Leveraging Unified Communications: The Consortium for School Networking

Posted by Jason Firch on Mar 8, 2017 10:00:05 AM

Unified Communications Solution

COSN Implements eXos Unified Communications Solution by OSIbeyond

COSN streamlined its communication and collaboration by moving from a traditional voice over IP (VoIP) telephone system and a separate conferencing solution, to a truly unified and fully integrated solution.

The leadership at COSN understood the benefits of implementing an enhanced communication solution to streamline staff productivity.

The existing hosted VoIP solution offered basic functionality such as voicemail to email, but did not provide true portability and required the use of a complex menu system, making it difficult for remote workers to fully utilize.

The eXos Unified Communication solution provided by OSIbeyond has resulted in several key benefits:

  1. Solved remote teleworking issues
  2. Provided a virtual meeting platform
  3. Enhanced teleconferencing capabilities

“We realized that we could implement a feature-rich unified solution for a price that was comparable to our old system. It was not a difficult analysis or decision. Our IT provider [OSIbeyond] truly manages our phones now. They used to be the middle man. One point of contact makes it easier on our staff .”

- Robert Duke, CAE, Chief Operating Officer

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About COSN

The Consortium for School Networking (COSN) is the premier professional association for district technology leaders.

For nearly 25 years, CoSN has provided leaders with the management, community building, and advocacy tools they need to succeed.

Today, COSN represents over 11 million students in school districts nationwide and continues to grow as a powerful and influential voice in K-12 education.

Lack of Mobility & Integration Limited COSN’s Teleworking Capabilities

Robert Duke, CAE, Chief Operating Officer at COSN, was annoyed by the lack of mobility and integration of the old phone system.

The old solution was a traditional VoIP hosted phone system, while it served its purpose, it did not offer the feature set of online meetings, video conferencing, or enhanced collaboration for remote and traveling staff.

“We did not have true portability with our old solution. The phone controlled features with a byzantine menu system. Teleworkers had to remember to forward their physical phone to their home phone or cell phone each time they needed to work remotely.”

- Robert Duke, CAE, Chief Operating Officer

The Solution

COSN required a solution that would provide unified and portable communications to support remote teleworkers in a way that was seamless to its members.

The eXos Unified Communications platform provided by OSIbeyond offered a truly unified and fully integrated solution consisting of a VoIP hosted PBX phone system, online meeting and video conferencing solution, instant messaging and collaboration, and integrated email in one single platform.

“We would have had to spend money anyway on a virtual meeting access solution with multiple licenses for staffers to use. We needed a better quality conference calling solution with more reliability than a free conference call provider. The unified platform truly makes your handset optional and allows for messages to be managed on your laptop to initiate or receive calls without having to forward a phone.”

- Robert Duke, CAE, Chief Operating Officer



The Challenges

As with any new technology, there are some challenges when deploying a new solution, particularly around end user training.

OSIbeyond has worked with COSN to provide staff with continued training and documentation.

“There was an investment in staff time, but most people have caught on. Not everyone is taking full advantage of the full toolbox, and it will require additional training to make that happen. We ran into technical issues and bandwidth problems that needed to be addressed. Implementation is not without some pain, but the end result is an improved system.”

- Robert Duke, CAE, Chief Operating Officer

COSN Enhances Communication Capabilities with OSIbeyond’s Platform

Since implementing the eXos Unified Communications solution, COSN has enjoyed enhanced mobility and integration of a truly unified system. “It is unified with Outlook and entirely controllable from my laptop.

It has more features than we had before. I rarely have to check the audio recording, included in the message. No need to dial into my phone and push a combo of numbers and # signs to retrieve voice mail. This saves time for me.” said Robert Duke.

In addition, COSN has benefited from increased efficiency and productivity by the staff. “I can now multitask like I could not before.

For example, if I am participating on a conference call I would dial in through my laptop. If I need to make a call while on that conference call, I can still use my phone.” said Robert Duke.

The single most important reason COSN would recommend the eXos Unified Communication to other nonprofits and associations is “Simplicity“ as stated by Robert Duke.

About OSIbeyond

OSIbeyond exclusively serves nonprofits & associations in the Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area, providing Managed IT Service, Cloud Solutions, Strategic Technology Consulting and Unified Communications.

Over a decade of experience operating in this industry has resulted in extensive knowledge and expertise in implementing and supporting technology solutions, while considering factors that are unique to an organization such as staff culture, member demographics, and funding sources.


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Topics: Case Study, Unified Communications