Chris Stegh / / Categories: Best Practices, Skype for Business, Executive View

Koppers Cuts the Cord on Traditional Telecom

Reinventing has kept Koppers at the head of its field for 105+ years, and has made it a global leader in railroad and utility products, coal tar distillation and specialty chemical production.  Reinventing the company’s communications platform with Skype for Business is off to a successful start and setting the course for a global rollout.

The end of life of a 15-year old Siemens phone system was the catalyst.  The IT team also wanted a corporate standard for communications.

The firm’s European operations had been successfully using Lync for dial tone, but the corporate IT team took time to make their choice.  After evaluating ShoreTel and Skype for Business, the firm decided upon Microsoft’s solution.  The rollout at HQ has compelled them to move forward.

“We had a hard dollar ROI,” said Lovalekar “We also saw improved efficiency, and reduced risk of running a legacy phone system.  Payback was realized in two years, whereas three years is our typical payback breakpoint.  It was really compelling to go ahead with Skype.”

Areas of tangible ROI included:

  1. Teleconferencing expenses have gone done by $3000/mo.
  2. Savings moving from PRI to SIP trunking.
  3. Long Distance calling.
  4. Decrease in travel (estimated conservatively, could save $20,000, but “I know for sure we’ve saved much more. Because of Skype, we are using more videoconferencing than ever before, even though we spent $100,000+ on some systems.” 

One area dampening ROI is that Koppers hasn’t been able to cut into the current cellular roaming costs. “We were hoping the Skype mobile client would be widely used when people are traveling, and use Wi-Fi as opposed to roaming cellular networks,” said Lovalekar, “but we haven’t seen utilization pick up on Skype mobile on iOS.”  

“The biggest efficiency is not having all the moves/adds/changes,” said Pascoe.  “We used to open a ticket with a Siemens technician to come onsite and physically move a phone.  Now it’s literally picking up your PC and Polycom phone and walking to a new office and plug in.  It’s also efficient to onboard a new employee with a phone number, since it’s integrated with the rest of our network/directory setup process.”

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