Case study title

Microsoft Lync - Education Sector - James Watt College

Client Name

James Watt College



The Overview

Microsoft Lync solutions in the Education Sector, enabling communication without any long distance call charges for one of Scotland’s most dynamic colleges.

James Watt College is one of Scotland’s most dynamic and progressive colleges, with four campuses located in the west coast of Scotland, 12,000 students, and 650 faculty and staff.

James Watt College offers a wide range of courses to its 12,000 students. Based on the west coast of Scotland, the college employs 650 staff across four sites, two of which are located an hour from the main campus. With such geographically dispersed campuses, it’s essential to have a reliable and cost-effective communication and collaboration solution.

Get FREE Expert Advice 

Download James Watt College’s Case Study Here


  • Significant Cost Savings
  • Greater Collaboration
  • Home Working
  • Reliable Connectivity

The Challenge

James Watt College wanted to replace its private branch exchange (PBX) and voicemail infrastructure with a single platform. Its aim was to reduce overall spending on communications, increase productivity of staff, and introduce better ways of working internally and with other organisations.

By deploying Microsoft Lync 2010, the college improved its data network and can now provide more reliable connectivity and give users access to voice, presence, and instant messaging.

The Solution

Following a review of its communications strategy – and with help from IT partner

GCI – James Watt College decided to adopt Microsoft Lync 2010 rather than replace its existing PBX. This strategy was based on a number of factors, including the cost of replacing the PBX and the additional benefits that Lync 2010 could provide.

Microsoft Lync 2010 has provided a new communications experience for the staff at James Watt College. Lync gives employees a unified client for presence, instant messaging, collaboration, and online meetings – allowing a greater degree of collaboration across campuses, while cutting costs.

By deploying Microsoft Unified Communications for presence and instant messaging across all campuses, users were instantly able to see the availability of colleagues without having to call or wait for email responses. This allowed users to acclimatise to the new interface before adding the full functionality.

Using NET media gateways at the two main campuses, the college connected the PBX to the Microsoft Lync 2010 server platform, giving users access to enterprise voice.

The college has offered selected users access to the platform from other locations besides the college campuses using secure virtual private network (VPN)-less connectivity. During winter periods and holidays, managers have been able to work from home and continue to be available on the college network.

Lync 2010 for voice enables communication without any long distance call charges. In addition to providing integrated audio, video, and web conferencing to reduce travel costs, James Watt College has also been able to reduce the cost of calls, compared to its PBX, by £250,000.