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Campbellsville
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Information Systems
Infrastructure

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BA63375 G4

Professor
Fred Rose

Case
Study

“Unified
Communication at Boeing”

Shiva
Krishna Goud

01/28/2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unified Communications
at Boeing

The Boeing Company is an American multinational corporation
that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, and
satellites worldwide. The company also provides leasing and product support
services.

Unified communication is a combination of devices and apps.
UC is for integrating
various communication events and Realtime communication tools,
with enhancing communication, collaboration and productivity in a business organization.

Some virtual teams at Boeing have
discussions focused on military aircraft. Do some Internet research on UC
security mechanisms and identify and briefly describe several that Boeing
should have in place to ensure the privacy and integrity of such discussions.

As organizations started relying more on unified communications, the
management of voice, video and messaging through one unified system has
developed concern about the security of this IP-based communications infrastructure.
This has happened since UC is IP-based but there are so many potential modes of
communication, from video, instant messaging and Web collaboration to presence,
e-mail and voice mail. With time we find that the situation has developed
proliferation of mobile devices that are being used more frequently in the
business environments and devices that are not as secure as those housed in the
business environment organization (Manyika, Chui, Brown, Bughin, Dobbs,
Roxburgh, & Byers, 2011).

To what extent do the UC benefits
experienced by Boeing mirror those of other firms that have deployed UC
capabilities over converged IP networks?

Boeing could enjoy desktop sharing, and online meeting capabilities that
involves the collaboration capabilities before and after the creation of the
converged IP network. It is important to note that Boeing continues to
subscribe to most of the collaboration services that it used prior to
implementing its unified communications solutions (Bradley, & Shah,
2010). With that, UC is best observed to be a supplement not a replacement
to the collaboration systems that were already in place.

Benefits of UC to
Boeing

Boeing’s converged IP network and unified communications capabilities enable
employees share information and knowledge more quickly and effectively,
regardless of their location. Boeing’s geographically dispersed engineers use
these systems to share expertise with one another just as they could if they
were in the same place at the same time. The ability to support unified
communications capabilities over the converged IP network facilitates knowledge
sharing and has become an important facet of Boeing’s collaboration and
knowledge management strategies (Bradley, & Shah, 2010).

The company’s unified communications system enables employees at remote
locations to have the same capabilities that have in their home offices.
Virtual teams benefit from being able to adjust their interactions to the
communication mode that makes the most sense. For example, they can transition
from instant messaging to a voice communication and/or desktop sharing session
depending on what the situation requires. The UC system’s enhanced presence
capabilities also provide real time information about the current availability
and activities of other Boeing employees so that they can be brought into
conversations about how to address time sensitive problem issues about parts,
maintenance issues, or assembly line delays (Bradley, & Shah, 2010).

To date, Boeing has not implemented
the full range of capabilities available through UC systems. If you were the
CIO at Boeing, what additional UC capabilities would you implement? What
benefits would you expect Boeing to derive from deploying these capabilities?

As the fundamental enabler
for UC, presence provides real-time notification of users’ current availability
and ability to communicate. Most switch vendors today either offer
their own presence server and capabilities or integrate with presence
capabilities from Microsoft. The most challenging issue today is the lack of
federation and the ability of these presence systems to work together to allow
users on one presence system to see the presence status of a partner or
customer on another system. When using Presence servers gather presence
information from various sources and provide unified presence information to
end users or applications
organization (Manyika, Chui, Brown, Bughin, Dobbs, Roxburgh, & Byers, 2011). In
a UC world, when we discuss presence, we are going beyond simple instant
message presence. 

There are benefits to the Boeing Company, for instance, in the API
interface we find that all capabilities in the product are exposed through
secure. In addition, in the Northbound notification the mechanism for workflows
helps to send notification to external systems. Also, there is need to extend
video capabilities used by the employees that use a single, unified
communications infrastructure in the desktops and in the tele presence rooms (Bradley,
& Shah, 2010).

This could also help in simplifying the voice systems and the unified
communications to reduce the costs that are dramatically simplified in the
provision and its maintenance. It also helps in building productivity with comprehensive
unified communications that help workers communicate and work more effectively
as our concern. It similarly helps to improve collaboration simply by clicking
to start the IM session and pledge for a phone call. This helps in managing the required communications
with one server as well as providing medium-sized organizations and everything
that is needed for mobility, video or messaging in the organization (Manyika, Chui,
Brown, Bughin, Dobbs, Roxburgh, & Byers, 2011). 

