focusing initially on teaching employees how to use basic telephony before moving on to more advanced capabilities, he said.

In four months, the office already reduced costs for telecom and ongoing support, as well as the amount of employee travel, Schneider said. Communications in the office has been enhanced through instant messaging, conferencing and other new capabilities, and more employees are teleworking, he said. Also, by using Lync, he said the office is getting more bang for the buck from its Microsoft licenses.

“Implementation of unified communications is not rocket science,” but it’s important to have the “right team” in place and “great executive support.” Having the right technology is critical to any organisation, Scheider said. “If you have the right ICT architecture, everything else will fall into place in terms of … business outcomes.”

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