Hybrid Skype Cloud PBX Deployment Unites Communication for Shutterfly


Company: Shutterfly
Industry: Internet Media
Employees: 3,000
Overview: Shutterfly realized that their fragmented hybrid communication infrastructure was costing valuable resources and money. They needed help consolidating separate communication systems for voice, PSTN calling, video conferencing, chat and PBX.
Solution: Skype Cloud PBX migration

Before Microsoft’s Cloud PBX solution, corporate communication platforms evolved in isolation. Companies had to adopt separate services for voice, PSTN calling, video conferencing, chat and PBX. The result: a disjointed, costly communication infrastructure.

Shutterfly’s fragmented hybrid communication infrastructure was a result of the changing landscape. The company used Lync for telephony and online meetings and Cisco for desk phones because Lync didn’t support this capability at the time of adoption.

By moving to Skype Cloud PBX, the team consolidated all communication systems and significantly reduced communication costs.

When Dan Cody took over as Director of Corporate IT at Shutterfly, he was charged with overseeing support infrastructure services for 3,000 employees across five sites. As part of his due diligence, Cody investigated the company’s communication infrastructure, which consisted of:

  • On-premises Lync 2013 for telephony and online meetings across 24 conference rooms
  • Three auto-attendants configured on Exchange 2010
  • Cisco Unified Call Manager
  • Five sites with hybrid PSTN that forwarded back to Lync
  • WebX for video conferencing
  • Four phone service providers including AT&T, Century Link and Sprint

After evaluating the infrastructure and potential solutions, Cody identified the following challenges:

    • Overspending on communication: Shutterfly was wasting thousands each month on disparate communication systems. “We were spending more than $100,000 each month in combined telephony mode in hybrid spend,” Cody said. “Supporting two systems – both from an operational and financial perspective — was difficult to justify.”
    • Inefficient support: The Shutterfly team is spread across multiple sites and Israel. Working with four phone service carriers meant four support structures and exorbitant long-distance calling costs. Having to contact each vendor about issues created inefficiencies with support and operations.
    • Missing functionality: The company was also missing key functionalities like extension dialing. To reach someone a few offices away, employees had to dial full telephone numbers through AT&T.

Cody knew Shutterfly was overspending on voice solutions. Upgrading to Office 365 E5 licenses would give the company access to Skype Cloud PBX services and eliminate the need for separate telephony, PSTN and video conferencing solutions.

Evaluating Cost

The only cost Shutterfly would incur through the transition to Skype Cloud PBX was new phones. Even with higher license costs, upgrading to Skype Cloud PBX would drastically lower the company’s communication and support bills while consolidating all communication on a single platform.

However, moving the company’s complex hybrid voice environment was a challenge for the Shutterfly team. And to make matters worse, the team needed the solution implemented within six weeks.

With split locations and a strict timeline, Cody looked to hire an outsourced cloud services provider because the IT staff didn’t have expertise to handle the project in a timely fashion. They needed a cloud services partner with rich experience in hybrid voice solutions to guarantee the migration got done correctly and on time.

“Budget was a factor, but technical execution was far more important,” Cody said. “After an initial call to scope out work with Agile IT, the folks had a great technical understanding of what was needed to make the migration successful.”

Working with Agile IT, Cody and the team identified the following project goals:

  • Plan the migration to ensure business continuity. Agile IT accomplished this by migrating each site separately.
  • Seamlessly migrate from onsite Lync servers and Cisco Call Manager to Skype for Business.
  • Complete the project within six weeks to coincide with the data center shutting down and the removal of all hardware and assets.
  • Port over DIDs and coordinate with exchange carriers so Shutterfly staff could maintain the same phone numbers.
  • Mentor the migration team every step of the way, from planning to client computer configuration, post-migration support and training.

Working with Agile IT, Shutterfly migrated to Skype Cloud PBX within the six-week timeline and with no disruption to users. Agile IT outlined the technical requirements and met with the Shutterfly team weekly until all accounts were migrated and users successfully transitioned to the new platform.

“With the project roadmap, we could see milestones, tasks and responsibilities,” Cody said. “We felt confident handing over a significant migration to Agile IT and that it would fit into the timeline.”

Now, Skype Cloud PBX has solved many of the communication and support challenges Shutterfly faced in the past. For instance, the company has gained:

  • Familiar tools and tight integration with existing infrastructure: When selecting a voice solution, user adoption was a major concern for the Shutterfly team. Because Skype integrated with Office 2016, IT staff didn’t need to retrain people to use phones.
  • Consolidated support: Consolidating voice under Skype eliminated the need for call carriers and long distance calling costs. With Skype, Shutterfly now has one central point of contact for support.
  • Voice, conferencing and scheduling features: Along with the regular phone features, Shutterfly also gained cloud calling with Skype Cloud PBX. Staff can now utilize video conferencing and scheduling under one solution.
  • New reporting functionalities: Advanced Skype reporting helps Cody quickly troubleshoot call quality issues and lower the time to resolution. With instant insight into who’s making calls, using videos, conference calling and how long they’re taking, the team can identify top consumers and prevent potential outages.
  • Lower overall communication costs: Before moving to Skype Cloud PBX, Shutterfly had a mix of E4 and E3 Office 365 licenses. By upgrading users to the E5 license, Shutterfly gained a complete, consolidated voice solution for only a few extra dollars per user per month.

“Phones and infrastructure are critical to business; you need them to be productive, and employees expect them to work,” Cody said. “Agile IT understood that was important to me and the company and had the technical ability to transition us seamlessly, despite many requirements.”

Want to see how much you can save on monthly voice and phone system costs with Office 365 Cloud PBX and PSTN calling? Schedule a call with Agile IT today!

“Phones and infrastructure are critical to business; you need them to be productive, and employees expect them to work. Agile IT understood that was important to me and the company and had the technical ability to transition us seamlessly, despite many requirements.”

Dan Cody
Director of Corporate IT

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