Cisco Services helps British American Tobacco extend videoconferencing and provides support to maximize uptime and return on investment.

British American Tobacco (BAT), the world’s second largest quoted tobacco group by global market share, prides itself on also being one of the globe’s most international companies, with brands sold in around 180 markets and a presence in almost 120 countries.

It is also a company where the personal touch is valued. “We have a highly social, collaborative working environment,” says Andrew Cunningham, Head of Technology and Security. “A lot of meetings are conducted in the coffee area or with quick chats. It’s part of our culture.”

Unsurprisingly, for a global business, that face-to-face meeting culture resulted in high travel costs. Consequently, the company was an early adopter of videoconferencing when the technology became generally available.

As the importance of videoconferencing grew within BAT, so did concerns over being locked into a system that was not interoperable. The company recognized the need for a more holistic and longerterm collaboration strategy. The key issue was reducing risk, by moving to a more established technology player, but also  by ensuring any upgrades to its systems would not unduly hamper the business.

“We wanted to increase our use of video conferencing and extend it to more offices as well as to people on the move,” says Cunningham.

BAT issued a request for information and reviewed the roadmaps provided by major technology providers, Cisco being the successful bidder. “We made our decision based on the completeness of Cisco’s vision,” says Cunningham. “It has a clear and welldefined technology roadmap and open standards, allowing others to connect into its systems, meaning we would not be locked into a single vendor.”

Having decided to replace its entire videoconferencing estate with Cisco equipment, BAT then faced the issue of deploying the technology with minimum risk and inconvenience. The company did not have the in- house resource or experience to undertake the deployment itself, and its primary WAN systems provider was engaged in another major project at the time.

“We looked at this long and hard,” Cunningham says. “But in the end, this was Cisco equipment, and we wanted them intimately involved in its delivery.”

“Without Cisco Services, we would have had serious reservation about undertaking the project, and would have been unlikely to have completed it successfully”

Andrew Cunningham, Head of Technology and Security British American Tobacco

Sub-contracted by Cisco Services, Dimension Data, a Cisco Global Services Alliance partner, delivered the equipment through its worldwide logistics capability.

Working alongside a small BAT project team, Cisco Services took responsibility for the project. Starting with an assessment of the overall strategy, this covered everything from data center and TelePresence room design to equipment installation and testing.

BAT has also entered into a three-year Cisco Managed Architecture Service contract incorporating monitoring through Cisco Smart Net Total Care together with remote management services for network supervision and restoration.

With a Cisco TelePresenceTM platform that is now completely compatible with future versions and interoperable, BAT has a solid foundation upon which to make further cost savings and productivity improvements.

Cisco Jabber Video extends the TelePresence reach. It works with a desktop or laptop computer and a webcam or Cisco TelePresence PrecisionHD camera to provide highdefinition video communications to more BAT people from more places. “Cisco Jabber Video client software will make us a much more agile and inclusive organization,” says Cunningham.

The Cisco Managed Architecture Service helps ensure that TelePresence sessions take place smoothly and reliably. Thanks to this, nearly three-fifths of issues are resolved automatically, even before users become aware of them. It reduces the chance of human error, and can correct low-level incidents in an average of 15 minutes, compared to two hours using manual processes.

Fast Facts
Business challenge
  • Improve productivity and cut operational costs, while preserving dynamic face-to face meeting culture
  • Eliminate reliance on a single vendor with closed technology standards, while managing the risks of deploying new videoconferencing platform
Collaboration Solution
  • With support from Cisco Services, British American Tobacco replaced its entire TelePresence estate and integrated it with an existing WebEx solution
  • Cisco Managed Architecture Service complements implementation by providing ongoing support and network supervision and optimization
Business results
  • Cisco Services engagement mitigated implementation risks and improved deployment time by 66 per cent
  • Usage of TelePresence suites improved by up to one-third, through elimination of turnaround delays and greater user friendliness
  • Return on investment maximized, through managed service that resolves 56 per cent of incidents and carries 60 per cent reduction in mean time to resolution
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