Although this Australian case study is of a local government customer, rather than an education one, I think that it's relevant because there are so many aspects of a council that match education institutions:

  • Hundreds of staff distributed across multiple sites (in Adelaide City Council's case, 700 staff across 19 different premises)
  • Expensive legacy PABX systems heading towards end of life (and costing huge amounts in maintenance charges)
  • Increasing need to replace travel with remote collaboration and conferencing
  • Need to replace dedicated video conferencing suites with desktop video conferencing
  • Flexible working style requiring anytime, anywhere access to facilities
  • High capacity data network already installed
  • Staff are used to bringing, and using, their own devices too
  • A need to reduce risk to service delivery in and after any change

Pretty much all of those issues are identical for education institutions.

Adelaide City Council Lync case study

Adelaide City Council logoWhat the council have done is replace an ageing conventional telephone system with a Microsoft Lync unified communication system, linking telephone, video and audio conferencing, and their existing email system in Exchange. But it wasn't something that they could rush into. According to David Carroll, the Infrastructure and Operations Team Leader for Adelaide City Council:

  Before we deployed network-based telephony, we had to prove it would be one hundred percent reliable. Second, we had to create a business case that clearly demonstrated value for money. Third, our design had to be adaptable: we had two sites where staff used specialist cordless analogue phones that they did not want to decommission, so our network design had to accommodate them.  

Many education customers already have Lync licences included within their EES agreements, or can get some of the capabilities within the free Office 365 for education service (although the telephony bit definitely isn't included free!). So the cost of deploying a system similar to Adelaide's won't be prohibitive – and the savings that can be made by switching from a PABX are a big incentive (Adelaide report that their annual phone costs are now 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.  

The list of benefits that the council report in the case study are impressive (you'll need to read the case study for the details behind each of these bullet points):

  • Improved productivity
  • Dramatically lower telephony costs
  • Reduced travel and emissions
  • Simplified technical support

Learn MoreRead the full  Adelaide City Council Lync case study

(If you want to find Lync partners in Australia, then Microsoft Pinpoint is the easiest way)