Esna links University of Maine System's Voice Network to Google™ Cloud
Integrates University of Maine System’s Cisco infrastructure with Google Apps for Education
Esna was the only vendor we found that could seamlessly connect our existing telephone system with the Google cloud.—Todd Boynton Unified Communications Analyst University of Maine
Google’s dominant presence in the education field is well established. A 2010 Campus Computing Survey showed that over 80% of U.S. colleges and universities now use hosted email solutions, and of those, 60% use Google Apps for Education.
In fact, according to Google, more than 12 million students are using Google Apps today. These tools help bring students, teachers and teams together with website and document sharing applications, shared calendars and seamless compatibility.
In part, this migration to Google Apps by educational institutions is being driven by budget pressures. But it’s also being driven by the need to become more innovative, to encourage students and teachers to collaborate, and to remain competitive with other universities and schools.
A key challenge faced by universities now migrating to Google Apps is how to integrate unified communications capability with these cloud-based applications. Today’s legacy voicemail systems are not cloud-ready and most institutions don’t want to take a step backward with this migration—they want to improve and extend the services they offer.
The University of Maine System offers a great example of an institution migrating to Google Apps and looking for a solution that also offered unified communications functionality. The University of Maine System is one of the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast, attracting students from across the U.S. and more than 60 countries. The System is comprised of seven unique Universities and nine University College regional outreach centers.
In 2009, the University began moving its email to the Google™ platform to enable faculty and students across its multiple campuses to leverage Gmail and Google Apps. They knew that moving to this platform would greatly increase collaboration and productivity while also lowering costs.
However, the University’s IT team also wanted to consolidate their voice networks across a very diverse legacy PBX environment and integrate them seamlessly to the Google cloud. This would deliver true unified communications capability, including single-inbox access to all messages, presence information shared across Google Calendar and Google Talk, and fixed-to-mobile convergence.
Todd Boynton, Unified Communications Analyst with the University of Maine, began researching solutions that would deliver this functionality and he found only one that could integrate their current voice environment with Google Apps: Officelinx from Esna.
Esna had been building a reputation as the company Google turned to when they wanted to help customers integrate their cloud based offerings into existing premise-based phone systems. After hundreds of successful Google Apps integrations, Esna had the experience to quickly implement the solution at the University of Maine System.
Esna is the answer
Esna offered the only solution that seamlessly connected unified communications capability—including messaging, presence and mobility—with the Google Apps for Education suite.
"The Esna solution enabled us to quickly integrate unified messaging and, by moving to a single platform, we’ve been able to increase collaboration, as an example, the Officelinx platform allowed our HR team to build a virtual Center of Expertise with a single, inbound question line that was dynamically routed to the appropriate HR representative, delivering the call to the correct HR rep’s number regardless of which campus they are located on." —Todd Boynton, Unified Communications Analyst, University of Maine
Officelinx offered a unique and comprehensive solution for the University’s communications needs:
- Officelinx enabled the University to connect to key applications in the Google Apps cloud, including hosted email, shared calendars, shared documents, and collaborative websites.
- The Officelinx solution seamlessly integrated with the University’s existing Cisco telephony system, without the need to add hardware.
- With the potential of hundreds of users or more, the scalability and the intuitive Officelinx user interface were key factors in selecting the Officelinx solution.
- In addition to voicemail services, the Esna solution also delivered an array of valuable, time-saving and productivity enhancing features including presence and mobility to the University of Maine System’s faculty and staff.
About the University of Maine System
Established in 1968, the University of Maine System is the state’s largest educational enterprise. It has an annual enrollment of more than 42,000 students and serves over 500,000 individuals annually through educational and cultural offerings. Nearly two-thirds of its alumni—approximately 120,000 people—live in Maine. The University of Maine System features seven universities—some with multiple campuses— located across the state, as well as nine University College outreach centers. For more information, visit www.maine.edu