Case Study: Presidio Helps Engineering Firm Cut Costs With Cisco UC Deployment

Channel Partners

March 19, 2008

5 Min Read
Case Study: Presidio Helps Engineering Firm Cut Costs With Cisco UC Deployment

When Pennoni Associates Inc., a multidisciplined civil engineering consulting firm, required a new telecom infrastructure to cut costs and to better connect its 850 employees, located in 22 offices in nine states, Presidio Networked Solutions was called in to help. Presidio is a valued-added solutions provider (VASP) that serves enterprise, commercial and government customers and is a major channel partner of leading equipment makers, including Cisco. Presidio Networked Solutions deployed a Cisco unified communications solution to soothe Pennoni Associates growing pains.


Pennoni had doubled in size through organic growth and acquisitions, but the companys communications and network hadnt kept pace. Prohibitive phone toll and conference calling costs were affecting the bottom line. The civil engineering firms 200 percent growth over six years was putting increasing strain on its aging telecom network and infrastructure. An obsolete phone system played a major role in the firms $30,000-per-month voice and data charges.

We had been working with a badly outdated telecommunications infrastructure for three years, Pennonis director of information technology/associate vice president, Markus Weidner, explained. By 2006, the equipment was feeling its age. A power outage, for instance, would affect the programming of the phone systems, and the offices would be down waiting on the phone company for repairs.

Weidner knew Pennoni needed a new IP-based phone system, but it didnt make sense to deploy one simply in one or two offices. So, Pennoni reached out to Presidio for help with a needed IP communications overhaul across its entire network of offices.


In early 2006, Pennoni selected an offering from Cisco systems for a network migration, after reviewing potential offerings from Nortel, Avaya and ShoreTel. Pennoni selected Cisco based on a set of criteria that included ability to integrate with third-party software. Pennoni had existing Microsoft CRM and IM applications and needed an IP-based phone system that would work well with those applications. Pennoni and Presidio began implementing the chosen Cisco solutions in mid-November 2006.

Cisco Unified Communications (UC) provided the foundation for the communications platform. The goal was to streamline business processes and collaboration by integrating voice, video and data networks, according to Weidner. Cisco UCs standards-based applications integrated with Pennonis existing business tools such as Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office Communicator, enabling the company to quickly and easily access its people, resources and information regardless of location.

Presidio Networked Solutions deployed Cisco Unified Communications Manager 5.1 (formerly Cisco Unified CallManager), as the call-processing component of the Cisco UC system for Pennoni. The scalable, distributable and highly available solution enables unified messaging, multimedia conferencing, collaborative contact centers and interactive multimedia response capabilities. The combination gave Pennoni complete control of its phone system to improve efficiency, productivity and cost-effectiveness.

As a complement to its UC Manager solution, Presidio deployed Cisco Unity Unified Messaging 4.2, which unites all voice, fax and email messages in one mailbox for easy retrieval from any phone, computer or mobile device. The versatile platform lets users listen to, compose, reply to, forward, and delete voice messages via the Web.

Pennoni also added Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express to its new communication infrastructure. The integrated voice, video and Web conferencing solution makes it easy for employees to set up and attend meetings remotely from a variety of different interfaces, including Microsoft Outlook calendars.

The final part of Pennonis deployment was installing Cisco 7900-Series Unified IP Phones, which brought new IP-capabilities directly to Pennoni employees desks. Featuring color LCD screens, as well as soft keys enabling advanced call features and functions, the Cisco IP phones replaced standard phones Pennoni employees were using. The new phones combined the full advantages of converged voice and data networks with great ease of use.

By late December, Pennoni had a fully functioning unified communications system. On Jan. 15, 2007, its Wilmington, Del. location was the first to go live. The Pennoni IT team had been on hand watching and learning through the first six Presidio implementations, then rolled out all the equipment to all remaining sites. By the end of April 2007, full VoIP systems were up and running in all of its 22 locations.

One of the goals from day one of the deployment was Pennonis desire to become self-sufficient enough to implement, manage and troubleshoot the UC solution. Presidio and a team of Cisco representatives held training sessions for the internal IT staff to make the handoff a smooth one.

Today, Pennoni is confident in its management of the system, but Presidios highly trained engineers are just a phone call away.


The Presidio-Cisco solution has paid off for Pennoni, says Weidner, producing measurable cost savings and increases in productivity, efficiency and capabilities.

With Presidios solution, built on Cisco, weve cut our telecommunication costs by about $10,000 per month. Now we have flat-fee nationwide calling and weve reduced Verizon phone lines by 80 percent, says Weidner. Even with the existing cost cuts, Pennoni expects to reduce its costs even further as it continues with the network consolidation.

Beyond the hard-cost advantages, the Cisco Unified Communications solution enables Pennoni to save in soft costs by working in new and more productive ways. Employees receive voice mail messages right within their e-mail in-boxes and can click to hear the messages. They can also dial or transfer calls to anyone throughout the company via four-digit extension, and can call mobile or land lines with a couple clicks in the company directory.

The Cisco Unified Communications solution enables employees to work more closely with each other and Pennonis clients. And with the presence functionality, anyone can see where colleagues are at any given time. This gives them the ability to easily loop others in for IM chats or meetings when they are free.

In addition, by Presidios integrating Unified MeetingPlace Express and UC Manager, Pennoni has the kind of conference bridge thats perfect for Web collaboration. We can now share our desktops, conduct remote training and join calls anytime without worrying about cost, says Weidner. Its really improved the way we work.

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