For Ciena, Zoom One ‘opens up different ways of working’

Using Zoom's unified communications platform, Ciena streamlined employees’ communications experience and helped them get more done together.

Zoom One gives us the ability to bring piecemeal products into a single platform we believe in. When you bundle, there’s a cost advantage, but more important is the user experience. You don’t have to jump out into all these different tools, you can unify them into one experience.

Craig Williams

Chief information officer

Zoom One gives us the ability to bring piecemeal products into a single platform we believe in. When you bundle, there’s a cost advantage, but more important is the user experience. You don’t have to jump out into all these different tools, you can unify them into one experience.

Craig Williams

Chief information officer

Back in 2019, when Ciena’s IT team was tasked with raising employee engagement levels, they took it as an opportunity to embark on an impactful digital transformation process. Ciena’s CIO, Craig Williams, and his team navigated a shift in mindset so employees could enjoy greater flexibility with more modern collaboration tools like Zoom Phone and Zoom Meetings.

Four years later, Ciena is finding even more ways to enrich employee collaboration with Zoom One, our single solution for video meetings, phone, team chat, whiteboard, and more. Read on for a look at where they started and where they’re headed with Zoom.

The ‘video-first’ requirement

For Ciena, a global networking systems software and services company based in Hanover, Maryland, digital transformation started in 2019, when they decided to replace their legacy video conferencing system so employees would actually want to turn on their cameras.

“From a culture perspective, the legacy system that we had made it difficult to adopt video,” Craig said. “It wasn’t intuitive, it was not easy to consume, it was kludgy and clunky, and it only worked sometimes.”

“We thought that in order to raise employee engagement, we have to make Ciena a video-first culture,” said Henry Ku, VP, IT — head of infrastructure at Ciena.

“The other legacy platform just had the feel of audio-first technology,” Henry added. “With Zoom, it was video-first technology. And that’s where we really wanted to raise the engagement level.”

Designing the optimal workplace

The team set out to design an innovative, flexible workplace that people want to work in and that enabled the cross-functional exchange of ideas.

The trick is building a collaborative environment where people are not tied to their seats and they’re still talking to their colleagues, whether in their cubicle next door or across the ocean. That’s where Zoom comes in.

Kris Beauchamp

VP of corporate real estate and workplace solutions

In addition to implementing Zoom Meetings, Rooms, and Webinars, Ciena became an early adopter of Zoom Phone in 2019.

Rolling out Zoom Phone decreased phone costs by as much as 40% and cut license demands, according to Craig. It also reduced employees’ reliance on traditional desk phones.

“Even four years ago, the legacy of having a handset on your desk made no sense anymore, and Zoom was there to rethink and transform a traditional market service offering. When we gave people the option to have their work phone on their computer or cell phone, it blew their minds,” Craig said.

Today, Ciena leverages Zoom One, our unified collaboration platform, to simplify the communications experience, improve global collaboration, and increase employee engagement.

“Zoom One gives us the ability to bring piecemeal products into a single platform we believe in,” Craig said. “When you bundle, there’s a cost advantage, but more important is the user experience. You don’t have to jump out into all these different tools, you can unify them into one experience.”

Navigating change with Zoom

Digital transformation is an ongoing process, not a one-and-done project. These days, Craig and his team are looking at how to stay ahead of the curve, evaluating Zoom’s expanding product portfolio and capabilities to see how they could fit into Ciena’s collaborative work environment.

We see how rapidly Zoom innovates and we’re excited to look at Whiteboard, Zoom Rooms digital signage and workspace reservation, and conversational AI. It’s exciting to see Zoom open up more spaces that are stuck in traditional thinking, Contact Center being one of them.

Craig Williams

Chief information officer

One thing’s for sure: keeping Ciena’s global workforce connected is a priority. Craig added that multi-language transcription is another Zoom One feature they’re eyeing closely. “We’re a global company and have to think about accessibility, languages, and culture.”

Knowing that ways of working are constantly evolving, Craig is mindful of his role and how his team can help enable employees to succeed. “Change management is hard, but our job as CIOs is to figure out how to navigate change,” he said. “In this new world, we have to be very mindful of where the puck is going, versus where the puck is at.”

Check out the video at the top of the page to see how Ciena’s journey with Zoom started in 2019.

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