State of Wisconsin (Department of Natural Resources)
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has 200 locations scattered across the State, including some in remote areas. In the past, the department typically conducted business through conference calls and face-to-face meetings with staff from various locations. Outside of e-mail, there were no ad-hoc collaboration tools available to department staff to review documents which required multiple revisions by different staff members. The department’s available video-conferencing system ran using outdated technology and cost the DNR $1,330 per month.
The DNR evaluated server-based collaboration software, but due to a recent migration of all of the department’s servers to the State’s new data center, there were no resources available to purchase an on-premises solution. The DNR began using Microsoft Live Meeting as a web conferencing solution and immediately realized cost savings and improved efficiencies. Staff members are now able to interact and can use dynamic solutions including a 360 degree panoramic video camera to conduct meetings together. The cost of running a web conference is only a fraction of the cost required to use a traditional conference call bridge and the DNR has the flexibility to purchase additional user licenses as needed for other departments.
The DNR has used this cloud-based solution to completely replace on-site meetings, training, and telephone and conference calls among internal staff and with outside agencies. This solution allows remote users to participate in meetings even if they are not at one of the DNR’s office locations. The staff is now more efficient because they spend significantly less time on the road travelling to meetings. Since this migration in 2009, the DNR estimates that staff members have participated in nearly 3,500 meetings, saving the department more than $320,000. In the coming years, the DNR expects the return on investment to grow from 270 percent for the first year to over 400 percent in future years.