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Cisco, GW-Unify, Novell GroupWise - Unified Messaging for Mobile Users

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By GW-Unify

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Posted: 8 Nov 2005
 

Background

Administrators at Splendora School District in Houston, Texas have the unique challenge of effectively managing work responsibilities while away from their office and desktop. This same challenge is shared by administrators and executives outside the educational industry as workforces become more mobile.

Splendora has been a GroupWise customer for 6 years and currently has about 400 users. Just recently, the Splendora School District finished construction on a new high school in which they installed desktop workstations with GroupWise and the Cisco IP phone system with Unity.

Challenges

James Treadwell, IT administrator for Splendora, planned to use the new Cisco IP phone system with Unity to deploy unified messaging for Splendora administrative staff. There were two reasons why Treadwell wanted to install unified messaging.

  1. Mobile Voicemail Access- The administrative tasks at Splendora required employees to be mobile. Mobility made it difficult for employees to recover voicemail. Employees were often away from their phone which was directly tied to their voicemail. Additionally, cell phones were unpredictable in some locations making them unreliable referring to voicemail retrieval for the mobile worker. Unified messaging would make it possible for Splendora employees to manage voicemail through any web browser on location or through a PDA. Without a unified messaging platform, Splendora administration would be hindered in accomplishing their jobs.
  2. Unified Messaging- Because of a large quantity of voicemail and email, Treadwell wanted a solution that would allow Splendora administration to combine email and voicemail management under one platform. Without unified messaging, voicemail users were compelled to listen to and manually manage each voicemail in sequential order. This made finding specific voicemails time consuming and inefficient.

Options

Whichever option Treadwell was able to find, it had to meet the single criteria of working with Novell GroupWise and Cisco Unity. Treadwell found the only option was GW-Unify, a unified messaging solution supported by Cisco and GroupWise.

Solution

James Treadwell found GW-Unify while reading Novell's Cool Solutions Newsletter. Immediately, he contacted Advanced Logic Industries, makers of GW-Unify to see how he could deploy it at Splendora.

Why GW-Unify

Splendora School District now feels that GW-Unify solves their unified messaging needs. GW-Unify provides a seamless integration between Novell GroupWise and Cisco's Unified Messaging system without requiring a change in email platform or requiring the need for additional program software. GW-Unify offers Treadwell the ability to maintain GroupWise's superior administration and robust security performance coupled with unified messaging flexibility. Moreover, because of the seamless integration of GW-Unify with GroupWise, Treadwell does not have to offer additional training to his users.

With GW-Unify, Cisco voicemails are routed to the GroupWise client as electronic messages. Voicemail and email appear together in the client. This gives users the ability to manage both email and voicemail simultaneously. The voicemails appear exactly as emails with sender information, and time and date. Because the voicemails appear as emails, users can manage them similar to the manner in which they manage email. Voicemails can be marked as read or unread, forwarded, deleted, saved, and moved to different folders. The message status (new vs. read) is synchronized regardless of whether the voicemail was accessed through voicemail, through email, or by other methods. Voice messages can also be combined with other electronic attachments including faxes, and forwarded to others via email.

Mobile Access

Voice messages are made accessible and manageable to the user, regardless of their method of message access. This allows Splendora users to access their voicemail from the GroupWise Web Access client, as well as appropriately equipped PDAs. Other methods of access include telephone, PC softphone, and the GroupWise desktop email client(online and remote modes). This gives Splendora administrators the ability to be mobile yet responsive to their voicemail. By simply accessing their email through a number of options, they are able to manage voicemail without being near their phone.

Deployment

Treadwell initially deployed GW-Unify to 10 users at Splendora. These users were IT technicians, business managers, principals, and superintendents. The actual deployment took less than an hour. Additionally, the deployment was done transparently without the 10 users noticing a change in their email or normal business activities. Users were immediately able to retrieve and manage voicemails in their email mailboxes. There were no problems with the deployment. Overall, the deployment was fast and easy.

Current Attitudes and Changes

Splendora absolutely loves GW-Unify and what it offers in terms mobility access to voicemail and voicemail management. The users say that they consistently use the management features and find that it saves them a lot of time, but also allows them to be more effective in the administrative roles. They feel that they are free to move away from the desk without sacrificing responsiveness. Many of them say that since deploying GW-Unify, they no longer use their phone to check their voicemail. All voicemail access and management is now done through GroupWise.

Moving Forward

Splendora is pleased with the partnership of Cisco, GW-Unify, and GroupWise. They look forward to providing unified messaging to more users in the near future. They are excited to offer other school administrators with the tools they need to be more effective through GW-Unify.

For More Information

For more information about GW unify, or to request an evaluation for your organization, please visit www.gwunify.com


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