When Bay of Plenty Polytechnic needed to upgrade its communications capability, Lexel Education Solutions answered the call. It came up with the perfect solution by identifying and installing Microsoft Lync.
Meeting the challenge
The Bay of Plenty Polytechnic (BOPP) needed to replace its existing PABX system with a solution that would provide the latest collaboration features and improved ease of operation, as well as lower the cost of ownership.
BOPP is split across two main campuses, linked by 100GB fibre, and a satellite with a 100Mb connection. All incoming/outgoing calls going through this single incoming ISDN 30 Primary Rate Fibre. Voicemail and an Operators console were provided by a Zeacom server. CDR reporting and billing was handled by Calista servers. There were a number of other conditions, including:
- To connect to the University of Waikato’s PABX, so that calls from all BOPP phones could be routed to extensions.
- Operator requirements with basic call queuing, call forwarding and music on hold
- Single billing and monitoring system
- Unified messaging
- Satellite campus connectivity over IP WAN
Choosing a solution
“BOPP went to the market with an RFP to decide what solution could best suit their needs,” explained Steve Kenyon of Lexel Education Solutions.
“It short listed four integrators, two proposing Lync, one NEC and the other Cisco. A common question experienced in the Lync sales process is: Is Lync truly a PABX replacement? This concern was raised by BOPP and was easily addressed in a single discussion with our technical team. There was an underlying need for the customer to understand how the solution would work technically, so they could fully grasp the benefit the solution could bring to the organisation.”
Lexel’s solution replaced the existing PABX with a Microsoft Lync Unified Communications platform. The proposed design delivered a robust and reliable experience for all the Polytechnic users.
“The infrastructure architecture provides a highly available voice service through the implementation of Primary and Secondary ‘Standard edition’ Lync Front End Servers and SQL mirroring at the database level. Two Sonus SBC’s provided both SIP and ISDN connectivity to the Telco which also assisted in the migration process.”
Expansion and growth
One of BOPP’s requirements was flexibility, particularly when it comes to expansion and growth.
“To achieve this, Lexel included a Lync Edge Server to provide federation to other peers and partners using the Microsoft Lync solution. This has improved communication capability, as well as providing lower costs to communicate in some circumstances.
“With Lync 2013, the ability to support XMPP means that students can contact their teachers using the social media tools they’re
familiar with, like Skype and Facebook, without the need of a Lync client.
The Lync Edge Server is also the transit point for the Smartphone devices acting as local cordless devices with the Lync Client installed. Microsoft Lync Server 2013 has introduced the web-based Microsoft Lync Server 2013 Control Panel for day to day administration and management.
Lexel didn’t just deploy Microsoft Lync, it installed a business solution, enabling multiple savings that included:
- Lync was deployed in parallel and then integrated with the existing PABX, saving $4,000 on internal overtime.
- The dual SIP trunk design reduced the telco charges by 20 per cent, saving BOPP $2,000 per year.
- By integrating the Session Boarder Controller with AD, migration could be done internally by changing a user’s AD record, saving $15,000.
- Decommissioning the Zeacom Server saved $5,000 annually on support fees.
“During the final stages of the project, BOPP realised the ongoing management of the new solution required a different strategy. Lexel took this opportunity to propose and implement Microsoft SCOM. This allowed BOPP to terminate the outsourced PABX managed services saving $14,000 per year.”
“We engaged with Lexel to assist our move to a Unified Communications platform being Microsoft Lync 2013 (now called Skype For Business),” said Rabindra Das, BOPP IT Manager. “This not only replaced our traditional PABX and voicemail systems, which served around 650 users, but also provided additional productivity tools, like Presence, Instant Messaging and desktop conferencing/meeting spaces.
“Users can use the Lync client on any mobile device, allowing them to be connected wherever they are, and ensuring they don’t miss those important calls from their students. The presence function has removed the telephone tag that used to waste everyone’s time.
“This was Lexel’s first project with the Polytechnic, and whilst it was a big technology shift for some of our users, it was made much simpler through their expertise and partnership.”
Lexel Education Solutions is one of New Zealand’s leading IT infrastructure solutions partners with 27 years’ experience and more than 120 staff. For more information contact 09 4141 777 or visit lexeleducation.co.nz