Q&A Part 2: Focus Corp.’s IT director talks Cisco UC

In part one of our conversation with Focus Corp.’s IT Director Shaun Guthrie we talked about Focus’ Cisco WAAS and BYOD deployments. In this second and final part of our discussion, Shaun explains why Focus recently migrated to a Cisco unified communications (UC) solution, offers tips for companies looking to make this same switch and provides a look ahead at Focus’ future plans.

Cisco Canada: Tell us a bit more about your move to Cisco IP phones and communication software. How has consolidating your phone systems down to one single platform changed the way you work?

Shaun Guthrie: Until recently we’ve been using multiple legacy and end-of-life PBX vendors across our organization – 11 different vendors to be exact.   It was time for an update, and after some evaluation we decided to implement a 100 per cent Cisco solution.

We’ve implemented the Cisco 7945G as our standard handset along with the full feature set of unified presence, meeting place, Cisco Unified Personal Communicator (soon to be Jabber) and Webex Meeting Centre.  One thing that has really caught on in our organization is the use of a softphone as opposed to the traditional handset.  We have a 60 per cent adoption rate right now, which not only saves a bit of cost but reduces clutter on our employee’s desks.

While we are still in the middle of deploying the UC solution across our offices, we know the single platform will significantly reduce the management of our telephony systems.  Our infrastructure administrators can now focus their time on more important things instead of managing multiple disparate systems.  On the flip side, the end user will experience a much more unified work flow.  They now have the ability to strike up a chat session instead of sending an email, or the ability to turn that chat session into a live conference/video call/desktop sharing session in just a few mouse clicks.

CC: What tips would you offer up to organizations going down the same path?

SG: Know that UC isn’t just replacing your handset at the desk; it’s a full collaborative suite that can help people communicate in a more efficient manner. You really need to understand your business’ challenges when it comes to this type of technology. Are you going to incorporate your mobile work force? What about the Bring Your Own Device trend that is coming (or already here)? Will you allow those devices to tap into this UC infrastructure?

Because there are so many different solutions and ways to implement this technology, it is my opinion that you find a Cisco partner with the expertise, knowledge and proven track record of implementation to ensure a successful UC deployment.

CC: What about plans for the future? Any new projects using your Cisco technology on the horizon? Looking to invest in any other Cisco products?

SG: Our UC project will extend at least into FY13 as we are not doing a rip and replace of equipment.  Once everyone is unified on Cisco’s Unified Communications platform we plan to build upon that technology with the TelePresence line of video conferencing.

Lastly we are looking at replacing some aging networking infrastructure and have our eyes on the Nexus 5000 Series of Switches, which opens up a whole different set of possibilities that will help us provide a robust service delivery.

Our thanks to Shaun for sharing Focus’ story with us.  If you’d like to be featured in an upcoming Cisco Canada blog, or have questions for Shaun, leave a comment below.

Shaun Guthrie, director of information technology at Focus Corporation, is responsible for leading and inspiring a dynamic group of IT professionals that utilize cutting edge technology to advance his organization’s innovation and service delivery.  He is also responsible for the enterprise’s IT strategic planning, development, implementation of innovative technology and service delivery to support the organizations overall operations and direction. Shaun is an avid outdoor enthusiast; during the winter he can be found Skiing the Canadian Rockies and during the summer he’s hiking or climbing them.

About Cisco Canada Guest

Cisco Canada's guest blog series has been designed to provide insights and perspectives from our partners and customers on transformative technologies and practices that impact their organizations. With each new post we encourage our community to engage in conversation and discussion in the comments section below and share on their social networks. Opinions expressed here, and in any corresponding comments, are the personal opinions of the original authors, not of Cisco. La série des blogues des invités de Cisco Canada a été conçue pour faire connaître les connaissances et les points de vue de nos partenaires et clients à propos des technologies et des méthodes transformatrices qui font avancer leur entreprise. À chaque édition, nous invitons notre communauté à amorcer le dialogue et la discussion dans la section des commentaires au bas de la page du blogue et de partager l'information sur leurs réseaux sociaux. Les opinions qui y sont exprimées de même que les commentaires associés sont les opinions personnelles des auteurs d'origine et non celles de Cisco.
This entry was posted in Cisco, Collaboration, Routing and Switching, Wireless and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Q&A Part 2: Focus Corp.’s IT director talks Cisco UC

  1. Shaun says:

    Reblogged this on Strategic IT and commented:
    Part 2 of my discussion with Cisco around the technologies we use

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s