Sprint Nextel thew out 489 PBXs and switched over their 39,000 employees to using Microsoft Lync, a unified commutations solution gaining in popularity. Sprint Nextel said their goal was to "reduce its environmental impact, improve employee productivity, and reduce costs and administration for its cumbersome telephony systems". Whether they truly "threw out" the 489 PBXs and they're sitting in a landfill somewhere or they sold off the PBXs is unknown, but I'm hoping for the latter or it would defeat Sprint Nextel's purpose of "reduced environmental impact".
Here's what their Lync deployment / voice infrastructure looks like now:
Sprint Nextel claims that switching to Microsoft Lync has saved them nearly $13 million annually by reducing the TCO of maintaining hundreds of hardware-based PBXs, on-site maintenance fees, and annual upgrades. It went with Microsoft's software approach and leveraged Sprint's Global MPLS network and SIP trunking to connect their 39,000 employees together seamlessly allowing them to retire 489 PBXs scattered across the country. Now they simply have Lync Server deployed at two sites for redundancy. Sprint is also now deploying Lync Server internationally to provide enterprise voice worldwide. In Europe, it will use its own European SIP trunking service to provide voice connections through Lync. At its offices in Asia and Latin America, Sprint will install survivable branch appliances (SBAs) to provide voice connections.
According to the case study:
Sprint employees are using voice hardware specifically designed for use with Lync Server to replace their traditional desk phones. About 80 percent of employees use headsets to place and manage calls and conferences through the Microsoft Lync 2010 client on the desktop. The other 20 percent use IP phones that provide capabilities such as directory search and presence information through Lync. “The variety of phones and headsets available is a great benefit of Lync,” explains Scott Woodrome Strategy Manager, Enterprise Real Estate, Sprint Nextel. “Traditionally 70 percent of the cost of a PBX deployment was the handsets. By using Lync, we are no longer tied to proprietary devices, so we can negotiate with our vendors.”
Polycom is a very strong Microsoft Lync partner and is assisting Sprint Nextel in reducing travel expenses through increased video conferencing. Sprint plans to integrate its 30 Polycom video rooms with Lync Server for HD video conferencing where up to 16 participants can appear on screen at the same time. Interestingly, Sprint plans to retire its current audio conferencing service and use Lync as its only service, which is another cost benefit. According to Joe Hamblin Manager of Unified Communications for Client Services, Sprint Nextel, “We were spending more than $300,000 a month in our conference bridging, which we have eliminated entirely with Lync.” By implementing Lync as its primary conferencing service, Sprint saves U.S.$4 million in conferencing costs annually.
Eliminating 489 PBXs obviously reduces the amount of electricity required and reduced office space to heat and cool. Lyncs ability to enable mobile workers also reduces the electricity expense, which when combined together adds up to about $700,000 a year in additional savings. The other TCO reduction was in less voice engineers required to maintain the old 489 PBXs versus their new Microsoft Lync deployment. The aggregate cost savings was $13 million as explained by Joe Hamblin, “Lync Server has enabled us to save nearly $13 million annually. We eliminated costs for our PBX systems by about $2.5 million a year in avoiding upgrades, and another $6.7 million in recurring circuit costs.”
Notch one very big deployment win for Microsoft! My prediction for 2012 is that it will be the year of Microsoft Lync, in particular for businesses with more than 80 seats. Read the full details of the case study here.