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September 3, 2014

How Oxford University is improving productivity for students and staff

The university ditches Cisco’s Call Manager telephone system for Unify.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Oxford University says it is improving productivity and collaboration between students and staff after agreeing to implement Unify’s OpenScape products for the next three years.

The university, which has over 40,000 students and staff, had been relying on Cisco’s Call Manager telephone system and an Integrated Services Digital Exchange (iSDX) system, according to Dr Darrell Sturley, Deputy CIO at Oxford.

"As our existing telephony goes out of support in 2017 we had to do something different and we decided that an organisation of our scale, complexity and global reach has to have cutting edge communications and collaboration technology," he told CBR.

"We were keen to find a product that uses our data network, integrates well with our other systems, is functionally very rich, and can be used on a variety of devices in lots of different situations around the world. We believe that OpenScape provides those features."

After looking for systems designed to provide such support, Oxford University plumped for Unify’s Unified Communication (UC) applications.

The system, expected to be rolled out in December, includes voice, video and instant message services for staff and students and will be supported by Unify’s OpenScape UC adoption Programme.

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Sturley said: "Technology definitely plays a key role and our students in particular demand a rich user experience – using the communications to collaborate in the way they want with no confinements or barriers. It’s this enablement of intellectual exchange that we required most from a technology partner.

"From the outset, Unify proved that the OpenScape Portfolio would provide our staff and students with the rich user experience they are demanding.

"At the same time Unify demonstrated that it understood the education and commercial environment we operate in. Ultimately, improved communication technology that enables our staff and students to fully embrace BYOD, new ways of working and collaborating, whilst still remaining reliable and scalable, is a core component of our future success."

He added: "For us this is a strategic investment in capability and a risk mitigation exercise in replacing technology that is going out of support. Nevertheless, we believe that the productivity gains will be real and tangible and we will be monitoring these closely."

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