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Atkins moves their infrastructure forward with Skype for Business Online, Cloud PBX, and PSTN Conferencing – delighting employees, clients, and IT

September 6, 2017

Atkins had a communication and collaboration toolset in place that was working well, but was limited in a few key areas. They chose to embrace a cloud strategy and moved to Skype for Business Online, Cloud PBX, and PSTN Conferencing – ensuring an optimal experience for employees and IT.

  • Atkins
  • 18,000+
  • Global
  • Professional Services
  • Established in 1938 with over 18,000 employees worldwide, Atkins is a design, engineering, and project management consultancy.

Business Need  

Atkins is a design, engineering, and project management consultancy with 18,000 employees in 40 countries around the world. They provide a broad range of services that require connecting teams around the globe through audio conferencing, screen sharing, and video. As Atkins grew, they experienced an increased demand on their communication and collaboration toolset, and needed to evolve toward an optimized solution that would be easier to manage, and allow them to connect seamlessly with clients and colleagues around the world.  


Solution and Benefits  

Atkins moves cloud strategy forward leveraging rich reporting data – with Skype for Business Online, Cloud PBX, and PSTN Conferencing

Atkins had been on a path of evolving unified communications for some time, cycling through various telephony conferencing services and collaboration tools for instant messaging, presence, audio and video conferencing. An on-premises system was working well for them, but Atkins faced limitations with reporting leaving them often unable to quickly determine the root cause of issues leading to extended troubleshooting cycles.

Embracing a strategy of moving to the cloud by 2020, Atkins wanted to optimize their infrastructure, and address management and reporting gaps with their legacy toolset. “Skype for Business Online, Cloud PBX, and PSTN Conferencing are critical components of Atkin’s cloud strategy,” shared Paul Jolley, UC Engineering Manager.“ This ensures we’re always taking advantage of the best communication and collaboration solution Microsoft has to offer because we’ll get the latest and greatest functionality first.”

Enhanced reporting delivered by these solutions helped address prior pain points. Matt Ellis, UC Architect, explained,“ Previously, we’d process call quality issues either through our service desk or through word of mouth. Our reporting visibility was extremely limited. ”Jolley provided further context,“ We rely on ease of communication with internal teams and clients, and ensuring optimal call quality is critical to our business. With Skype for Business Online, the Call Quality Dashboard (CQD) delivers the reports we need – either built in, or easily customized – so we can quickly diagnose and remedy issues that are impacting our users. ”Skype Call Analytics also provides Atkins detailed information about devices, networks, and connectivity for their users calls and meetings, arming IT with the additional data they need to troubleshoot.

This rich reporting data has also helped the Atkins team manage user perception. Jolley elaborated, “The Skype for Business Online reporting tools arm us with the information we need to have a data-driven discussion with users who are having a suboptimal experience. For example, if someone is using Wi-Fi on a poor network, or not using a Skype optimized headset, we can show them how those issues impact their experience. It helps us show where issues are due to user choices, and not the service itself, so we could drive accountability and resolution.”


Thoughtful rollout and adoption approach educates and empowers – simplifying IT management, and an ensuring optimal experience for clients and employees

Atkins aims to be an organization that is easy to connect, engage, and collaborate with. This principle guides how IT rolls out new technology, and how they engage with and educate their employees and clients. As the deployment team readied for their Skype for Business Online rollout, they leveraged the tools, resources, and guidance offered in Microsoft’s Skype Operations Framework.“ The Skype Operations Framework helped us get our rollout just right. It is structured and thorough, and covers all areas of deployment – from technical guidance for network readiness, to best practices that drive end user adoption,”declared Ellis,“ If you follow it, it’s unlikely that you’ll miss anything you need to be successful.”

Atkins conducted a network assessment, addressing any issues they discovered to ensure the highest possible quality of service for their users. They announced the rollout via an email to employees, and linked to a Skype for Business Online dedicated Yammer group.“ Yammer enabled us to engage with users and address questions more quickly than with previous technology deployments,” Ellis noted.

Skype for Business Online has also shifted how Atkins integrates newly acquired employees into the organization. Jolley clarified, “Ease of connectivity is absolutely mission critical for our global business. With Skype for Business Online and Cloud PBX, we can bring new teams on post-acquisition very quickly and easily.”

The ease of connectivity Skype for Business Online enables is also delighting Atkin’s clients. “In recent work with a high-profile oil and gas company, we had a design challenge to resolve that required connecting people across many of the client’s offices,” recounted Jolley. “We worked through the process via Skype for Business Online rather than requiring all participants to travel for an in-person meeting. This saved considerable time and expense, and the client loved the immediacy of collaboration Skype enabled.”

PSTN Conferencing enables users to add dial-in numbers with passcodes to Skype for Business Online meetings for use when internet connectivity is unavailable or limited or when employees are travelling. This functionality is helping Atkins grow their business. “We recently acquired a business in Kenya,” illustrated Jolley,“ and because we could provide PSTN Conferencing dial-in numbers in an area where internet connectivity can be limited, we were able to get into a market that we would have been challenged to get into otherwise.”


Looking to the Future    

Atkins is evolving toward a culture that supports mobile work scenarios, and employees are delighted when they realize how Skype for Business Online can make their lives easier. “We did an Enterprise Voice rollout recent in Bristol,” shared Ellis. “I walked the floor the day after the deployment, and one of our users suddenly realized they could take business calls at home with Skype for Business Online. She no longer had to be tethered to her desk phone at the office to do her job effectively.”

Jolley and Ellis report that Atkins will complete the decommissioning of remaining legacy phone systems in the coming months. As they continue to advance their communication and collaboration infrastructure, they’ll focus on enabling conference room systems with Skype for Business Online, and they’sre also evaluating Microsoft Teams as part of their future roadmap.

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