By Thomas B. Cross Lync User Forum – http://lyncuserforum.com – who publishes a weekly newsletter on Lync

This is an interview with Travis Morrison, Senior Systems Administrator for New Belgium Brewing (http://www.newbelgium.com) of Fort Collins, Colorado a craft brewery providing specialty beers distributed in 29 states with one-third of the 400 person work force located remotely.

Lync From Its Earliest Beginning in OCS

Travis began by saying, “We began the process of migration from a traditional PBX with a hardphone for each person years ago.  When Microsoft OCS was announced we were running out of ports on our legacy PBX and it was cost prohibitive to upgrade.  In addition, we found that MAC-moves-add-changes was also time consuming and expensive.  We started with OCS and we now have a hybrid solution with users on OCS, Lync and our hybrid PBX but that is changing as we perform the final migration to Lync.  We find that our users like Lync softphone features as they all nearly have laptops and a headset rather than the expense of a hardphone.

We also have a hybrid network provider configuration with two ISDN PRI from one provider and SIP trunking from another.  SIP trunking also provides savings as well as supports our increasing mobile workforce including working at home.  Originally, we had all internet voice traffic via an internal router.  We then separated the traffic adding an AudioCodes 1000B media gateway with eSBC-enterprise session border controller and integration with Lync which we are all very happy with.  The AudioCodes product has performed well where we can terminate all our SIP sessions directly.  Our goal is to remove the PRI completely.  Then we can totally use internet SIP trunking with a scalable 20 MBPS fiber pipe via a local ISP and public IP addresses.  We are also looking at metro-wireless to reduce the SPOF-single-point-of-failure problems as most carriers are in the same ditch to Denver and beyond.  With SIP trunking, we can get access to local telephone numbers for our staff in 29 states.  We also like the business model where we pay for what we use.

Social Transition

Alan Percy of AudioCodes on the left and Travis Morrison of New Belgium on the right

We have a younger workforce used to change.  We live in a constant change environment, our culture is a bit part of who we are and not everyone communicates the same way.  Lync solidifies that culture with IM, presence, video, even pics during IM and more.  This social aspect of Lync helps us maintain our culture.  Staff response has been very positive.  Users require little to no training which makes for a short learning curve as Lync is intuitive and easy to understand. When we did training, it was the only class we ever did that the students applauded!  In addition, we like that Lync is about people and not telephone numbers.

Results

We are very fortunate to have a have good partners and a solid platform to scale out as the company is posed for high singles to double-digit growth and looking to add SBA (survivable branch appliance) for two other remote locations and another brewery on the east coast.  We think that AudioCodes and Lync will help us transport our culture to another brewery.  Overall, we are a small IT shop we wear many hats with no dedicated telecom or data engineers and Lync allows us to be self-sufficient from the beginning,” Travis ended.

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