“As global opportunities arise, and we move people to different regions to be closer to their workloads, Skype for Business Online is a total game changer. It lets us scale no matter where our team members are, and enables a full suite of collaboration technologies in the cloud, without a required host to maintain or manage servers.”
Phil Orin, VP of Information Technology at Ixia
“We've easily realized more than 20% in savings by replacing legacy PBX phone systems with Skype for Business with PSTN Calling.”
Tim Wagenknecht, Unified Communications and Collaboration Technical Lead at Ixia
“Skype for Business Online has fostered enhanced communication inside our company, enabling our engineers to not only more easily collaborate, but also understand each other better. The significant project advances I’ve seen because of our Skype implementation have been remarkable.”
Niv Dolgin, IT Director, Infrastructure & Operations at Ixia
Ixia is a geographically dispersed discrete manufacturing and software development company with approximately 1,900 employees in 38 offices across 18 countries. Their communication and collaboration infrastructure supports a variety of roles and workloads, including Direct Sales, Engineering, and Operations (Finance, Human Resources, and IT).
While Ixia had used real-time collaboration tools for some time, starting with Microsoft Lync in 2011, they faced lingering challenges of costly, aging PBX systems, and an organizational culture that resisted change. Ixia sought to reduce telephony costs, move toward a simplified collaboration platform, and cultivate a culture of approachability to enhance project outcomes.
Solution and Benefits
Streamlined deployment enables adoption and enhances global productivity.
Ixia deployed Skype for Business Online with Cloud PBX and PSTN calling in select locations. By leveraging the Skype Operations Framework, they led a successful deployment of and migration to Skype for Business that met, and sometimes exceeded, their goals.
“We had 75 people at one of our sites on a 15-year old system. We turned off the old system, deployed Skype for Business Online, and had everyone up and running within 7 days. I'd never seen a rollout that went so smoothly and quickly,“ says Niv Dolgin, IT Director, Infrastructure and Operations at Ixia.
Ixia’s Skype for Business solution supports an estimated 1,500 logins, 450 conference calls, 350 multi-party audio and video calls, and 160 IM meetings daily – with over 12,000 minutes of audio conferencing, inclusive of PSTN. They report reliability and availability ratings consistently above the 95th percentile. Adoption continues to grow at a fast clip, and Ixia expects to realize additional benefits as they deploy to additional office locations.
“Enabling our sales staff to use Skype everywhere they go internationally, whether Ixia has an office presence there or not, has been vital for intra-team and cross-organizational meetings,” says Phil Orin, Ixia’s Vice President of Information Technology. “We are no longer constrained by our physical office footprint.“
Cultivating a collaborative culture that adapts to change.
95% of Ixia’s employees are Information Workers, with pockets of the organization showing resistance to change as well as direct collaboration. Skype for Business Online offers a way for people to immediately engage via IM, promote to a phone call, and evolve to direct collaboration in real time. “Skype has facilitated improved person-to-person interactions by not only increasing sensitivity to others, but fostering more frequent communication. Skype has broken down social barriers, which we see in greatly improved productivity,“ says Niv Dolgin.
Ixia leverages marketing, data and reporting, and education to win over some of their most change resistant employees. “The amount of measurement and reporting that’s at our disposal is not only critical,” says Tim Wagenknecht, Ixia’s Unified Communications and Collaboration Technical Lead, “but the level of detail allows us to gain deep insights into behaviors, that help us address issues and promote organizational change. Some of those who were our toughest critics, are now our biggest evangelists.”
Looking to the Future
Skype for Business Online with Cloud PBX and PSTN Calling supports Ixia’s strategic priorities to reduce T&E and infrastructure costs, while cultivating improved collaboration and better project outcomes. While they hold a vision where Skype for Business is used for all modalities of collaboration and communication across their full organization, their next stage plans call for incremental growth with new deployments in the United States, and internationally. With an eye to reduce travel expenses by $2M a year, they’re looking to build on their success with Skype for Business Online by driving deeper user engagement with Skype’s full capabilities, including video and screen sharing, in addition to introducing new collaboration technologies like Surface Hub.