By leveraging mobile unified communications (mobile UC) to mobilize workers’ desk phones, enterprises can ensure that their employees are continuously reachable, regardless of their location. This means they are more available for customers and colleagues, and they can answer questions or provide information as quickly as possible. Mobile UC also ensures that enterprises reduce their dependency on the expensive cellular network, relying more on Wi-Fi for placing calls. This can mean major cost savings each month.
These business requirements apply to state court systems as well. The state court system of New Mexico, for example, is similar to any commercial business. It has a major requirement to improve its system for providing value to its customers-in this case, the taxpayers.
From presiding judges to probation officers, employees of the court system move about constantly. Whether they are in the field moving between four courthouse locations, or simply roaming among rooms within a single courthouse, the staff is constantly on the move. There is a genuine need to mobilize as many employees as possible, while at the least possible cost.
Mobile UC solution increases employee productivity
For us at the Thirteenth Judicial District Court in Albuquerque, NM, the solution for mobilizing more employees at the lowest cost came in the form of a mobile UC solution from DiVitas Networks. But, to arrive at this conclusion, we first had to investigate what would work-and what would not. We also had to decide which groups of highly-mobile staff would use the new solution. Here are two things we learned during this process:
1. The first thing we found out early on was that throwing more basic cell phones at the problem was not the solution. In our case, within the Thirteenth Judicial District Court, we have four separate court locations. Every time we need to have a meeting in one location, the probability is high that the majority of attendees are going to be elsewhere, on-site at some other court. We knew that staying connected by voice and text (that is, IM and e-mail) was paramount to keeping this busy court system working efficiently. But, buying more basic cell phones was too expensive. And it wasn’t going to yield the desired increase in employee availability and productivity.
2. The second thing we learned was that seamless roaming, combined with UC applications (IM, Presence, e-mail, voice, etc.), addressed our need for continuous availability at the least possible cost. We found that the mobile UC capabilities in the solution we chose combined to create a solution that dramatically increased our staff productivity while reducing our costs. After investigating the cost and benefits of the solution, we realized that we would save money and realize our ROI very quickly.
Improved Reachability Streamlines Business Processes
Improved reachability streamlines business processes
Improved reachability streamlines business processes-meaning, more work gets done. In addition, the mobile UC solution we chose enables direct cost-cutting measures. With this solution in place, our mobile workers roam seamlessly between Wi-Fi and cellular networks. Calls are placed or received via Wi-Fi whenever a radio signal is available. The solution’s voice over Wi-Fi feature offers optimal quality that equals that of a desk phone. Our employees can communicate via Wi-Fi in their work environment, or in hotspots such as their home office or local coffee shop. This means fewer costly cell minutes are used.
Why we chose this mobile UC solution
The following are six features that convinced us to choose this mobile UC solution:
Feature #1: Dual Persona. This allows personal calls to be routed through the native dialer (cell number) and business calls to be routed through the DiVitas Client (desk phone number).
Feature #2: Single Number Reach. This provides continual access to users directly through desk phone extension and/or direct dial number.
Feature #3: Visual Voicemail. Voicemail is displayed in a list form similar to e-mail.
Feature #4: Presence. Real-time reporting of availability and reachability mode (such as voice and/or IM).
Feature #5: Instant Messaging (IM). Allows full chat and text interchange between users.
Feature #6: Customer Choice. You can choose a mobile handset, select any carrier, and utilize existing investments in PBX and WLAN infrastructure.
Employees Who Need Mobile UC
Employees who need mobile UC
We identified what groups of our employees have the highest mobile bills, and which are being the least productive (based on existing mobile communications solutions). We immediately identified four primary groups of court workers who had the greatest need for mobile UC: probation officers, judges, administrative staff and staff attorneys.
Here’s how their jobs play out, and how we will save money while making them more productive:
1. Probation officers
Today, a major part of a probation officer’s day is spent in the field, monitoring their assigned cases as they move them through the court system. This is especially true with cases involving people with substance abuse problems, as they are usually required to participate in specialized programs. With our new mobile UC solution in place, probation officers can spend time in the field while simultaneously maintaining contact with their colleagues as though they were in the office. They can take advantage of free Wi-Fi whenever possible, which saves money. And they can use free IM versus text messaging, another cost-cutting measure. One big benefit with free IM is that they don’t need to be connected to Wi-Fi to use it, and their communication is in real time.
The job of a judge can be deceiving. Although they may be physically presiding over a court room case, they juggle multiple calendars and overlapping appointments-even if it’s by phone, e-mail or IM. This mobile UC solution is providing us with a cost-efficient means of helping our judges overcome hurdles associated with their highly-mobile jobs and overlapping schedules. And we are lowering (rather than adding to) our mobile communications overhead.
3. Administrative staff
This mobile UC solution is also helping our administrative staff (that is, lobbyists, accountants and also judges) to get their jobs done more efficiently. For example, if there is a bill going through legislation, and a surprise result comes in (such as a committee vote going in an unexpected direction or a senator suddenly asks for unexpected information), the staff needs to react fast. This solution allows our administrative staff to contact the necessary people, regardless of where they are located when the news hits. This ability to act quickly can get the desired legislation pushed through.
More Employees Who Need Mobile UC
4. Staff attorneys
The staff attorney’s responsibility is to conduct free legal clinics and to make sure all needed legal forms are completed properly. Like judges, staff attorneys handle multiple cases simultaneously. They also need to be highly available in order to expedite matters. This is a highly-mobile position. They leave their home courthouse in the morning, visit several other courthouses during the day, and return at the end of day.
Again, the more people we equip with a mobile phone, the more we need to watch our mobile bills. With the seamless roaming and other features of this new mobile UC solution, we are able to easily accomplish that.
Improved collaboration saves money
This mobile UC solution makes our employees more reachable and productive, at the lowest cost possible, which is solving a critical business need for us. Budgets are tight and time is precious, but the job at hand has to be performed as efficiently as it happens in the corporate world.
Court employees across the board are highly mobile and always juggling several cases at once. The improved collaboration provided by the mobile UC solution we chose to implement is helping us, and therefore taxpayers, to save money.
Gregory’s courts have won two national Justice Achievement Awards from the National Association of Court Management. He has been influential in helping courts to adopt technology standards such as “Courtroom 21.” Numerous articles concerning the use of advanced technology in the courts Gregory supervises have appeared in a wide variety of publications. Gregory holds two Masters Degrees in Administration from the University of Denver, College of Law. He can be reached at [email protected].