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Synergy with Office Communicator integration Helps IT Firm Trim Travel Costs by 30 Percent

Written by Martin Ortgiess on . Posted in Exact Synergy

Dutch IT services provider Nobel offers customized software solutions and consulting services to organizations throughout the Netherlands. Because it wanted to increase efficiency and reduce meeting-related travel, the company chose to implement a new version of Exact Synergy Enterprise, its primary business solution. The new version integrates with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, which Nobel had previously implemented. As a result, Nobel has cut travel costs by 30 percent, improved employee communications, and boosted overall productivity. The organization has also used the solution to win new business. 

This story is available as a case study at the Microsoft site.

Business Needs

Founded in 1984, Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Exact provides business software solutions to a range of global organizations, including construction, manufacturing, financial services, public administration, and retail companies.

Many Exact customers rely on the company’s Exact Synergy Enterprise application to work on projects, share customer sales information, and handle critical business processes such as billing. One such customer is Nobel, a Dutch IT solutions provider based in Naarden, the Netherlands. Nobel wanted to improve efficiency and productivity for its sales and marketing employees who work in Exact Synergy. “Many times, an employee will have questions about a customer’s order, and that employee used to spend a lot of time trying to reach the person assigned to that customer,” says Barry van der Meij, IT Manager, Nobel. “The employee would call or send an email and wait for a response. We wanted to help our employees make fast, intelligent decisions about how to communicate and who to communicate with.”

Nobel also needed to reduce its travel. Several times each week, Nobel project managers would drive to customer sites for meetings. “We have quite a few customers in the northern part of the country, and it can take three hours to drive each way, plus an hour for the meeting,” says van der Meij. “That’s a full day of travel and a lot of money spent on fuel every week.”

Solution

In early 2009, Exact developed a new version of Exact Synergy which integrates directly with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. Office Communications Server 2007 R2 includes voice over IP (VoIP), instant messaging, and presence capabilities, which workers can use to quickly determine the right person to communicate with, as well as the appropriate method of communication. Office Communications Server 2007 R2 also interoperates with Microsoft Office Live Meeting, a hosted web-conferencing solution. The solution also includes remote desktop sharing, which workers can use to share desktops for easier project collaboration.

The integration of Exact Synergy with Office Communications Server 2007 R2 gives Exact Synergy users the ability to quickly contact a colleague who created a document for clarification on changes to the document. Workers can also immediately find a person in the Office Communicator 2007 R2 client and determine the best way to contact the person, based on that person’s presence information. And if an Exact Synergy user is on the phone and cannot answer a customer’s question, that user can immediately see which colleagues are available to answer the question through instant message or email.

Companies that want to integrate their existing Office Communications Server 2007 R2 solutions with Exact Synergy simply need to confirm that integration with a simple settings change in Exact Synergy.

Nobel, which had previously integrated Office Communications Server 2007 R2, began using the new version of Exact Synergy in March 2009.

Benefits

With its new solution, Nobel spends 30 percent less on travel costs. The company’s employees can communicate better and are more productive. In addition, Nobel has gained new business opportunities.

Reduces Travel Costs by 30 Percent

Because Nobel project managers can now conduct customer meetings online, the company has decreased required travel time. “With Office Live Meeting and Office Communications Server 2007 R2, we don’t need to travel to off-site meetings as much as before. As a result, we’re spending 30 percent less on fuel costs,” says van der Meij. Nobel has also reduced some phone costs by taking advantage of the integrated audio-conferencing capabilities in Office Communications Server 2007 R2.

Improves Employee Communications

With Office Communications Server 2007 R2 integrated with Exact Synergy, Nobel has transformed the way its sales employees communicate. Now, when an employee needs to approve a customer order, for example, he or she can open Exact Synergy and use the Office Communicator 2007 R2 client to see which colleague is assigned to that customer. “If the colleague is available, an instant message session can be started, and questions can be answered immediately,” says van der Meij.

Additionally, Nobel help-desk workers can use remote desktop sharing to assist Nobel consultants in solving technical problems at customer sites. “About 50 percent of our support calls are now handled using remote desktop sharing in Office Communications Server 2007 R2,” says van der Meij.

Increases Productivity

Now that they can communicate faster and easier, Nobel employees can do more work in less time. “We’re definitely more productive with the integration of Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and Exact Synergy,” says van der Meij. “If I need to have an important conversation with coworkers outside normal office hours, I can view their availability and call or send an instant message, depending on their preference. Everyone is more accessible now, at all hours of the day.”

Helps Create New Business

Nobel is also creating new business as a direct result of its new Microsoft Unified Communications solution. “We are conducting webinars now, using Office Live Meeting, to demonstrate our software solutions to customers,” says van der Meij. “We recently demonstrated one of our solutions to a customer through Live Meeting, and the customer eventually purchased the solution. We feel that our unified communications solution played a big role in winning that business.”

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