Each year, our sister publication Computer Dealer News hosts the Channel Elite Awards to recognize IT Solution Provider for their innovation, leadership, and commitment for creating value for their customers. As Canada’s leading IT channel publication, CDN invited solution providers to submit their best work to nine different categories for 2013’s awards. Here, we present the case studies these award nominees put forward to us. Find out who the big winners are on Sept. 11 when CDN presents them at the CEA Awards Gala.

Learn more about CDN’s Channel Elite Awards 2013

Nominee: Navantis from Toronto, Ontario

Describe the solution, service or initiative
Lync has the power to transform the way we work – for one automotive manufacturer in Canada, that power has converted into thousands of dollars saved in communication costs, better productivity and sky-rocketing customer satisfaction ratings. Customer Satisfaction = Repeat Customers = More Cars Sold. With Microsoft Lync and Gold Partner Navantis – it is mission accomplished all the way to the bank. Remote locations spread across hundreds of thousands of acres of windswept terrain, connected by a single ribbon of highway and a series of local access roads best describes the challenge of customer service and support in Canada. As the second largest country in the world and with many of our major cities located off the beaten track, service, support and accessibility always play a critical factor in determining business profitability for any company planning to sell to and support customers across our nation. This is particularly true in the highly competitive automotive industry. Recent research completed by another client ranked customer service over product quality when building a loyal customer base: “With so many dealerships vying for business with increased competition, ensuring quality customer experience during the buying and servicing process is incredibly important,” said the client’s strategic consulting director. “Our findings demonstrate that personnel at automotive dealerships recognize how providing a good experience can create loyal customers and benefit the dealership’s bottom line.” In Canada, one powerful weapon that businesses can access to deliver a consistent communication experience across our nation is Lync. Lync is changing the business landscape, shrinking borders and offering new methods of communication that empower employees and delight customers. “Lync Server 2010 has literally transformed the way we do business. This is our communications platform for the future.” said one client’s Director eBusiness & Information Systems, which wanted a communications solution that employees and dealers could use to improve customer service and work more efficiently. It deployed Microsoft Lync Server 2010 and gained an enterprise telephony solution and intuitive, real-time communication capabilities available from PCs, laptops and mobile phones. Now dealers, field staff, and internal resources can stay connected, aligning their efforts to always focus on the customer.

What makes it original or innovative?
In addition to streamlining communications and reducing long distance charges, Navantis recommended their automotive client use this platform to deliver online training to dealers, share desktops to review sales figures and design new applications using whiteboarding sessions. This has dramatically reduced travel and enabled better collaboration across the organization.

Describe the improvement this solution made to the customer’s sales or revenues and provide measurable evidence of such.
This solution is being measured around driving customer efficiency and reducing costs; however the client’s Director of eBusiness & Information Systems believes it is inherently driving better sales results: “Is Lync Server helping us improve customer service? Does this drive our competitive advantage? Absolutely,” he added. “And our connectivity goes beyond the boundaries of the show room or office. With Lync Server we have one phone number that reaches us on our PCs laptops or mobile phones. If I have a connection to the Internet, I can be reached.”

Describe the improvement that was made to the customers efficiency, with measurable evidence.
“The great thing about Lync – is that I’ll never have to buy another phone system ever again.” one client’s Director eBusiness & Information Systems said.  With Lync Server 2010, the client benefits from a free flow of information to remain responsive and agile while IT staff use the communications solution to improve efficiency, customer service and collaboration at a reduced cost. By deploying Lync Server 2010 in a virtualized environment, the client has saved money on infrastructure and maintenance. “Dedicating server hardware – with all of the space, CPU, electrical and cooling requirements – to perform a specific task like telephony is archaic to me,” says the client. “Companies with a traditional phone system sitting in their data center could save those costs with a Lync-based communication solution running in a virtualized environment.” The client has also reduced long-distance charges and retired third-party solutions further reducing maintenance and support costs. “With the Lync client, every employee gets their own conference bridge and its free,” says the client. The client has seen improved efficiency in their customer service efforts. Whether it’s a dealer calling the technical support center or a mechanic locating a part, the client’s staff is working more efficiently. Instead of sending emails to find an answer and wait for a response, staff use the Lync client to see which colleague is available. Using IM or an audio or video conference, answers are immediately available. “Is Lync Server helping us improve customer service? Does this drive our competitive advantage? Absolutely,” says the client. “And our connectivity goes beyond the boundaries of the show room or office. With Lync Server we have one phone number that reaches us on our PCs laptops or mobile phones. If I have a connection to the Internet, I can be reached.” “Navantis has stepped up over and over to generate buzz about Microsoft in the business community. From speaking at co-branded events, to show-casing Microsoft innovation in heir monthly ‘Navigator’ newsletter, they have spear-headed the adoption of our newest technology across Canada and into the US. They worked with us several Lync campaigns and show-cased brand name customers driving wins and PoCs. Navantis makes it easy to work together. With several significant wins this year, the results speak for themselves.” Airlee Gunn, Partner Account Manager, Microsoft Canada.

