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Biel-Bienne is Switzerland's largest bilingual city. Until recently, the city government's telephone and IT systems were managed by two different departments. In early 2008, Biel-Bienne sought to streamline operations by combining the two departments and by integrating telephony into the overall IT infrastructure. To achieve this goal, Biel-Bienne upgraded to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 with Unified Messaging and began deploying Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 to replace its existing Cisco CallManager 4.2 Private Branch Exchange (PBX) system. When the new unified communications solution is fully implemented, the city expects annual savings of up to U.S.$200,000 from department consolidation, $100,000 in travel-related costs, and $1.5 million through improved productivity. City employees are already benefiting from faster communications and more effective collaboration.
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