How Cisco Unified Communications helped one company answer the phone all over the globe
The Challenge: 7 Networks, 0 Reliability
Few people would argue these days that if you're out of touch, you might as well be out of business. Least of all, consultants. Imagine not being reachable - by clients, colleagues, even your boss.
That was the predicament facing Chicago-based Navigant Consulting.
For Navigant - like any consulting firm - maintaining constant communication is not optional. Navigant consultants need to be able to respond quickly to their clients and work anytime, anywhere.
Yet, when the company acquired seven new companies in 2005, the connectivity that the company had taken for granted was at risk. Each of these companies had its own voice and data network with multiple vendors, management interfaces, and tools - all of which had to be integrated and managed. The resulting patchwork system didn't provide the reliability that Navigant required.
"We faced a huge mix of PBX systems from different vendors, as well as disparate voicemail systems," says Cory Daehn, Director of IT Architecture at Navigant. "We were also managing unfamiliar technology, so we had to rely on costly outside vendors for administration."
The Solution: A Single Network
With the company's means of doing business at risk, Navigant decided to standardize all its networks on a single converged IP network that delivers voice, video, and data communications. Once they outlined their requirements, however, only one provider could offer Navigant a complete solution: Cisco Systems®. Deployed by businesses with as few as a handful of employees up to many thousands, Navigant found Cisco® Unified Communications to be smart, simple, and secure.
At the heart of the solution is Cisco Unified CallManager, which lets Navigant handle phone calls using its data network via either IP phones or softphones - or both. The new system also delivers sophisticated voice messaging, so Navigant consultants can forward or reply to messages by pressing just a few phone keys, and easily build broadcast lists to send out team or project updates.
"I went from Chicago to London to Los Angeles in one week. With the Cisco softphone loaded on my laptop, I was able to stay productive even with six- or eight-hour time differences," says Dan Nottke, Chief Information Officer at Navigant. "I was sitting in my hotel room in London, and when a client called, they had no idea that I was not at my desk."
Another very important consideration for Navigant was that the solution be easy to manage. With the Cisco solution, Navigant completes phone moves, adds, and changes much faster than with its previous traditional PBX. Navigant's IT staff quickly made the leap to supporting the new network. "They found that Cisco IP cCommunications is something they can adopt without a steep learning curve," says Nottke.
"I can talk to clients when they call, rather than wasting time checking voicemail every half hour. Clients love the quick response."
- Jeff Hall, Associate Director, Navigant Consulting, Inc.
The Result: An Uncommon Solution, a Common Outcome
Navigant consultants are constantly on the move, and they appreciate how the Cisco solution lets them stay in touch anywhere.
"We can sum up the benefits with one word: mobility," says Nottke. "The Cisco solution gives our consultants the connectivity they need, no matter where they are." For example, the extension mobility feature makes consultants easier to reach, so they can respond more quickly. The result is more satisfied customers.
"It's great. People from Navigant and clients are impressed that they can reach me, whether I'm working in Atlanta or in my home office in New York," says Jeff Hall, Associate Director at Navigant.
Navigant is also saving money on network administration, because the converged network is a single platform that it can manage with its own staff. "We've eliminated some 20 hours a week in onsite vendor expenses for moves, adds, and changes at our offices," says Daehn.
Cisco Unified Communications gives Navigant the features and mobility it needs to deliver top-notch service to clients. And because Cisco solutions are designed to grow and evolve over time, Navigant can cost-effectively add new applications for all the new employees who come with the next acquisition.