Leveraging Unified Communications: The Consortium for School Networking

Publication date: Mar 07, 2017

Last Published: Jan 19, 2020

Written by: Payam Pourkhomami, President & CEO, OSIbeyond

Table of Contents
Read Time : 4 minutes

COSN Implements eXos Unified Communications Solution by OSIbeyond

COSN streamlined its approach to communication and collaboration by moving from a traditional VoIP 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 a streamlined communication solution to increase staff productivity. The existing 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 that was difficult for remote workers. OSIbeyond’s eXos Unified Communication solution 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, COSN Chief Operating Officer

Lack of Mobility & Integration Limited COSN’s Teleworking Capabilities

Robert Duke, Chief Operating Officer at COSN, was frustrated by the lack of mobility and integration of the old phone system. The old solution was a traditional VoIP hosted phone system. It served its purpose, but it was not a fully unified solution and was limited in capabilities.

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

– Robert Duke, COSN Chief Operating Officer

The Solution

COSN required a solution that would provide unified and portable communications to support remote teleworkers seamlessly. The OSIbeyond eXos Unified Communications platform offered a truly unified and fully integrated solution consisting of a VoIP hosted PBX phone system, web meeting and 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 Free Conference Call.  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, COSN Chief Operating Officer

The Challenges

To mitigate challenges during the deployment of the new solution, particularly around end user training, OSIbeyond 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.  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, COSN Chief Operating Officer

COSN Enhances Communication Capabilities with OSIbeyond’s Platform.

Since implementing the eXos Unified Communications solution, COSN has enjoyed the 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.” – 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.” – Robert Duke.   

The most important reasons COSN would recommend the eXos Unified Communication to other nonprofits and associations are “Simplicity” and the high level of support OSIbeyond offered COSN throughout the engagement. – Robert Duke.

About COSN

CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) 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.

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