Government agencies love unified communications. By combining voice and data services over a single network, UC saves money and improves collaboration. Moreover, it provides flexibility for the difficult and unexpected scenarios an organization might face — including disasters that might otherwise threaten the continuity of day-to-day operations.
That's what Southwest Florida Water Management District's Jim Lewis discovered when the sprinkler system in one of his locations accidentally went on, forcing him to immediately relocate 150 people from the water-damaged office to other district facilities.
Lewis found that it was surprisingly simple to have users from the damaged office relocate to alternate facilities. The phones and PCs were moved and reconnected at their new locations and continued working with minimal configuration changes. With a few clicks of the administrative mouse, Lewis was able to route calls appropriately and keep staff productive despite what might have been a serious catastrophe.
"With a conventional PBX, everything is hard-wired to a switch," Lewis explains. "With UC, on the other hand, you can hang everything on your network, so moves, adds and changes become much easier."
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency's Kris Clymans agrees. His ShoreTel implementation is provisioned with a pair of redundant servers that ensure ready failover in case of a hardware problem. And, in the event of any kind of catastrophe, he can readily empower staff to work from home or an alternate facility.
"There's no comparison between how quickly you can set up users in a UC environment and what you'd have to do with a conventional PBX," he says. "We are much better prepared now for any contingency that might come our way."
To learn more about the flexibility UC provides, read "Reduce Telecom Spending While Improving Services."