By Carole Dohan
How can you increase efficiency and cut costs? There are numerous routes for companies to take to achieve this, but I wanted to share a great example of how making a few changes can bring employees closer together and ultimately make a great impact. When the Lync Conference in February brought together almost 2,000 enthusiasts in Las Vegas to find out what’s next in the world of unified communications, our team was very happy to see one of the most compelling examples coming from none other than Belgium. During the conference, the Belgian bio-pharmaceutical manufacturer UCB shared their story. According to Didier Generet, Vice President for International Global IT Infrastructure at UCB, “Lync has definitely changed the communication and collaboration culture at UCB. It has helped us become a more effective organization.”
UCB is focused on developing drugs for the treatment of severe medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and chronic allergies. With operations in 40 countries worldwide, the company’s diverse workforce of over 9,000 employees across multiple business units and regions previously used a complicated mix of communication systems to stay connected, work with partners and serve customers. But this combination was pricey and inefficient.
“We wanted a better way to communicate,” said Generet. “So we initiated the Smarter Way program, which focuses on looking for savings, being more efficient, and being more collaborative.” To untangle the bundle of solutions and products, UCB upgraded to the latest release of Lync and Lync Server in 2013 – by the end of the year, conference calling had grown to almost 30,000 monthly calls, while instant messaging had topped 2.4 million messages per month, an increase of 100 percent in six months. Since replacing its legacy conferencing services with Lync, UCB has reduced web-conferencing costs by more than US$1.4 million a year.
By upgrading to the latest release of Lync, UCB can now better support its global workforce, reduce costs and enable flexible, effective teamwork. Instead of waiting for a response to an email, UCB employees can now check who is available and immediately reach out to their colleagues with no time wasted. Employees can stay connected while traveling or sprinting to a meeting on a device of their choosing, while in the office teams are able to set up meetings with colleagues or customers across the globe with Lync Room Systems that breaks down the barriers between in-room and remote attendees.
Generet and Ralph Schepke, Associate Director of Communications Systems at UCB, both believe that Lync will also help enhance employee productivity and indirectly contribute to increased revenue at UCB. “Eventually, we will use every aspect of Lync at UCB,” said Schepke.