IEEE, pronounced "Eye-triple-E", stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. The IEEE is the world’s largest professional association, dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence. There are more than 400,000 IEEE members—including engineers, scientists and allied professionals—in over 160 countries around the world.
Several years ago, the IEEE’s leadership team in New York began evaluating the benefits of leveraging cloud-based applications in order to reduce cost levels and mitigate demand on in-house IT resources. One area that made sense to consider moving was the company’s email system.
The organization was using a Cisco® Call Manager/Unity Connection solution, along with Lotus Notes for email. The integration of Unity with Notes provided the IEEE’s employees with basic unified messaging and communications functions. After review, and in line with the organization’s new direction toward using cloud-based solutions where possible, it was decided to move the IEEE to a Google™ Apps / Gmail platform.
IEEE chose LTech, a Premier Google Apps VAR, to assist with the migration—providing project management, technical configuration, data migration and training services for the 1500-user deployment. The LTech team works closely with an array of partners to develop solutions tailored to a customer’s needs.
One important requirement for IEEE in this migration was to retain the unified communications capability its employees had come to rely on and find a solution that would deliver on cost and functionality, and also offer an intuitive user experience.
LTech recommended to IEEE’s Manager of Networking and Unified Communications, Mike Rintzler, that they bring in Esna to integrate Unity Connection with Google Apps. A long-time LTech partner, Esna had established a reputation for being able to connect nearly any telephony environment to Google Apps and Gmail. LTech EVP Russ Young said, “When it came to looking for a partner who could connect IEEE’s voice infrastructure with Google Apps, we immediately turned to Esna. They are really the best choice for this type of Unified Communications integration.”
IEEE’s Cisco reseller also confirmed to Rintzler that Esna had a robust relationship with Cisco and integrated well with Cisco products. Based on those recommendations, the IEEE team requested a demo of Esna’s Cloudlink for Cisco solution and quickly realized that there wasn’t another solution out there that had the same abilities. Esna Cloudlink is a pure software solution that leverages standards-based SIP and Cisco’s Jabber SDK to integrate with Cisco’s collaboration products. It runs in an existing virtualized environment and supports VMware Vsphere 4.x and higher. Said Rintzler, “Esna’s Cloudlink for Cisco solution was the only one we found that could provide a seamless integration between our Cisco solution and Gmail.”
A smooth rollout to nearly 1,000 users
Once the decision was made to go with Cloudlink, the Esna team worked closely with LTech and the IEEE to plan the rollout across four large sites and a handful of satellite offices. On the install date the process went smoothly and it was less than three days from start to final synchronization of all mailboxes.
Dave Kaminsky, Manager of Alternative Client Systems at the IEEE added, “The Cloudlink solution from Esna was the right choice for us. Install was easy—Cloudlink’s configuration wizards automatically provisioned our users and we were up and running within a couple of days.” User response to the new system has been good. The IEEE’s employees were already accustomed to unified messaging functions and the Google interface for email was intuitive to use. There were no complaints about the transition or any need for the IEEE tech support team to step in. The deployment of Cloudlink enabled the IEEE to migrate its email system, and associated maintenance and upkeep, to Google’s cloud-based solution while maintaining important unified communications functionality for its employees.