Bitburger Braugruppe

Bitburger Braugruppe opts for a unified communications solution by innovaphone across all its sites

The Bitburger Braugruppe is one of the leading brewery groups of in Germany. With 1,800 employees, the family-run company has breweries in five German states and its headquarters are in the Eifel region. With the aim to replace all of the old telephone systems across all company sites, the decision was made in favour of an IP Telephone and Unified Communications solution by innovaphone.

A precise catalogue of requirements was created once the managers at Bitburger had made the decision to invest in a new telecommunications infrastructure. A unified communications solution for the entire Bitburger Braugruppe should definitely be introduced. This aspect was all the more crucial as each site had previously had its own diverse system. This heterogeneous mix of systems had two major drawbacks: on the one hand, there were no synergies between individual telephone systems, and on the other hand, this heterogeneous environment was high-maintenance. The other items in the specification included:
- A powerful UC / CTI client that is accepted and gladly used by all users
- Centralised system management and centralized license management
- Good scalability because both the big sites and the smaller beverage distributors should be equipped with the solution
- Reduction of running costs
- Lower power consumption, taking into account the sustainability aspect.

Technical challenges in the implementation of the new solution

The Bitburger Braugruppe has a Thin-Client environment and limited management capacities at the individual sites. In addition, each and every one of the various old systems had to be replaced - not ideal conditions for a simple and quick implementation of the new innovaphone solution. It was also imperative to still be able to use the existing analogue connections – predominately in the production buildings. This request was, however, easy to solve as all innovaphone VoIP gateways have analogue connections, anyway.
In order to achieve a high degree of availability, the innovaphone Redundancy concept came to the fore. One innovaphone IP6010 VoIP gateway was installed as a master and one as a standby PBX at the headquarters in Bitburg. The master system in Bitburg also serves as the standby PBX for the brewery company’s other sites. Each site has its own innovaphone PBX, but they all merge together on the master in Bitburg. Softclients could not be used due to the Thin-Client environment – IP232 IP devices were purchased instead. All employees in the offices use the myPBX UC client that is provided over the existing Citrix farm.

Unified Communications at Bitburger

Office workers at Bitburger work via Thin-Client in a virtual Citrix Desktop environment. It makes use of the Mobility function of the innovaphone PBX, which enables employees to “take” their own extension number to other sites as well as to their home office.
The Presence application and the innovaphone Chat are used intensively via the innovaphone myPBX UC client. Both applications are indispensable in modern office life and represent a crucial optimization of the business processes. "Conferencing" and "Screensharing" applications are currently realised via other solutions, but they should be available to the employees in the future along with all other modules in the innovaphone Unified Communications solution, such as video or voicemail.

The short path to the new communications solution

Installation of the innovaphone PBX at sites in Bitburg (Bitburger brewery) and Duisburg (König brewery) went very smoothly. In Bitburg, over 500 users were connected and received training for the new solution in just three weeks. Accordingly, Uwe Siller, CIO of the Bitburger Braugruppe, praised: "I’ve never experienced such a smooth introduction of a new telecommunications solution!"
The technical expectations on the new system have also been fulfilled, as Joachim Schmitz, the responsible project manager, pointed out: "On the whole, we have achieved the objectives we had pursued with the new solution: a uniform, centrally managed infrastructure that can be flexibly adapted to the changing needs of the company, as well as a Unified Communications environment that covers all the requirements of modern office life. However, we do have a few minor points of criticism: we are still not fully satisfied with the integration of Web conferencing, for example. Here, we hope to see improvements through the new V11 firmware."
The echo from employees being questioned on their satisfaction with the new solution is also quite positive: "Especially the myPBX client goes down well with many of our employees", Joachim Schmitz confirmed. "We are also satisfied from an IT perspective. We have found a way to replace our different systems and were able to create many synergy effects thanks to the unified solution." Responding to the question whether and in what form a further extension of the solution is planned, Schmitz replies: "We have three more sites in the brewery group that will also be equipped with innovaphone. And, we are planning to offer our employees the other myPBX Unified Communications features."

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