Virginia Commonwealth University Awards $14 Million Services Contract to IBM for Digital Phone System

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RICHMOND, VA - 08 Dec 2006: Virginia Commonwealth University has awarded a $14 million contract to IBM (NYSE: IBM) for a telephony system that improves performance and lowers costs for the university and its medical center.

The new solution, which uses a unique mix of voice-over IP and traditional PBX technology, will be designed and installed by IBM and allow VCU to maintain a reliable and secure environment that can service its 16,700 employees and 100,000+ patients that the VCU Health System treats annually. The new system will operate at a lower cost compared to the old telephony system, and will provide a much higher level and quality of service.

IBM will work with VCU to update and replace its traditional telephony environment with a single consolidated network to handle voice, video and data traffic.

This approach makes it easier to manage, support and maintain the 17,000 phone lines that span the two university campuses and the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System.

"After looking at our outdated telephony system, its related expenses and limitations on the services we could provide -- we knew it was time to make a major change," said Mark D. Willis, Chief Information Officer with VCU. "By working with IBM, we were able to create a new state-of-the-art system that meets our needs today, but can easily scale to support future growth -- all for less than what we've been paying for the old system."

The new system will provide an expanded set of features and services and allow VCU telecommunications staff to respond to customer needs much more quickly. In turn, this will help the university's business and academic units to serve their students and faculty better.

The VCU Health System's call center operations will also improve dramatically. This unit provides a variety of patient services, including prescription refills, patient status and condition information, patient billing and outpatient scheduling.

"This is a substantial project that spans two very large campuses," said Michael Fuller, IBM's Partnership Executive and VCU alumnus. "We're replacing VCU's existing system with an Avaya communications solution -- all while maintaining telephone service for thousands of users. It's a collaborative project that also includes training so they'll be able to manage the solution over the long term."

The IBM team is providing detailed project management expertise and a complete roadmap to VCU as the extensive project is rolled out across both campuses.

The first buildings to feature the new voice-over IP solution are already up and running. Additional buildings will be added to the system over the next 18 months.

About VCU and the VCU Medical Center: Virginia Commonwealth University is the largest university in Virginia and ranks among the top 100 universities in the country in sponsored research. Located on two downtown campuses in Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in nearly 200 certificate and degree programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-three of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU's 15 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University compose the VCU Medical Center, one of the nation's leading academic medical centers. For more, see

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