Global Pharmaceutical Organization Improves Staff Productivity


In December 2008, a US based global pharmaceutical company chose Arc Solutions to provide a universal directory application and call handling solution for its newly selected Cisco unified communications platform.

The Challenges

Following the decision to replace its multiple legacy telephony systems with Cisco Unified Communications Managers across all of its worldwide locations, the key objectives for the organization was to provide a uniform, professional service to callers and to enable staff to quickly and easily search for and call anyone in the company from their Cisco desk phone.

The existing global corporate directory was stored in Microsoft Active Directory as part of the company's strategy for implementing OCS. However this directory only contained e.164 numbers (the full telephone number including country code) for each employee, so the majority of calls made and transferred within the company were directed through the public telephone network resulting in inter-site call costs being extremely high. 

To complicate issues further, the disparate legacy telephone platforms meant that the existing directory was only available on phones at a few of the organization's sites.

With the steady replacement of the existing telephony platforms with Cisco Unified Communication Manager clusters, the organization recognized the requirement for a global corporate directory, accessible from Cisco handsets, which would integrate with Microsoft Active Directory and support dialing across the company's own network.

The organization also identified an additional requirement for a single operator switchboard system across all its worldwide locations. On the existing system there was no way to centrally monitor and report on service levels resulting in inconsistent caller experiences across sites. This inability to ensure a standard level of service across all sites within the organization was compounded by the lack of easy access to a uniform, accurate directory of contact details.

Finally the successful solution needed to be fully resilient and able to scale to 300 sites, 60,000 telephones and support multiple languages. 

The Solution

Arc was chosen to provide an integrated directory application for Cisco handsets supporting the global Cisco Unified Communication Manager project following a successful pilot evaluation at the company's head office. The organization was also impressed with Arc's pedigree in developing directory integration solutions and the provider of choice for attendant console software for Cisco Unified Communications platforms.

After cleansing the data in the existing global directory, Arc developed a unique solution that integrates with Active Directory and delivers contact information to the screens of Cisco IP phone sets via an XML directory application. The convenience of having an accurate directory available on the phone was an instant hit with staff. The search facility is so intuitive that they were immediately using the application as soon as it was deployed onto their phone, without requiring training.

In just a few key presses, phone users can search for contacts using a variety of criteria and then select, view, and call the contact desired at just the push of a button. This has made the process of contacting colleagues far more efficient and timely, improving productivity and avoiding misdials.

The directory software also performs front-end phone number translation based on phone location so that site codes or local extensions are automatically used where required, rather than full number. This will result in considerable reductions in the organization's telephony expenditure; in fact the company expects a full return on investment for the project in just a few months.

To ensure that the data in the directory remains up-to-date, Arc has provided a web interface into the directory integration server which enables administrators to manage changes and additional sites as the legacy systems are replaced or acquisitions are made. Replication of the directory integration server and local directory servers provides scalability, resilience and unbeatable search performance.

Arc also recommended the use of Enterprise Premium consoles, delivering software-based switchboard capability across all sites. Using the console directory, operators will be able to quickly and easily search for people and transfer calls to the right person, first time, and so provide exceptional service to both external and internal callers. Arc Supervisor software would then enable managers to monitor the performance of operators and call queues, to ensure that service levels are consistent across the sites.


Arc's ability to respond quickly and positively to the organization's requirements for the project was a winning asset for both companies. The final solution was extremely flexible, allowing the company to scale the directory to over 60,000 handsets and expand its operator network alongside the Cisco IPT conversion.

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