February 05, 2013
ColArt Moves Microsoft Lync Capabilities Worldwide
By Steve Anderson
Contributing TMCnet Writer
ColArt is a name to reckon with when it comes to color supplies and art materials, but when it wanted to improve communications within their offices, it looked to Microsoft (News - Alert) Lync to do the job. Following a successful test of Microsoft Lync on its systems last year, ColArt is now looking to step up its use of the program and take it all the way to the world stage, connecting fully 16 of its offices around the world.
ColArt began its connection with Microsoft Lync just last year, when they set up, with the help of Advanced 365, a successful Microsoft Lync project in two of ColArt's offices in the U.K. The project went so well that ColArt began to consider rolling out a similar project in the rest of its offices located throughout the world, in the rest of Europe, the United States, and in China.
ColArt originally began its association with Advanced 365 as ColArt looked to move its headquarters to London, and in the process, get their legacy telephony system brought up to snuff. Advanced 365 recommended to Microsoft Lync alongside a new voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) telephony system that connected the new London headquarters with ColArt's office in Kidderminster, making a successful overall package that gave ColArt an idea.
With the London and Kidderminster offices now able to use a variety of new communication methods, like instant messaging and video conferencing, it got ColArt to wondering if maybe they could do likewise with the rest of their offices. So with that project now serving as a best practice model, ColArt and Advanced 365 got to work on making the connection a much broader and more powerful connection.
The project should be completed by the end of this year, and according to ColArt's global infrastructure manager Mike Panther, will allow for Microsoft Lync systems to connect 16 offices around the globe.
ColArt expects several benefits with the new Microsoft Lync connection, including reduced international calling rates and a somewhat more intangible benefit in the form of an improved "single company" focus, in which users feel less like they work for a branch rather than for the company itself. Plus, those using the system will be better able to determine accessibility to other staff--messages will let other employees know if the target is on vacation or working from home--as well as an expected time until the person is available once more.
It's hard to pass up benefits like those. While admittedly, the "single company" concept is a bit illusory and tough to measure, the savings on international calling are about as tangible as savings get. Since the project has already worked well with a smaller rollout, the likelihood that it will work in the larger frame is, overall, very high. Many recommend a limited rollout when it comes to introducing new facets of the working environment to measure their overall impact before spreading to the company as a whole, and ColArt has done a fine job of staging a limited rollout to show the larger potential for value here.
While even a limited rollout isn't an absolute predictor of success in a project, it is a sound measure that a company can use to determine if success should be expected. In ColArt's case, it looks like a Microsoft Lync, using certified products from companies like Patton and others to assure peace of mind, rollout to the rest of its offices should go smoothly and yield excellent results.
Edited by Peter Bernstein