Rolling out UC to a company with 50,000 employees and contractors isn’t something you do overnight. Currently, we are almost 50% complete and it has been a very successful first year.
As we mentioned in my last post, when we started the deployment, we began with the edge of the network, such as smaller offices. But the focus shifted to the main Sprint campus in Kansas City and other large facilities once we realized the potential real estate cost savings due to building consolidation.
We calculate that we have been able to aggressively reduce our office space needs by a million square feet to date, leveraging UC as a catalyst. We presently have nearly 15,000 employees who used to work out of traditional office space who now work wherever they need to be. This may be in an office environment, in front of customers, in collaborative meetings or even from home. We have also eliminated 177 of our nearly 500 PBXs and leveraged SIP trunking, saving nearly a million dollars a year in circuit and power costs. These activities are helping to meet Sprint’s green initiative commitments.
It’s no surprise, with these types of programs that Sprint was rated the top telecom company in Newsweek magazine’s “Green Ranking” of America’s 500 largest corporations. There are many socially redeeming benefits to deploying UC. Our 15,000 mobile employees drive about half the distance they used to per year, eliminating time wasted in commuting, buying less gasoline, and pumping fewer greenhouse gases into the environment.
We continue to build on what we have learned, emphasizing employee training and keeping employees informed about when and how they will convert to UC. Employees are becoming more creative with their use of UC features and applications, such as presence, desktop collaboration, voice and video conferencing. Productivity, although not specifically measured, has improved as cultural attitudes change regarding presence indicators. Unobtrusive multi-tasking is becoming the norm compared to the exception. Instant messaging may be used to address issues with no interruption to conference calls or face to face meetings. At the same time, the use of Live Meeting is evolving, providing opportunities to launch impromptu videoconferencing and document sharing, spurring more collaboration through that application.
We believe Sprint is typical of many large and medium sized corporations, faced with the same collaboration challenges. We want to drive out costs, simplify the business, and leverage technology to streamline processes and communication. We’ve learned many important lessons about deploying UC in the past year and will continue to share some of those lessons with you in the next post.