References

Bradley, T., & Shah, S. (2010). Unified communications for
dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Manyika, J., Chui, M., Brown, B., Bughin, J., Dobbs, R., Roxburgh, C.,
& Byers, A. H. (2011). Big data: The next frontier for innovation,
competition and productivity. New York: McKinsey & Company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS AT BOEING The Boeing Company
(http://www.boeing.com/), headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is the world’s
largest manufacturer of military aircraft and commercial jetliners. Boeing has
more than 159,000 employees working in 70 different countries who require
effective communication to develop and build some of the world’s most complex
products using components from more than 22,000 global suppliers. The company’s
workforce is one of the most highly educated in the world. Most employees hold
a college degree and many hold advanced degrees. Collectively Boeing employees
have very broad and deep knowledge that can be harnessed to solve problems and
design next generation products. Like many major corporations, Boeing has
experienced an uptick in the number of employees who work remotely or travel
the majority of each work week. Boeing’s engineers number in the thousands and
are purposely scattered worldwide to support the company’s global operations.
Boeing organizes its employees into work and project teams. Given the company’s
size and geographic footprint, many of Boeing work’s teams include globally
dispersed members. Engineers on the same team may be separated by multiple time
zones and thousands of miles. Time zone differences and distance frequently
present teams with communication challenges when they are faced with time
sensitive issues that must be resolved quickly. C1-2 Additional communication
issues are associated with the sheer breadth and depth of Boeing’s knowledge
base. When faced with questions about a particular part included in one of
Boeing’s new airliners, an engineer can be challenged to identify the right
person in the company to contact for answers. Collaboration Technologies Boeing
knows that continual innovation is important to its long term success. It also
recognizes that effective communication among its employees, customers, and
suppliers is an important enabler of continual innovation. Boeing has
traditionally relied on a variety of systems to facilitate collaboration among
its employees and business partners. As illustrated in Figure C1-1a, Web
conferencing, audio conferencing, desktop sharing, and mobile voice and data
services have been used by Boeing employees to facilitate communication among
geographically dispersed team members. Historically, these capabilities have
been provided by different third-party providers who were selected on the basis
of their ability to provide highquality communication services at competitive
rates. By the mid-2000s, Boeing had begun its migration toward unified
messaging and unified communications. At that time, instant messaging (IM) was
one of the more popular messaging services used Boeing employees. At Boeing, IM
has traditionally been supplemented by Web and audio conferencing services as
well as by desktop sharing services. The capabilities provided by these
services are especially important when answers to complex questions are needed.
During the mid-2000s, more than 100,000 employees used conferencing services
each year. As you might expect, conferencing services represented a significant
percentage of Boeing’s annual communication expenses. C1-3 As collaboration
technologies, the desktop sharing and conferencing systems worked well alone,
but it was not easy to get them to use them simultaneously for a virtual team
meeting. To use them in combination required scheduling conference rooms
equipped with at least one phone lines C1-4 and data drop. It also required
reserving conferencing time with one or both service providers, getting all
locations logged in to each service, and performing some quick set up tasks and
tests at the beginning of each session. Hence, while it was possible to use
multiple collaboration capabilities at the same time, this was not easily or
transparently done. Advanced planning was needed at all locations to have
satisfactory interactive conferencing and desktop sharing sessions. Over time,
it became increasingly more apparent to Boeing that a superior collaboration
platform was needed. While the company’s subscriptions to third-party services
did support collaboration among geographically dispersed team members, Boeing
began to feel that it needed something that was both easier and more robust to
achieve the levels of collaboration, innovation and responsiveness that it
aspired to have. Converged Network Project In 2008, Boeing signed a $400
million contract with AT to consolidate its existing voice and data
networks into an IP-network. Boeing began using AT’s WAN services, audio
conferencing services, and wireless voice and data services. Moving the bulk of
its communication facilities to a common IP-based network infrastructure
enabled Boeing to roll out unified messaging services to more of its employees.
The converged network project also set the stage for its subsequent move to
unified communications. To better serve its mobile workers, one of the first
enterprise-wide applications that Boeing deployed on its converged IP network
was Mircosoft’s Office Communication Server. This was implemented to provide
desktop sharing, VoIP, audio conferencing, instant messaging, and presence
capabilities to all of its workers worldwide. This quickly became a popular
