When introducing a new telephone system, it is not enough to simply replace the hardware. Comprehensive integration with modern collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams is more important. This was a crucial step for primion towards more flexible digital working options – also in order to meet their own quality standards.
Stetten am kalten Markt, beautifully located in the Swabian Mountains, has made a name for itself in the field of security technology. This is where primion Technology has had its headquarters for 25 years. The company, which specializes in access control, time recording and security management, with its subsidiaries in the primion Group, is one of Europe’s leading providers in this area. Its approximately 400 employees in Germany, France, Spain, and the Benelux countries cover all project phases – from installation to support. Software and hardware are developed and produced in-house to meet the high quality standards of primion. The primion Group itself is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Spanish Azkoyen Group, which specializes in electronic payment systems as well as coffee and vending machines.
The objective of primion is to meet the highest standards. This also applies to working conditions and the technical infrastructure within the company. Flexible working hours on the basis of efficient IT underscore its claim of being a modern employer. When the maintenance agreement for Alcatel-Lucent’s aging telephone system ran out, and it became increasingly difficult to obtain spare parts, a good opportunity arose to consider far-reaching modernization. “Until now, telephony was only partially integrated into the Microsoft world, and we had no centralized software and hardware management,” says Peter Klett, Head of IT at the primion Group, describing the situation. “We wanted to change both and at the same time reduce the burden on IT by using cloud services.”
The team around Peter Klett started a transformation project with several objectives: In the future, IT was to provide even better support for the work of primion employees, in particular through the integration of all the functions of the telephone system with Microsoft. At the same time, the company planned to migrate to the Microsoft 365 cloud solution, with Microsoft Teams being implemented as part of Office 365. Microsoft Teams is a platform that combines chats, meetings, notes and attachments to facilitate collaboration. Teams thus becomes the central work platform. Users can easily access other applications, such as Dynamics 365, the CRM and SAP systems, and numerous other services can be integrated as required via the existing interfaces. This move to the cloud is expected to relieve the IT team of routine tasks such as installing updates. It would also make it easier to implement central site and account management. The individual locations would then no longer depend on the respective hardware on site.
"It took less than three weeks from the launch of the project to taking it live. Thanks to the professional support of Sycor, we are now much better prepared for the future – work will be more flexible, more effective and at the same time more secure due to the new collaboration tools. And that is not all: As part of our entire migration to Microsoft 365, fast, sustainable success was very important."
Peter Klett, Head of IT, Primion Group
“With the replacement of the telephone system, we wanted to introduce Microsoft Teams across the entire site,” explains IT Manager Peter Klett: “At the same time, we wanted to create a platform for centralized document collaboration that was fully integrated with Microsoft. For this we enlisted the help of Sycor.” The IT service provider Sycor had already worked closely with primion: As a strategic cloud partner, Sycor was responsible for strategic consulting, project planning and design, implementation including the control of other partners, change management and employee training.
“The schedule for doing this was ambitious. Nevertheless, it was important for us to prepare the technological change well and implement it smoothly – after all, it involved nothing less than the provision of a new communication platform for all departments and project teams,” says Jens Große, project manager at Sycor. “In addition to the technical implementation, we developed guidelines for digital collaboration together with the client and put in place a training concept.”
The implementation of the Microsoft Teams communication platform began with a review of the existing infrastructure and an evaluation of existing special requirements. DNS, firewall and proxy settings were adjusted accordingly. User lists, authorization concepts and general rule sets for telephony were created. Initially, it was rolled out to the individual user clients in a test group, and final adjustments were made. Immediately afterwards, the system was rolled out to all employees at the site, including functional testing and removal of the old telephone system.
The necessary guidelines were developed simultaneously as part of a collaboration assessment. The way people work together across the enterprise changes fundamentally with tools like Microsoft Teams, which is why defining guidelines and recommendations in advance is essential. This includes the definition of naming conventions as well as the setup of authorization concepts and release processes, and the associated configuration of the relevant tools. Concepts for information and data loss prevention were developed to meet compliance requirements. Retention periods and general rules for data storage and data sharing now provide clarity and data security.
Also included in the migration project was a training concept for primion. Sycor used the blended-learning approach to ensure optimal employee involvement. This is integrated learning, through a clever combination of classroom training and e-learning. For example, the training modules are streamed for home office users. The recordings also greatly facilitate the follow-up of the training and future sessions. After a short time, all participants were able to execute all common telephony scenarios with Microsoft Teams and to effectively collaborate digitally.
“It took less than three weeks from the launch of the project to taking it live,” adds Peter Klett. “Thanks to the professional support of Sycor, we are now much better prepared for the future – work will be more flexible, more effective and at the same time more secure due to the new collaboration tools. And that is not all: As part of our entire migration to Microsoft 365, fast, sustainable success was very important.” It has already been demonstrated that the system also provides key support in times of crisis: During the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, primion was immediately in a position to implement the required measures such as home-office setups for its employees. As a result, they were able to continue working. All other locations, including the foreign subsidiaries, are now being migrated step by step.