Cost-effective, all-in-one Microsoft unified communications
With its headquarters in Perth, Western Australia, Present Group (www.presentgroup.com.au) is a completions enterprise offering a range of services including inspect, test, commission, handover, start-up, ramp-up, optimize, operate, maintain, shutdown and decommission services to the energy, resourcing and engineering sectors.
Present Group comprises a national network with offices and branches across Australia and internationally, in the Philippines and Singapore. With a client base comprising many of the world’s largest ‘blue chip’ energy, resources and utility companies and a project portfolio that includes renewables, power stations, desalination, platforms, refineries, mines, ports and rail, Present Group’s collective experience is without parallel.
Present Group had already adopted Microsoft Lync as its corporate unified communications platform some years ago, being one of the first enterprises in Perth to deploy Lync with enterprise voice as a full PBX replacement solution. With the majority of its workforce located in the field, Microsoft Lync offered Present Group the perfect combination of reliable and mobile unified communications.
Present Group initially deployed Lync 2010 as a fully on-premises solution with media gateways at Perth and Brisbane providing local PSTN breakout via ISDN. At a later stage as it upgraded to Lync 2013, the company moved its servers to a colocation facility in Perth using a centralized SIP trunk connection to handle all its offices’ PSTN traffic.
Present Group felt, however, that the current setup did not provide the level of control over the management of its Lync deployment that the company needed. Present Group therefore decided to move its entire ICT infrastructure to Amazon Web Services & Microsoft Office365, which would be managed and maintained by its own staff. Cobus Bothma, Enterprise Systems Manager at Present Group, explained the rationale behind the move: “We did not wish to invest capital in on-premises infrastructure and end up with an overly complex hybrid deployment.”
“As Microsoft Lync is a critical system for Present Group we needed to achieve stability and quality of service at all times,” he continued.
Present Group engaged Empired (www.empired.com), a Microsoft Gold Communications Partner, to assist in architecting a solution which would allow Present Group to continue delivering unified communication capability to its employees in an efficient manner. “We picked Empired because they have an excellent reputation and an experienced technical team, both of which were important to us”, explained Cobus Bothma. After an extensive review of suitable offerings, Empired recommended AudioCodes CloudBond 365 solution as the perfect fit for Present Group’s requirements.
AudioCodes CloudBond 365 Pro Edition
CloudBond 365 is an appliance-based Skype for Business/Lync solution which contains all the necessary server software and hardware required to deploy enterprise voice services. CloudBond 365 can be deployed as the main Skype for Business/Lync voice infrastructure for SMBs as well as SMEs and larger enterprises in a fully standalone mode or as a highly efficient solution for providing Skype for Business/Lync enterprise voice in an Office 365 environment. Empired recommended the CloudBond 365 Pro edition of the solution which provides support for up to 500 users per device. The solution includes an integrated and highly intuitive management system that gives operators full control over the platform and its users.
The transition from the existing setup to CloudBond 365 was carried out seamlessly with no disruption to the company’s users. Through the use of redundant SIP trunk connections, Present Group was able keep both systems running while migrating users from the existing platform to CloudBond 365 in a controlled fashion. CloudBond 365’s integrated Active Directory connector enabled calls to be routed between the platforms as required. Once all users had been moved over to the CloudBond 365 platform the old SIP trunk could be disconnected.
Present Group has been extremely satisfied with the CloudBond 365 deployment. The all-in-one Lync solution ensures high-quality communications for all its staff in Australia and the Philippines whether they are office-based or out in the field. CloudBond 365’s compact footprint has greatly reduced Present Group’s capital expenditure and by hosting the solution in its own datacenter the company is saving around AU$5,000 a month in operational costs. Overall the company predicted a return on investment of just 6 months.
The company already has plans to expand the solution by adding high availability support at its main datacenter and introducing CloudBond at its regional office in Singapore. Furthermore, the company intends to deploy additional AudioCodes solutions such as SmartTAP passive call recording.
Commenting on the successful deployment, Cobus Bothma said, “AudioCodes CloudBond 365 is a very cost-effective solution providing a unique integration of Lync unified communications with enterprise voice and Office 365. CloudBond 365 has provided Present Group with a robust solution without the high cost of hosting that ensures reliable and high quality communications for our staff all over Australia and overseas.”