ITEXPO begins in:   New Coverage :  Asterisk  |  Fax Software  |  SIP Phones  |  Small Cells

Feature Article
July 2003

NYC Law Firm To Represent Convergence


The Business Problem

Hahn & Hessen LLP is a distinguished mid-sized law firm with its headquarters in New York City and a smaller office in Albany, NY. The firm was moving its offices to a new location in midtown Manhattan and urgently needed to decide whether or not they would move their obsolete PBX, invest in more legacy equipment, or move ahead with an IP telephony implementation. The firm decided to consolidate its voice and data networks and to invest in the new technology, enabling them to be more responsive to their clients. Hahn & Hessen chose Cisco IP Telephony as their strategic voice technology and retained Greenwich Technology Partners (GTP), a Cisco IP Telephony Specialization Certified partner, to design and deploy the solution.

The Technical Challenge

The firm�s decision required a rapid move from an antiquated PBX to a suite of the latest Cisco IP Telephony applications. Their new network infrastructure took them from a flat, single-subnet LAN to a Layer-3 switched topology, segregated into multiple VLANs for QoS, and security purposes. The project also included a VPN and PIX firewall component, as well as wireless LAN technology. In addition, all of these applications had to be integrated into an existing Windows 2000 Active Directory environment. This project required expertise with the nuances of Microsoft�s Active Directory Services and tight integration with Exchange e-mail functions.

The most difficult aspect of this transition was that, because of the impending move, we were operating in an environment where there were a number of things happening at once. Maintaining connectivity back to Hahn & Hessen�s Microsoft Active Directory structure as we built and moved the new data center was a major challenge.

We did the installation in a three-phased approach. First we performed the original Active Directory integration with Cisco IP Telephony applications at Hahn & Hessen�s old office. This allowed us to get the applications integrated to the Active Directory environment and perform a great deal of system configuration before the data center in the new site was completely ready for occupancy. Next, we moved the equipment and set up a VPN tunnel between the old site and the new site to maintain connectivity.

We had originally planned to create an additional domain controller and place it in the new data center for use until the old data center was moved during the weekend cutover. This proved not to be the best option because some of the applications needed to see a global catalog, and the Cisco Unity was dependent on connection to the Exchange server once integrated. The VPN tunnel allowed us to continue to work on all of the voice applications without having to do major reconfigurations, and eased the effort necessary to reconfigure the applications once the data center move was complete.

Finally, once we had moved Hahn & Hessen�s domain controllers into the new site we tested everything. The ability for all parties to be flexible and put in a true team effort as well as the extra effort required to meet the deadline imposed by the move were all critical success factors in this implementation.

One post-implementation challenge we faced was a lack of participation in user training for the IP telephones. Training was provided in the week immediately preceding the cutover. There seemed to be a perception among some of the users that training in the use of a phone was not necessary; however even basic features like transfer, conference, call park, and pick can vary in their implementation from one system to another. Users who did not take advantage of the opportunity for training had a higher incidence of calling for help desk support immediately post-cutover. We found that dispatching several roaming trainers in the first few days of operation allowed users to ask questions and seek assistance without requiring them to interrupt their work or leave their desks. We now place more emphasis on the advantages of encouraging users to take advantage of the opportunity to attend training session pre-cutover.

The Design And Deployment Process

One of the key reasons we were able to deliver a successful project on time was the team that assembled for this project. Consultants and engineers from our Convergence and Internetworking practices and an operations manager from out Convergence group, joined with the Hahn & Hessen IT team, led by Nicholas Lucenko, Jr., supported by several key Cisco resources, and a team from the vendor supplying the forced account code software. This virtual team joined by an e-mail distribution list and regularly scheduled conference calls ensured that information reached all of the involved organizations and built a sense of teamwork before the marathon efforts during the actual move and cutover phase of the project. Our consultants� and engineers� goal was to function as an extension of Hahn & Hessen�s IT department.

This virtual team approach also enhanced knowledge transfer. The assembly and initial configuration of the network equipment, servers, and applications took place at a GTP facility, as there was too much activity at both the new and old Hahn & Hessen sites to accommodate these tasks. During this period, Nicholas Lucenko, Jr., spent the better part of a week with our engineers, providing guidance when decisions were required, learning the equipment and applications, and generally participating in the entire pre-deployment process.

Use of standardized information gathering and disseminating forms also helped facilitate the flow of information between the organizations involved and became the basis for our primary knowledge transfer tool, the Client Engagement Book.

The inclusive, virtual team approach used for this project was a major contributing factor to the overall success of the project.

The Solution

The result was a fully integrated implementation of Cisco IP Telephony products including:

� Call Manager, an enterprise class softswitch;

� Unity unified messaging;

� Personal Assistant, which includes find me/follow me, one number and speech recognition features;

� Conference Connection for reservation-based conference calling;

� Third-party Forced Account Codes; and

� Microsoft Exchange features.

Thorough preparation and testing guaranteed a smooth migration to the completed solution. Hahn & Hessen�s IT manager desired to be as self sufficient as practical in the maintenance of the systems, so time was built in to the project to provide system administration training, in addition to the more informal training and knowledge transfer that was provided during the initial configuration phase at our facility.

The final cutover was scheduled over a weekend with a limited window for service interruption. During the cutover weekend, all servers and workstations were moved from the old location. All carrier services, including DID (Direct Inward Dial) telephone numbers were rerouted, new public IP addresses were mapped to remote services, and all major services and functions were available to users well before the Monday morning deadline.

The GTP convergence team has years of experience in the design and deployment of solutions ranging from unified messaging and network fax to call center and other IP telephony peripheral applications. GTP�s unique blend of internetworking, voice, and true convergence expertise made them the ideal partner to deliver this solution.

Net Result

Hahn & Hessen�s decision to migrate to an IP telephony system across the entire organization made it the first law firm to do so on an end-to-end basis in New York City. What appealed most to Hahn & Hessen was the fact that Cisco�s architecture was so open. They saw it as a plus that they were now able to add functionality such as, the personal assistant, by simply running applications on top of the infrastructure that they had built. They felt that it would be the kind of platform that they could grow into and layer future applications on top of.

Hahn & Hessen is already gaining many benefits from this converged solution, chief among which are, ease of use, an edge in facilitating customer response, and a mitigation of general operational costs. They now have a platform for hosting enhanced functionality for all of their future voice, data, and Web-based applications. In addition, Hahn & Hessen expects to see the benefits of a significant savings and increased control over their IT infrastructure from this implementation.

Christopher Kearney is Practice Director, Convergence at Greenwich Technology Partners, a leading network infrastructure consulting and engineering company. GTP designs, builds, and manages the complex networks that utilize advanced Internet protocol, electro/optical, and other sophisticated technologies. For more information, please visit them online at www.greenwichtech.com.

[ Return To The July 2003 Table Of Contents ]

Today @ TMC
Upcoming Events
ITEXPO West 2012
October 2- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
The World's Premier Managed Services and Cloud Computing Event
Click for Dates and Locations
Mobility Tech Conference & Expo
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
Cloud Communications Summit
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas