All for One—PlatformBy Dennis McCafferty Print
A growing number of companies are discovering the benefits of unified communications: improved productivity and convenience, decreased operating costs, enhanced collaboration and reduced travel.
Langdon & Emison, a law firm based in Lexington, Mo., serves individuals who suffer serious injuries due to accidents or defective products, as well as families who have lost loved ones under those circumstances. The work requires teams of lawyers and support staff—as many as a dozen on a complex class-action case—to travel to remote locations and set up virtual offices in hotels. Sometimes, they will take up an entire hotel floor, dispatching portable hard drives, setting up dedicated servers and stringing cable wire from room to room.
Even with the best IT equipment and support, however, the firm has faced complications. Urgent faxes have had to be resent from the home office to a hotel front desk, potentially creating delivery delays. Conference calls with a large number of attendees have run into logistical hurdles in a small lodging room with just one phone line. If staffers have needed to access their home-office voice mail, they have had to call the headquarters’ receptionist and get dispatched into the system—a time-waster that took lawyers away from compiling billable hours.
However, thanks to a unified communications overhaul from IT solutions provider CDW, Langdon & Emison’s employees no longer struggle with these challenges. All communications services—phone, voice mail, e-mail, fax and conferencing—are now streamlined into one Web-based platform. If lawyers need a conference, they plug in their laptops and get audio access online. When the meeting is over and they need voice mail, they just click on a button, and all of their called-in messages appear as text in their Microsoft Exchange in-box.
“It isn’t just a matter of increasing convenience and improving efficiency for our lawyers and staff,” says Shaun Bender, the company’s IT director. “The ROI on this project was realized on the very first day.
“For example, we’re 45 minutes away from Kansas City. Most of our lawyers live in the city or in one of its suburbs, which allows more of them to work from home. They can now access documents, make calls and send e-mail just as they would do if they were in the office. If they do this from home, it saves them up to two hours spent driving to and from our office in Lexington. In many cases, that’s two hours of billable time.”
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