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Advanced Computer Software PLC : ColArt to roll-out Microsoft Lync to 16 offices worldwide following successful UK project

02/06/2013 | 05:51am US/Eastern

5 February 2013

ColArt, the world's leading supplier of colour and art materials will be rolling-out Microsoft Lync to 16 offices across Europe, America and China, with the support of Advanced 365 (Advanced). The project follows a successful Lync project, which Advanced successfully completed in two of ColArt's UK-based offices in 2012.

ColArt, a fast-growing business worth £150 million, holds one-third share of the world market for artists' colours to the education and craft markets. The art supplier operates in 16 countries and sells products in 120 countries across the world.

Advanced was initially contracted to support ColArt with the challenge of moving its headquarters to London and retiring a legacy telephony system. Advanced implemented Microsoft Lync and a new VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephony system in both the London and the Kidderminster offices in 2012, replacing a number of disparate systems and servers. This project involved integrating Microsoft Office Exchange 2010 with the new VoIP system, using Microsoft Lync.

UK staff are now able to communicate more effectively through a mixture of methods including instant messaging, web meetings and video conferencing. Lync's presence feature provides users with visibility of where their co-workers are at any time. Users can see if a colleague is in the office, working from home, in a meeting, on holiday or has left for the day. Presence will also indicate when a busy colleague will next be available, and how they can best be contacted.

The installation has already enhanced communication across the group, especially amongst mobile workers, and has created a much richer collaborative environment for ColArt's UK staff. The success of the project will serve as a best practice model for the global roll-out of Lync which will take place in 2013.

Mike Panther, Global Infrastructure Manager, ColArt says, "We need to unify our Global IT strategy so that IT can more effectively support the business. The roll-out of Microsoft Lync to 16 global offices will allow staff to communicate and collaborate more effectively, better supporting operations and enabling higher levels of efficiency."

Once Lync is live across all 16 offices, ColArt is anticipating more unified working and an improved 'single company' mentality. There will also be reduced office-to-office international calling rates.

"We will be able to bring staff together into a single, international team, allowing us to keep everyone fully-informed of our strategy and make decisions more quickly."

"Advanced has done a great job with the UK project and we're looking forward to replicating this success across Europe, America and China." Adds Mike Panther.

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