In what ways does the solution go above and beyond industry expectations?
First of all Navantis has deployed Lync internally and were an early adopter of Lync. It is our policy as a company to be the best users of the solutions we deploy. It puts us in the driver’s seat when evangelizing solutions because we speak from experience and we speak enthusiastically. Microsoft has transformed how we do business as a company and we are eager to share that in the business community. This approach builds huge trust with our customers and prospects who can see how we have achieved the ROI and benefits that they are seeking to emulate. Navantis has developed a Lync Accelerate program for clients who wish to take advantage of Lync. Designed to eliminate corporate risk by providing a step-based approach to evaluation, business case development, implementation and training, the Navantis Lync Accelerate program has received rave reviews from the clients who have participated in the pre-launch. “Navantis works extensively with pre-release software from Microsoft so that we are ready to go to market with business productivity solutions tied to product enhancements,” said Randy Lenaghan, Navantis CEO. “In particular, Lync 2013 offers dramatic capabilities that meet the communication demands of organizations competing in a global economy. Our Lync Accelerate program has been created to specifically enable rapid business value.” The significant number of new features and enhancements in Lync 2013 means that the Navantis Accelerate program brings tremendous business value ensuring clients implement and adopt all of the elements of the platform that are critical in their environment. The elements of the Lync Accelerate program include: Experience Lync – Engage users through a well-executed Lync 2013 trial experience that allows them to see, try, and evaluate Lync along with a range of devices that create amazing experiences with no cost to Navantis clients. Assess, Plan and Educate – Beginning with a Strategy Workshop and a Technical Briefing Navantis works to educate an organization on capabilities and align the solution to needs and business objectives. The deliverables include a Solution Assessment and a Plan. Design and Deploy – Following with a Network Readiness Assessment to identify common issues and risks and a managed pilot, Navantis uses tools, documentation and a proven process to assess, deploy and proceed to a larger scale roll-out ensuring success well before any production deployment begins. Deploy and Adopt – Empowering users to drive effective organizational adoption and readiness is a key component of the Lync deployment. Through the Navantis partner ecosystem they are positioned to offer clients a variety of Lync 2013 optimized hardware including converged systems and solutions to fit a range of needs. All clients also benefit from a tailored Lync Adoption and Training kit that enables users to quickly and easily become productive and proficient on Lync 2013. Premier Support – Telephony is a business critical function in all sizes of organizations and many clients require a 24/7 support solution that addresses all aspects of a voice communication system including hardware, software, network and system interoperability. Navantis can respond to and resolve all end-to-end support requests quickly and efficiently through the Navantis Premier Support solution. The Navantis Lync Accelerate program has been designed to address organizations already using an earlier version of Lync and who need to upgrade, as well as for companies who are implementing Lync for the first time.

How does the solution further your customer’s green or environmentally friendly plans?
By deploying Lync Server 2010 in a virtualized environment, our client has saved money on infrastructure and maintenance. “Dedicating server hardware – with all of the space, CPU, electrical and cooling requirements – to perform a specific task like telephony is archaic to me,” the client said. “Companies with a traditional phone system sitting in their data center could save those costs with a Lync-based communication solution running in a virtualized environment.” Subaru has also reduced long-distance charges and retired third-party solutions further reducing maintenance and support costs. “With the Lync client, every employee gets their own conference bridge and its free,” says the client.

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