Our client is a London-based venture capital firm that was established just over 6 years ago. To date, our client has backed over 150 start ups and founders that collectively employ approximately 1200 staff members. Many of their partners are technology brands that you should already be familiar with on the high street, in retail parks and on web.
Just a short walk from Liverpool Street station, our client’s office is home to a team of 20 employees that come from a wide range of backgrounds and demographics. They have recently opened an additional office in Washington DC in order to broaden their global coverage and expertise.
Update the clients ailing comms.
As a technology minded investor, our client was very keen to replace their outdated voice and video communications platforms in the London office with a modernised ‘unified communications’ solution that provides an extensive range of features that can be used in the office and on the go.
Unify communications with Washington.
Because the DC office was their first expansion, the client didn’t have a suitable platform in place that would allow everyone to easily communicate between offices and when visiting new and existing clients across the globe.
From a financial perspective, a legacy PBX solution simply wasn’t the answer. One of the client’s main concerns was expenditure, so it was important to choose a communications solution with predictable licensing costs.
the client didn’t have an IT presence onsite in DC (we provide this office with telephone and remote support). Therefore, it was of utmost importance that the chosen unified communications infrastructure was a low maintenance solution that could be deployed and maintained remotely by our London-based help desk team.
Our IT Department steps in.
The client had recently appointed Our IT Department as their new IT services provider, so they immediately approached us to provide an unbiased recommendation for a unified communications solution that would meet their business requirements.
As an independent provider of business technology solutions, we are in a position where we can provide the best advice to our clients with no bias towards a particular brand.
Skype for Business.
After a meeting with the senior partners, it became very clear that Skype for Business was the perfect solution to serve our clients business requirements. Because of this, we recommended that the client switch to ‘Office 365 Business Premium’, which incorporates the Skype for Business service in addition to all the common Microsoft Office applications and services.
Office 365 Premium isn’t the first solution you would think of for unified communications however, times have changed and there was a method behind our madness!
Why switch to Office 365 Premium when the client just needed unified communications?
Initially, our recommendation raised a few eyebrows in the meeting when we recommended a Microsoft Office product as our preferred choice for unified communications! However, our intentions soon became clear to the client once we explained our long-term strategy.
The Commercial business case.
- Skype for Business unified communications solution is included with every Microsoft Office 365 Premium subscription.
- Like many other businesses, our client was still using individual retail Office licenses on their PCs. Additionally, the licenses were for access to Office 2013 which were out of date and would require updating in the near future.
The financial Business Case.
For an affordable monthly per user fee, we recommended our client should subscribe to Office 365 Premium to access one of the world’s best unified communications solution that seamlessly integrates with Microsoft applications and Active Directory. This would allow our client to retire their existing legacy voice and video platforms.
The added Commercial bonus.
By subscribing to Office 365 premium, our client can update all their existing Microsoft Office applications to the latest versions with Office 365 Premium, in addition to obtaining a Skype for Business license for every employee. Also, they will no longer have to pay for Office version upgrades because updates are included with the Office 365 Premium subscription.
Office 365 Premium includes Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Online. Every user will have their own 50GB mailbox and will be able to send attachments up to 150MB in size. The feature represents substantial financial savings for our client because they can retire their existing in-house Exchange server and move their business emails to Office 365.
Because Exchange Online is included with Office 365 Premium, the only cost involved is our time to migrate the email from their in-house Exchange Server to Office 365.
The advantages of using Skype for Business.
A Modern voice and phone system.
You’ll be able to make, receive, and transfer calls from the office, at home, or on the go using your phone, a PC, or a mobile device without the need for a traditional phone system. Skype for Business automatically detects your devices such as a headset, microphone, speakers and web cams. All of these can be used to make calls from any device that’s using the application.
Unlimited online HD meetings and video calls.
With one click, anyone can join your online meeting, from any device. You can choose to meet right away or schedule a meeting for later from within Outlook. Meetings can be broadcast on the Internet for to up to 10,000 people who can attend using a browser on nearly any device.
Skype for Business enables conference attendees to join using any telephone by dialling a local access number in addition to being able to dial out from a meeting to add others when needed. The dial-in capability is added to the single-touch join options on a PC, smartphone, and browser, and allows people to join an online meeting even in places with no Internet access.