supplement or alternative to the company’s traditional collaboration services.
Boeing subsequently made the decision to upgrade to Mircosoft’s Lync C1-5
Server to enable its employees to leverage enhanced presence, ad hoc
collaboration, desktop sharing, and online meeting capabilities. Boeing’s
collaboration capabilities before and after the creation of the converged IP
network are illustrated in Figure C1.1. It is important to note that Boeing
continues to subscribe to many of the collaboration services that it used prior
to implementing its unified communications solutions. Hence, UC is best
observed to be a supplement not a replacement to the collaboration systems that
were already in place. One of the key changes associated with Boeing UC system
has been the ability of employees to use the same softphone headset to support
both office and mobile phone calls. Phone capabilities follow the mobile worker
who can specify which device to route calls to on the fly. Their Boeing phone
number is always the same whether they are in their office, at home, on the
road, or working on the other side of the world. Detailed presence information
about team members is provided via Lync’s location and activity feed
capabilities. Supply chain partners are also able see the presence information
of their key contacts at Boeing; this facilitates their interactions with
engineering and maintenance teams at Boeing. UC Benefits Boeing’s converged IP
network and unified communications capabilities enable employees share
information and knowledge more quickly and effectively, regardless of their
location. Boeing’s geographically dispersed engineers use these systems to
share expertise with one another just as they could if they were in the same
place at the same time. The ability to support unified communications
capabilities over the converged IP network facilitates knowledge sharing and
has become an important facet of Boeing’s collaboration and knowledge
management strategies. C1-6 The company’s unified communications system enables
employees at remote locations to have the same capabilities that have in their
home offices. Virtual teams benefit from being able to adjust their
interactions to the communication mode that makes the most sense. For example,
they are able to transition from instant messaging to a voice communication
and/or desktop sharing session depending on what the situation requires. The UC
system’s enhanced presence capabilities also provides real time information
about the current availability and activities of other Boeing employees so that
they can be brought into conversations about how to address time sensitive
problem issues about parts, maintenance issues, or assembly line delays. Boeing
has benefitted from increased productivity and efficiency at both the
individual and team levels. Its UC capabilities and converged IP network have
also helped the company rein in its Web and audio conferencing costs. Prior to
the UC implementation, Boeing experienced double-digit growth in costs
associated with Web conferencing. Web conferencing continues to be widely used
by Boeing employees, but the annual costs associated with Web conferencing have
leveled off as employees increasingly use UC desktop sharing and audio
conferencing capabilities instead of third-party conferencing services. Boeing’s
annual costs for audio conferencing services have decreased by more than 15%
since implementing the UC system. While Boeing still subscribes to third-party
audio conferencing services, these are being used less frequently for team
meetings as the result of the company’s UC capabilities. The UC system has been
positively received by Boeing employees. It is widely viewed as a platform that
facilitates collaboration in an engaging manner. Boeing continues to have the
reputation of being one of the world’s most innovative companies and its
decision to implement unified C1-7 communications on a converged IP network
demonstrates its commitment to deploy technologies that enable innovation.
Discussion Points 1. Some virtual teams at Boeing have discussions focused on
military aircraft. Do some Internet research on UC security mechanisms and
identify and briefly describe several that Boeing should have in place to
ensure the privacy and integrity of such discussions. 2. To what extent do the
UC benefits experienced by Boeing mirror those of other firms that have
deployed UC capabilities over converged IP networks? 3. To date, Boeing has not
implemented the full range of capabilities available through UC systems. If you
were the CIO at Boeing, what additional UC capabilities would you implement?
What benefits would you expect Boeing to derive from deploying these
capabilities? Sources MICR10 Microsoft Case Studies. “Boeing Expects to Lower
Costs and Improve Productivity with Messaging Solution.” March 16, 2010. Retrieved
online at:
http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?casestudyid
=4000006703. MICR11 Microsoft Case Studies. “Boeing Promotes Knowledge
Sharing for Global Workforce with Communications Solution.” April 29, 2011.
Retrieved online at:
http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Microsoft-Lync-Server2010/Boeing/Boeing-Promotes-Knowledge-Sharing-for-Global-Workforcewith-Communications-Solution/4000009654.
REED08 Reed, B. “AT&T snags big Boeing voice/data contract.”
NetworkWorld. August 12, 2008. Retrieved online at:
http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/081208-boeing-att-contract.html

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