What would your company do with $100,000 in savings? Hire more employees? Invest in corporate philanthropy? Invest it back into the business? That’s the question JLG Architect’s employees are now faced with after adopting the BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams—because JLG is 100-percent employee-owned.
Founded in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1989 by Lonnie Laffen and Gary Johnson, the full-service architecture firm has grown to more than 120 employees and thirteen offices across Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota; it has also been named one of the 50 Most Admired Companies in America by MSN Money and Best Life and a 50 Best Places to Work in the U.S. by Inc. magazine.
While JLG’s recent cost savings was by design, it wasn’t of the physical kind. It’s largely thanks to Casey Hammer, JLG’s IT Director. We recently had the fortunate opportunity to get to know Casey in person when he joined us at Enterprise Connect in Orlando last month. There, he told us all about his Teams journey.
Always looking for ways technology can help make the firm’s employees as efficient as possible, Casey strives to centralize and simplify JLG’s technology stack so that employees can focus on getting work done rather than scaling technology learning curves.
Beyond that, Casey also likes to make sure he’s accommodating the varying needs and work styles of the firm’s architects and other staff to help promote the productivity and creativity needed for the highly visual and creative—yet also technical—field of architecture. This led him to rolling out Microsoft Office 365 firmwide and, eventually, Microsoft Teams.
While this took care of the company’s initial communication and collaboration needs, it soon became apparent there were some challenges to address with JLG’s latest initiative. To start, employees were struggling with how to join meetings depending on whether users were in a meeting room or other location. Second, there were major compatibility issues with bringing Teams into JLG’s 25 conference rooms equipped with top-of-the-line video meeting hardware that Casey didn’t want to replace. To resolve both issues, he looked to the BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams.
With the BlueJeans Gateway acting as a connector between JLG’s existing room system hardware and Teams, JLG was able to fully transition to Microsoft Teams.
“BlueJeans is the reason we can offer a solution that lets clients and remote JLG meeting rooms connect to Microsoft Teams meetings. It allows us to use our legacy Cisco room-system hardware, without the need of a redundant phone system backing it. BlueJeans was the first and only option we found that fit that bill.” – Casey Hammer, IT Director, JLG Architects
The Gateway also provides a number of BlueJeans’ hallmark usability features—including one-touch join and integration with Teams and Outlook—to ensure the join experience for users is seamless for those essential client and internal meetings. Furthermore, the Teams Gateway works with all H.323 and SIP-based video conferencing room systems, displays all scheduled room meetings for quick access and at-aglance status checks, and is hosted in Microsoft Azure—Microsoft’s enterprise-grade cloud computing platform.
JLG’s executive team wanted the ability to walk into a room, sit down, and quickly and start a meeting. Now, because of the BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams, they can.
As the icing on top, JLG recently completed its firmwide rollout of the Teams Gateway and after Casey tallied up the savings on meeting room equipment, he’s looking forward to logging additional return on investment in time saved for JLG employees to initiate and join video meeting—along with the resulting improvements in productivity.
Nice work Casey and team, and thanks for being such a great BlueJeans friend and partner!