Rocket Software company powers a global workforce with Cisco Unified Communications.
The Challenge: The Obsolete Conference Room
Imagine you're building a new enterprise software product for a Fortune 500 client. You've assembled a team of top developers in locations all over the world. Your project managers are in the United States. Your testing lab is in the United Kingdom. And your engineers are in the United States, Russia, Paris, and China. How can you get this team to collaborate on a daily basis? And how can you do so without running up thousands of dollars in expenses?
For Rocket Software, an independent software development company based in Newton, Massachusetts, solving this challenge goes to the heart of its business. Rocket builds software for industry heavyweights like IBM, Microsoft, Toshiba, NEC, EMC, and RSA Security. These demanding customers expect a vendor to deliver the best products possible at a competitive cost - or they'll find someone who can.
"Rocket Software needs to be faster, better, and cheaper to stay in business, and we have to demonstrate that again and again," explains Troy Heindel, COO at Rocket Software.
Rocket Software has taken advantage of a worldwide talent pool for several years. Every product is designed, built, and supported by a globally dispersed team. With 450 employees and contractors, the company depends on real-time collaboration to connect those global teams with customers, as well as one another.
The Solution: Conferencing on the Desktop
To help these distributed teams to work together better, Rocket chose Cisco® Unified Communications, which unites voice, video, and data communications on a single secure IP network. With Cisco Unified Communications, Rocket can handle all of its communication needs with a single, integrated solution. Users can communicate and work together using common devices and applications like IP phones, soft phones, and Web browsers, as well as conventional PBX telephones.
Rocket brings together its global teams and fosters collaboration using Cisco Unified MeetingPlace® Express, which lets the company conduct remote meetings that are natural and effective. With just a few clicks, a meeting organizer can initiate an immediate voice and Web conference from a Web browser or their IP phone. Meeting participants inside or outside the company can view presentations and work together on documents. A quick glance at their desktop browser or IP phone shows participants who is speaking or sharing content. To keep conferences on track, meeting managers can use their Web browsers to mute noisy attendees or bring others into the meeting by dialing out or sending e-mail invitations.
"Our Cisco solution lets us conference in testing managers, engineers, and customers for development sessions, and share screens over the Web to show product features and data," explains Heindel. "Because we can all work simultaneously on the same document or application, we can save hours compared to forwarding files around, independently evaluating them, and then separately reconciling everyone's comments."
Cisco Unified Communications lets Rocket take advantage of the data network and tools it already had, making it more cost-effective than standalone systems. And because Cisco solutions are designed to grow and evolve over time, Rocket can cost-effectively add new applications and increase capacity for all the new contractors they'll need for the next project.
"We started with Cisco years ago because we could grow with them," says Heindel. "Now we're pleased to be able to add Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express to our existing networking and communications capabilities."
"Our Cisco solution lets us conference in testing managers, engineers, and customers for development sessions, and share screens over the Web to show product features and data."
- Troy Heindel, CIO, Rocket Software
In addition to improving collaboration, Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express reduces costs by virtually eliminating conferencing-related telephony and service fees. "I don't have to worry about how much people are using the system," says Heindel. "They can talk as long as they need to. The Cisco solution gives us communications capabilities that one might expect to see only in a much larger organization, with a much larger IT budget," says Heindel.
The Result: Easier Collaboration, For Less
Cisco Unified Communications not only lets Rocket colleagues stay connected - no matter where they're working or what time zone they're in - it actually encourages collaboration, a key to success for Rocket.
"We can set up a continuous meeting that's available 24 hours a day," says Khalil Javid, Senior Network and Security Architect. "Some 20 to 30 percent of our conferences are unplanned, and are initiated to quickly respond to a problem. Our CEO can call or e-mail people to invite them to jump in on the meeting, and add or drop participants as needed."
The cost savings from bringing conferencing in house have been spectacular. The $10,000-per-month Rocket spent on outsourced conferencing is now zero. Because employees can use the Internet to call other offices, $200-per-person long-distance expenses have been eliminated as well. What's more, with Cisco Unified Communications, Rocket can easily add new services to make the most of its investment. For example, Cisco Unified CallManager includes built-in support for video telephony, which makes it simple to deploy desktop and room-based video that's as easy to use as dialing a phone. Rocket will activate the feature with minimal upgrade expenses using the network it has already paid for.
"We've got people all over the world, and there's a big benefit in letting them see each other," says Heindel. "A lot of information gets communicated through body language and facial expressions, and videoconferencing will be yet another way for us to bring people together."