Skype for Business includes an instant messaging app that can be used for text conversations. It is also possible to convert the conversations into a video call.
The ability to record meetings, take quick polls, run Q&A sessions and add attachments to your meeting are just a few of many collaboration tools you can use with Skype for Business.
Cross platform compatible.
Skype for Business can be used from a PC/Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android device.
Uptime and administration.
Microsoft provide a 99.9% guaranteed financially backed uptime for Skype for Business. IT administrators can manage, maintain and deploy Skype for Business from a web-based portal which provides IT detailed configuration options for your services. Additionally, you can use the Admin app to manage your services on the go.
Active Directory integration.
Skype of Business features single sign-on and synchronization with Active Directory. User accounts, credentials and permissions can be easily managed from an online dashboard.
A Hub for teamwork.
Microsoft provides a central hub which is where the relationship between Skype for Business and Office 365 Business comes into its own. Microsoft Teams is a fantastic tool which allows your team to collaborate on projects, share ideas, organise data and improve internal communication by chatting together, sharing content and using advanced tools.
Voicemail integration (Unified Messaging).
Skype for Business includes hosted voicemail support with auto-attendant capabilities. Voicemails are recorded to Exchange Online and users can access them from Outlook, a web browser, or a compatible mobile phone.
Retaining the traditional office phone experience.
Although Skype for Business can be used from any device, our client was keen to retain a traditional phone experience in the office and use Skype for Business with desktop handsets. There are numerous supported phones available, however we recommended the Yealink T48G Skype for Business edition because of its excellent array of features and modern business user interface on a 7” touch screen.
A perfect solution for the multi-office business.
Because it is cloud-based, Skype for Business is the perfect solution for multi-office organisations that wish to unify communications. Everything works seamlessly together from the cloud. Additionally, staff from both offices can share the same contacts, calendars, content and much more without the need to change the existing network configuration.
From design to completion.
Our IT Department finished the Skype for Business implementation project within two weeks of presenting the senior partners with a statement of work. Following a successful testing period, our project management team completed the following tasks:
- Companywide rollout of Skype for Business on all business devices including any company smartphones, laptops and tablet devices
- Installation and configuration of 35 Yealink Skype for Business handsets at both the London and DC offices
- Migration of 35 mailboxes in addition to contact lists and public folders to Office 365 Premium
- Update the DNS records so the client can continue to use their company email address through office 365
- Configuration of account synchronisation between Active Directory and Office 365
- Decommissioning of the client’s redundant Exchange Server
- Staff training workshops at both the London and DC offices
Taking to the skies to get the job done.
A member of our projects team flew to New York to setup and configure the new Yealink handsets and rollout Office 365 Premium. In addition, the project manager also ran a training workshop for a day so they could become familiar with Skype for Business and get used to its many features. They also spent time introducing the staff to Office 365 Premium in order to minimise the impact on productivity after Office 365 went live.
The project was a complete success.
Thanks to the implementation of Skype for Business and Office 365 premium, our client now has a fully scalable unified communications platform that will help them to continue their long-term financial growth and accomplish their user-driven goals.
We have implemented a unified communications solution that’s exceeded the clients expectations because they are also enjoying the many commercial and financial benefits of Office 365 Premium. The seamless integration between Skype for Business and office 365 has bridged the gap between the two offices by improving internal communication and making it easier for staff to collaborate on projects.
In a nutshell, we’ve changed the way they work for the better.
The future – Fully adopting the cloud.
In the near future, we will be working with our client to migrate all of their business data to SharePoint online (also included with Office 365 Premium). We will also be migrating their Active Directory users to Cloud Identity, which is Microsoft’s cloud-based user authentication service.
By doing this, our client will be able to retire their only remaining server and fully adopt the cloud. This will once again reduce their IT expenditure costs and make it easier to share data across both offices.
We’ll unify communications and increase your business productivity with Office 365 Premium.
You’ll also greatly reduce your IT costs by adopting cloud services.
Our IT Department works closely with organisations that wish to benefit from the many commercial and financial advantages of unified communications. We supply deploy and maintain the latest solutions from trusted established vendors, including Microsoft, 3CX and AdEPT.
Contact us on 020 8501 7676 to discuss unified communications in further detail with a member of our team, or complete the form below to request a call back.