Unified Communications backed by Shell, Schlumberger

CERA Week Online interviews and Microsoft vaunt Office Communications Server and soft phones.

In a CERA Week Online interview, Microsoft’s head of oil and gas, Ali Ferling plugged Microsoft’s Unified Communications (UC) offering as being key to enabling upstream clients to react faster to a changing environment. Another key Microsoft value proposition is bridging the gap between ‘solid’ enterprise ERP solutions and the desktop. Microsoft is currently studying how the upstream manages data across multiple repositories. Ferling reported a BP manager complaining that information was not up to date. The solution was, surprisingly, to use Microsoft Outlook.

Microsoft has backed up its earlier announcements on Unified Communications (OITJ March 08) with a couple of video pronouncements from Shell and Schlumberger. Shell senior infrastructure consultant David Griffiths explains how Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 is used to build virtual teams and to stay in touch with offshore workers. Group IT architect Johan Krebbers explains how the single interface for all communications integrates with the rest of Shell’s Microsoft-based working environment.

Last year, Krebbers told Oil IT Journal that the plan was to scale up the system in 2009. It now appears that Shell is waiting on full deployment of OCS Release 2 before finally replacing its traditional PBX environment. Already, ‘desk phones’ are a thing of the past—replaced with ‘soft phones’ that integrate the desktop and allow for calls from office, home or hotel etc.

Schlumberger has likewise drunk the OCS Kool-Aid which is leveraged in a new ‘Schlumberger Unified Communications’ architecture. Chief software architect Eric Schoen explained how a successful OCS pilot might be deployed across the enterprise. Schlumberger Information Systems’ Keith Tushingham showed how a UC call made from inside Petrel could access the corporate directory to find people by expertise as well as by name. Forget ‘I’m on the train,’ interpreters will soon be calling home to say ‘Hi, I’m inside Petrel!’ More from www.oilit.com/links/0905_10.

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