Microsoft's unified communications solution dramatically improves Ministry's collaboration capabilities and increases productivity.
BEIRUT - Lebanon's Ministry of Finance has implemented Microsoft Lync 2010 to satisfy an overwhelming need to better connect its staff of more than 5,000 government employees tasked with promoting a stable economic environment for the East Mediterranean country.
The Ministry's previous system of intercommunication was effectively limited to phone and email correspondence. Employees on assignment overseas could only interact with their colleagues in Lebanon via email; they had to be physically present to participate in meetings. In addition, the Ministry's directory had become unwieldy and unworkable.
"Even if you could find [an employee in the directory], you had no idea if they were away, in a meeting or in a middle of a phone call," said Ahmad Itani, systems manager, Lebanon Ministry of Finance. "This inability to connect and know each other's availability caused a lot of dissatisfaction among the employees. We were really having difficulty in collaborating with our colleagues, and it was very frustrating for everyone."
Since deploying Lync 2010, the Ministry has witnessed a dramatic change in the way its staff communicates, with improved collaboration and an increase in productivity. Among the particular areas that were addressed by Microsoft's unified communications solution was the issue of finding a specific employee. With Lync 2010, Ministry employees can sort and search for one another by name; they can communicate via instant message and add one another to contact lists. Staff members no longer have to be local to participate in meetings, and Lync 2010's voice conferencing capabilities have also helped cut communications-related costs.
"Employees realized that Lync 2010 had far more capabilities than just instant messaging, and they like the fact that they can keep in touch with everyone, especially if they're traveling abroad," Itani said.
One of the collaboration tools that has particularly impressed the Ministry's staff is co-authoring, which allows a Microsoft Office document to be shared and worked on by different people simultaneously.
"This has proved to be a great timesaver since you can get everybody's input during meetings even though they may not be in the same room," Itani said. "This has also made a lot of in-person trips unnecessary and saved us a lot of money."
"Government entities worldwide are being challenged to do more with less ? they need to deliver increasingly intelligent services demanded by citizens, yet also focus on keeping costs down," said Elie Sleiman, Public Sector account manager, Microsoft Lebanon & NIM. "As the Lebanon Ministry of Finance has seen, new technology can open the door for more efficient and improved decision-making and increased accountability. These combined benefits of collaboration through technology can make a real impact on the overall delivery of better citizen services."
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