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Law firm CIO makes the case for Microsoft Lync

Thor Olavsrud | April 8, 2014
Law firm Holland & Knight already had a who's who of best-of-breed communications products deployed when the firm's IT team decided it needed to replace the tangled mess of PBX systems that provided voice lines at its many offices. It chose to jettison them all in favor of an infrastructure built on Microsoft Lync Server 2013.

"With the traditional PBX model, we were spending over $400,000 a year just in maintenance alone," he says. "It doesn't take long to work through the ROI to replace it."

As an interim step, Leung's team found a third-party PBX maintenance service that dropped the maintenance expense to $200,000 a year. He notes that made a rip-and-replace a little harder to justify, as the ROI on the project was pushed out from two years to about four years. But he says it still made sense, because the IT team wasn't just planning to replace its antiquated PBX systems; in many ways, it was reimagining its communications infrastructure from square one.

Even before Leung and his team undertook this project, Holland & Knight had been no slouch in offering its staff and attorneys the latest in greatest in communications technologies. In fact, it had a host of best-of-breed technologies: Avaya for voice solutions, Soundpath for audio conferencing, Polycom for video conferencing, Adobe Connect for web collaboration and Microsoft Office Communication Server 2007 for presence.

Best-of-Breed Communications Solutions Weren't Integrated

"We had a range of communications options in place, but all our separate systems produced a far-from-seamless experience," Leung says. "Attorneys didn't make full use of the capabilities because they had to jump between tools to make them work. Nothing was integrated."

For instance, he says, an attorney who started communicating with a client via phone would have to hang up that phone to move to video.

"It wasn't a good workflow, and so it wasn't used that much," he says.

"Our law firm is generally driven by nontechnical people who have generally come up through a liberal arts education," he adds. "Technology is not their forte, nor should it be. Technology needs to blend into the background and enable their workflow."

Holland & Knight needed to streamline the complexity of its technology as much as it needed to streamline expenses. It needed an integrated and intuitive experience.

"We did not want to train someone how to use a phone," Leung says. "We can all make a phone call without someone teaching us how to do that. That's what I needed on a handset."

Why Holland & Knight Chose Microsoft Lync Server 2013

After reviewing its options, Leung and his team opted to build Holland & Knight's new communications infrastructure on Microsoft Lync Server 2013. He notes Lync was particularly attractive because Holland & Knight already had an existing enterprise agreement with Microsoft for Lync for presence.

"We did our due diligence and concluded that Lync would give us a cost-effective, integrated toolset with options available to complement each person's natural work patterns," Leung says. "We're conducting an internal marketing campaign to address everyone's needs — from employees who just want a dial tone on a traditional phone all the way up to those who have desktops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones and want communications options for all of their devices."


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