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AMIDEAST:

Improving global workgroup


collaboration with OpenScape
Open Communications references

www.siemens.com/hipath
Summary
Effective communication on a global The task: The solution:
scale is critical to America-Mideast Many of AMIDEAST’s facilities and • OpenScape in connection with
Educational and Training Services Inc. employees are located overseas, so that Microsoft’s Live Communication Server
(AMIDEAST), a private, nonprofit the organization has had to cope with • Voice over IP (VoIP) networking
organization that works to establish heavy long-distance calling expenses. To • optiPoint 410 IP telephones
mutual understanding and cooperation provide services to customers and conduct • optiClient 130 softclient
between Americans and people of the other operations, employees in the U.S. • HiPath Xpressions
Middle East and North Africa. Each frequently need to communicate with
year, the organization provides English counterparts in other countries. Managers The benefits:
language skills training, educational and staff spend many hours on audio • Easy set up and conduction of audio
advising, and testing services to and Web conferences every month to and Web conferences among offices in
hundreds of thousands of students and collaborate on training projects and Washington, the Middle East and North
professionals in the Middle East and discuss issues related to their Web-based Africa.
North Africa. The group operates a training model. • Collaboration is much more effective
network of field offices scattered among and users have easier access to meeting
a dozen countries. Managers and staff But the high cost of international calling documents
in those offices and the Washington had become a burden to the organization. • Avoiding service provider conferencing
headquarters frequently need to be in The problem of high long-distance costs costs by routing via the existing IP/PBX
touch with each other. was especially apparent when AMIDEAST infrastructure
employees made calls from hotels in other • Reduced costs for overseas travel
countries. AMIDEAST needed to find a • Eliminating the risk of security breaches
costeffective way to keep its employees • Increasing productivity by checking and
connected. deleting voicemail and e-mail messages
more efficiently from anywhere

“This ability to communicate more easily has


increased our efficiency and enabled us to
exchange information and make decisions
more quickly. Our teams work better as a
result.”
Ugur Usumi
Director of IT
AMIDEAST

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AMIDEAST improves global
workgroup collaboration, cuts
travel-related communications
costs, with OpenScape
Effective communication on a global scale But the high cost of international calling
is critical to America-Mideast Educational had become a burden to the organization.
and Training Services Inc. (AMIDEAST), a “Most of the time people avoided making
private, nonprofit organization that works international calls entirely because of the
to establish mutual understanding and cost,” says Ugur Usumi, Director of IT at
cooperation between Americans and AMIDEAST. “When people did try to call
people of the Middle East and North Africa. each other, because of the time zone
differences they often wasted time and
Each year, the Washington, D.C.-based money in failed attempts to contact team
organization provides English language members overseas when they were not
skills training, educational advising, and available.”
testing services to hundreds of thousands
of students and professionals in the Middle Obstacles related to time-zone differences
East and North Africa. AMIDEAST also are especially challenging for AMIDEAST
supports many institutional development because many of its field offices are in
projects in those regions and administers countries that begin weekends on
educational exchange programs. Thursdays and Fridays. Consequently,
Saturdays and Sundays are work days in
The group operates a network of field those countries, but not so for U.S.-based
offices scattered among a dozen countries. staff.
Managers and staff in those offices and
the Washington headquarters frequently The problem of high long-distance costs
need to be in touch with each other. was especially apparent when AMIDEAST
employees made calls from hotels in other
Provide efficient communications countries. Typically, these calls cost a
and collaboration tools among minimum of $4 to $5 per minute and in
geographically dispersed facilities and some cases as much as $9 per minute,
employees while keeping costs down Usumi says. AMIDEAST needed to find a
cost-effective way to keep its employees
Many of AMIDEAST’s facilities and connected.
employees are located overseas. As a
result, the organization has had to cope OpenScape delivers presence-based
with heavy long-distance calling expenses. conferencing and collaboration tool
To provide services to customers and that helps users easily determine the
conduct other operations, employees in most effective way to reach colleagues
the U.S. frequently need to communicate
with counterparts in other countries. The group explored solutions from a variety
Managers and staff spend many hours on of vendors, and selected OpenScape from
audio and Web conferences every month Siemens, a presence-aware, real-time
to collaborate on training projects and communications software suite. With
discuss issues related to their Web-based
training model.

