In this post I’d like to talk about how the Microsoft Partner ecosystem offers customers a real choice when they need help transforming their communications platforms. Black & Veatch, an engineering, consulting, and construction company, was faced with an outdated telephony system and an increasingly mobile workforce. Its Avaya PBX, which was 12 years old, had failed several times, and parts for repair were unavailable. In addition, the company was renovating the building that houses its headquarters. “We knew we wanted to modernize our communications and provide professionals with better capabilities. We did not want to replace the phone system with just another phone system that would not offer us anything more than what we had before,” explains Brad Vaughan, Chief Information Officer at Black & Veatch.

Black & Veatch reached out to Microsoft Gold Certified Partner HP, which had taken over IT operations for the company several years earlier, to help it improve communications and collaboration. It worked with HP Enterprise Services and HP Technical Services to evaluate communications solutions. In the end, HP was critical in helping the customer identify a Microsoft unified communications solution to overhaul communications at Black & Veatch.  HP worked with Microsoft to implement Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 (now Microsoft Lync with the 2010 release) to provide presence, instant messaging, desktop sharing, conferencing, and internal voice capabilities to help people collaborate better and increase productivity. It also helped Black & Veatch deploy enterprise voice capabilities for approximately 2,700 professionals at the global headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas.  In 2011, HP will help the company deploy enterprise voice to an additional 2,100 professionals in 20 of its regional offices. “Microsoft and HP played a critical role in implementing Office Communications Server for us,” says Jeff Phillips, Director of Infrastructure and Security at Black & Veatch. “Because they were able to work so well together to meet our needs throughout the planning and deployment, the whole project was a success in terms of user adoption, cost, and schedule.”

 

HP Technical Services worked with Microsoft to design the architecture for the solution. After the solution was deployed, HP also provided instructor-led training, an online training site, and an internal newsletter to help people at Black & Veatch prepare to use the new technology. “On the day we enabled enterprise voice, we had seven people on site, ready to answer questions, and two people running a hotline. The cutover was literally a non-event. I’ve never personally seen a 3,000-person technology transformation go as smoothly as this,” explains Phillips. HP will continue to manage all aspects of the communications solution for Black & Veatch, including help-desk, service, and end-user support.

I like this story because it shows how customers can find the right partner through the Microsoft Partner ecosystem to help them deploy enterprise voice solutions and ease the transition for employees.  In this case, HP helped Black & Veatch modernize its communications solution, and save the company money while enhancing productivity and mobility for its professionals. With the help of HP and Microsoft, the customer expects to cover the cost of hardware, software, and labor, and still return about $650,000 to the business over the first 18 months of the project.

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Kind regards,
Rainer Podjoutomo
Product Manager, Microsoft Lync