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Southern California Edison leverages an office move as a catalyst for change – reducing costs, simplifying infrastructure, and delighting employees

June 20, 2017

SCE leveraged a move to a new office location as an opportunity to migrate employees to Skype for Business Online with Cloud PBX and PSTN Confererencing. This strategy eliminated the need for costly phone system maintenance, and improved employee satisfaction by enhancing mobile collaboration.

  • Southern California Edison
  • Approximately 13,000
  • United States
  • Public Utility
  • Founded in 1887, Southern California Edison (SCE), the largest subsidiary of Edison International, is the primary electricity supply company for much of Southern California, USA. SCE serves approximately 15 million people in a 50,000-square-mile service area.

Business Need  

Founded in 1887, Southern California Edison (SCE) is the primary electricity supply company for much of Southern California, serving approximately 15 million people in a 50,000-square-mile service area.   

While using a variety of legacy software and hardware solutions for meetings and voice calls, SCE was spending IT resources and budget to manage their process and infrastructure. In addition, employees were often tied to their desk phones, with limited ability to easily communicate and collaborate while mobile, hampering productivity.   

When the IT department began preparing to move office locations, SCE leveraged the opportunity to assess their telephony and web conferencing infrastructure, evaluated opportunities for modernization, and defined an improved path forward.  


Solution and Benefits  

Office move provides opportunity for infrastructure improvments

The office move gave SCE’s IT department the opportunity to reassess their infrastructure with an eye to reducing costs. The company was using a variety of solutions for telephone and web conferencing- some for more than ten years. IT was spending significant time physically managing both meeting provisioning, as well as recurring phone changes, adds, and remove requests. SCE chose to consolidate services, retire legacy solutions, and migrate the IT group to Skype for Business Online with Cloud PBX and PSTN Conferencing.

The company realized an immediate, one-time, cost saving by eliminating telephone hardware. The company is also saving money due to reduced travel and its related costs. “Our goal”, says Sanjay Guragain, Collaboration Architect at SCE, “is to garner significant annual savings by eliminating the need to physically manage phone change requests.”

Deployment team educates employees, generates excitement 

To generate excitement for the move to Skype for Business Online, Cheryl Ang, Program Manager at SCE, spearheaded a set of activities designed to educate and prepare employees for the transition. Through presenting to groups, providing training incentives (such as new headsets), and leveraging Yammer as their first line of support, the SCE deployment team championed the rollout. They highlighted the increased mobility and flexibility that would come with from moving their phone capabilities to Skype for Business Online. By making and receiving phone calls, and joining meetings from anywhere, employees would be liberated from their desktops. “We touted the benefits of moving to Skype for Business Online to our employees”, says Ang. “We showed them how easily they could collaborate without a desk phone. Employees now love being hands-free. Not a single person has asked us for a phone – that’s one of our success measures.”

Skype for Business Online capabilities delight users

“SCE has a meeting-focused culture,” says Guragain, “and with Skype for Business Online we now do over four million meeting minutes a month. This is significantly more than with our prior providers.” He partially attributes this increase to the ease of scheduling meetings with Skype for Business. With their prior provider, employees made meeting requests through IT. Jay Kelly, IT Director, adds, “It used to take us 10-15 minutes to set up a meeting, with all requests managed by IT. Now, everyone has access to Skype for Business Online and, in just seconds and a single click, anyone can provision a meeting.”

In addition to the ease of scheduling meetings, SCE employees also now enjoy greater mobility and flexibility – they can call from anywhere, and their number goes with them. 'With our prior telephone provider, our employees were tied to their desks when they had to place or receive calls. With Skype, our user productivity has increased considerably. We can provide the service wherever our employees are, without relying on or managing an infrastructure on premises', says Guragain. “While on a trip in Europe, my manager needed to make business calls, yet worried about the costs. He then realized Skype for Business Online would enable him to do that without the added international fees.


Looking to the Future    

For others looking to move to Skype for Business Online, Guragain recommends leveraging the resources, templates, and scripts available through the Skype Operations Framework as a best practice to ensure a quality experience. “We spent a lot of time defining and planning our migration process, as well as building scripts for our rollout. The Skype Operations Framework offers a similar methodology and full set of resources to help.”

Now that SCE has successfully rolled out Skype for Business Online to their IT department, they are looking to enable additional groups, and eventually the rest of the company. Reflecting on the future, Guragain shares, “We expect to save some time from our employees once we’re fully migrated. We won’t have to worry about managing servers, infrastructure updates, or patches. The service will be fully managed by Microsoft.”

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