United Nations Foundation Global Operations Empowered by Lync

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UNF turn to Modality Systems to deploy Lync to improve collaborations throughout its operations and make projected cost savings of more than $100,000 per year.

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Modality’s Lync deployment is a foundation upon which the UNF can build to facilitate further process improvements and deliver ever stronger collaboration with organizations across the globe.

As part of a technology refresh project to coincide with the consolidation of its offices in Washington and New York, the United Nations Foundation engaged the services of Modality Systems to deploy a Microsoft Lync solution integrated with Office 365 to help facilitate improvements in operational communications and reduce costs.

The United Nations Foundation (UNF) collaborates with the UN to connect people from all around the world in order to help mobilize the energy and expertise of business and non-government organizations to support UN issues including; climate change, global health, peace and security, women’s empowerment, and other important UN subject matters.

Effective communication and collaboration is essential for an organization that is not only spread across multiple time zones and involved in events that demand immediate response, but also works closely with a multitude of local and international organizations; from government bodies and security forces to aid and charitable organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

With 30% of staff overseas in the field at any one time who are predominantly reliant on using mobile devices to communicate with other team members and third parties, roaming charges were becoming a financial concern. In addition, the audio conferencing facility used to facilitate multi-party communications both internally and with critical third party organizations costs $10,000 each month.

Following a decision to consolidate its offices in Washington and New York, the UNF took the opportunity to review and ultimately overhaul its legacy technology infrastructure. Having decided to move to a hosted solution for its business applications in the form of Microsoft Office 365, the organization assessed Microsoft Lync as a possible replacement to its aging telephony systems. With a PBX in each office connected via dedicated links, the UNF was incurring unnecessary costs – both in communications infrastructure and the skills required to maintain each PBX system.

Having initially considered Lync online, the limitations of achieving full, business grade voice capabilities via a hosted solution convinced the UNF to opt for an on premise Lync deployment and turned to Modality. Modality designed and rolled out Lync to all staff, integrated with both Office 365 and Polycom conferencing devices. With a looming deadline for the office consolidation, Modality scoped and implemented the solution in under six weeks, ensuring the system was fully operational when users moved into the new office premises.

The UNF has already started to see the benefits from deploying Lync, within their improved collaborations throughout its operations. The federated nature of the Lync solution is transforming the ease with which the UNF can collaborate with its international partners – from aid groups to foundations. Rather than relying on expensive audio conferencing, it is now a simple process to create a conference using Lync, while maintaining a secure and unified user experience. Consequently the UNF has reduced the cost of its conferencing services from $10,000 per month to just $3,000 – creating an estimated annual saving of $84,000.

In addition, mobile roaming costs have been cut dramatically; while the maintenance and line rental costs associated with the PBX have also been removed. As a result, the UNF is achieving estimated savings in excess of $100,000 per year, creating a return on investment within months.

In addition to supporting the UNF teams who are working overseas on projects at any given time, the Lync solution also provides additional staff the flexibility to work remotely whether its from home or another office location, minimizing the potential impact on critical operations. This proved invaluable during the recent snow falls on the East Coast of the US.

Edima Elinewinga, Director of IT, United Nations Foundation concludes, “In addition to providing the UNF with the vital communications and collaboration infrastructure required, on time and below the expected budget, Modality’s Lync deployment is a foundation upon which the UNF can build to facilitate further process improvements and deliver ever stronger collaboration with organizations across the globe.”

About the United Nations Foundation:

The United Nations Foundation supports the work of the United Nations by building partnerships and campaigns that connect people, ideas, and resources with UN causes and global issues. The Foundation mobilizes the energy and expertise of business and non-governmental organizations to help the United Nations tackle issues including climate change, global health, peace and security, women's empowerment, poverty eradication, energy access, and U.S.-U.N. relations.

About Modality:

Modality Systems is a specialist provider of Unified Communications (UC) services, associated products and custom development software for Microsoft Lync. Combining in-depth technical expertise with a professional consulting approach, we have an enviable track record in delivering successful projects globally, working with clients to optimize their investment and the value of UC.

Modality offers a range of end-to-end services- from strategic consultancy and design, to deployment, end-user adoption and application development. Our consultants are some of the highest-qualified in the Lync world, authoring leading Lync publications and carrying out Lync consultancy projects on behalf of Microsoft.

For more information on Modality’s services or for an opportunity to become part of the Modality Systems team, please visit: http://www.ModalitySystems.com.

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Mary Thomason
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