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OpenScape’s single presence-powered VoIP devices are already in place in most of
view of all users and the devices available the field offices, and the use of VoIP will
to reach them, users know instantly the help the organization significantly cut
best way to reach a colleague in real-time. down on calling costs, Usumi says.
AMIDEAST had been using Siemens
communications systems with success for The upgrades represent a significant change
more than 10 years, Usumi says, and that in AMIDEAST’s communications, and Usumi
was one of the factors in the decision to was initially concerned about how some
deploy OpenScape. Another was the fact employees might adapt to OpenScape
that OpenScape adds value to Microsoft’s and its presence-aware features. But he
Live Communication Server, which says the changeover has gone smoothly.
AMIDEAST had recently installed. The system has been well received by
employees, who view the technology as
AMIDEAST first began using OpenScape a better way to communicate successfully
in its IT department, with about 10 staff and more frequently with managers and
members trying out the system to get a co-workers.
sense of its capabilities. The organization
expanded the rollout to users in other AMIDEAST is also using the latest version
departments, including staffers in field of Siemens’ unified messaging product,
offices in the Middle East. HiPath Xpressions, in its Washington
office. The system offers a single view of
Usumi says the plan is to have about 100 all email, voice messages and faxes in
employees, including field operations one speech-enabled inbox, a telephony-
directors, new business development accessible rulesbased filtering folder for
mana- gers, country directors and others easy text-to-speech phone retrieval
using the system by the end of this year. sessions and extensive multilingual
Siemens has provided training for the new support.
system.
These messaging features, coupled with
The implementation of OpenScape is part OpenScape’s real-time model, give mobile
of an overall upgrade in AMIDEAST’s users around the world the best of both
telecommunications system that also real-time presence awareness and unified
includes a move to voice over IP (VoIP) messaging for those times when real-time
networking. The remote country managers contact isn’t practical. HiPath Xpressions
have optiPoint 410 IP telephones and supports Microsoft Exchange, Lotus
mobile workers will be using the Siemens Domino, Novell Groupwise (Groupware)
softclient, the optiClient 130 which allows and other IMAP 4/POP3 email environments.
for easy access to telephony features from
the workers PC.

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Upgrade communications environment
improves collaboration while reducing
costs, and boosts team productivity
worldwide
With OpenScape, AMIDEAST can now Most hotels where AMIDEAST workers stay
more easily set up and conduct audio have wireless access and high-speed
and Web conferences among its offices Internet service, so people on the road
in Washington, the Middle East and can set up their preferred device –
North Africa. Collaboration is much more whether it’s a phone or a laptopand be
effective and users have easier access to reached when they’re needed.
meeting documents, an important feature
for all the training sessions that AMIDEAST Recently an AMIDEAST worker in Cairo was
holds for students. AMIDEAST is able to having a technical problem and needed
avoid service provider conferencing costs, help on a Sunday (a work day in Egypt).
since all conferences are routed via the Using OpenScape, the employee was able
existing IP/PBX infrastructure. to quickly make contact with a systems
engineer who was visiting a relative in New
Because AMIDEAST can now more Jersey for the weekend. The engineer had
efficiently conduct scheduled and ad hoc programmed the preferred device setting
audio conferences and Web-based to his relative’s phone, so was able to get
collaboration, it will rely much less on the call and help his co-worker during his
costly overseas travel for meetings. work day in Egypt.

AMIDEAST has also eliminated the risk of Without the concern of high long-distance
security breaches now that it’s using costs, “people are now more likely to make
managed, enterprise-based instant calls when they need to,” Usumi says. “This
messaging with Microsoft Live ability to communicate more easily has
Communication Server. The organization increased our efficiency and enabled us
has increased the value of its Live to exchange information and make
Communication Server investment by decisions more quickly. Our teams work
adding OpenScape to the server and better as a result.”
extending presence-based communications
to voice, video, instant messaging and With HiPath Xpressions, AMIDEAST
e-mail. employees in the Washington office can
check and delete voicemail and e-mail
The presence-aware view of users and messages more efficiently from anywhere,
devices enabled by OpenScape allows and Usumi says this has also led to
employees to have immediate access to increased productivity.
global team members. Employees no
longer waste time and money playing In addition to realizing the value of
“phone tag” via long-distance calls, Usumi improved collaboration to serve its
says. student clients, AMIDEAST is already
saving at least $1,000 each month on
“It’s easier to get hold of each other international calls because of its updated
because of features like ’preferred device,“ communications system. Usumi says the
says Usumi. “No matter where someone organization plans to upgrade to the
is, if you’re trying to reach him you just newest release of OpenScape when it
click on the person’s name and it will becomes available.
find him on the preferred device. You
don’t have to remember seven or eight
phone numbers and are accessible when
you are traveling.”

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