T&D World Magazine

Executives at Growing Southwest Utility Lead Employees into IP-based Collaboration

PNM Resources, a southwest multi-utility holding company has chosen Interwise Connect as its corporate standard for voice, Web and video conferencing. Interwise Connect was recently deployed to the desktops of all of the employees of the various subsidiaries of PNM Resources--about 3400 people in 60 locations. After an extensive review of conferencing products, PNM Resources selected Interwise Connect for its ability to support large-scale, executive-level interactive Webcasts with employees, its broad set of meeting and conferencing capabilities and its fixed price/unlimited usage pricing model.

PNM Resources is an energy holding company. In 2005, the company expanded its operations from New Mexico into Texas with the acquisition of Texas-New Mexico Power and a competitive retail electric provider, First Choice Power. In 2006, PNM Resources acquired one of Texas’ cleanest coal-burning power plants, Twin Oaks Power Facility, and furthered the construction of its gas-fired Luna Energy Facility near Deming, New Mexico. It recently announced a deal to create a new unregulated energy company with Cascade Investments, which is Bill Gates’ private investment firm.

To facilitate strong leadership for unifying the company’s rapidly expanding operations, CEO Jeff Sterba turned to interactive IP Webcasts. Internal Webcasts are an emerging choice among technology-savvy executives who look to foster high performance work environments. To enable more frequent enterprise-wide meetings as well as increased levels of collaboration between various business groups and employees, Sterba asked the IT group to locate an enterprise-class conferencing product. A small task force was assembled to assess conferencing and collaboration needs throughout the enterprise. They identified a wide range of core business processes that would benefit from virtual meeting and conferencing capabilities, including executive communications and operations meetings, acquisition planning and integration, project management, employee training, customer and partner communications.

When they began meeting with vendors, the evaluation team was struck by the wildly fluctuating prices proposed for various solutions. “Interwise’ fixed price/unlimited use pricing model offered us simplicity, the best economic value and the ability to give conferencing to every employee, enterprise-wide,” said Marc Christensen, corporate communications director for PNM Resources. “In our first weeks of usage, we saved almost $50,000 in travel expenses on one project alone.”

“In addition to the best price, Interwise Connect provided the broadest set of functionality and a unique deployment capability,” Marc observed. “Their blended deployment model allows us to leverage our own network for on-site conferencing at our large facilities and wherever it makes sense, securely link into Interwise’ global hosted network for smaller offices. The hosted network integration also kicks in for overflow capacity for our large events and automatic failover in the event our own network is interrupted.”

Executives at PNM Resources are leading employees into a new communications paradigm with virtual meetings at both the company- and departmental-level, as well as for special projects. Examples include:

  • Company-wide Webcasts for employees, chaired by the CEO and CFO to promote understanding of corporate initiatives and internal functions, such as acquisitions and corporate finance.
  • CIO-chaired IP meetings to unify and lead technical staff throughout PNM’s expanding IT operations. This included recognizing the company’s IT superstars with a “You Rock” award.
  • Human Resources-chaired Webcasts to inform employees in 60 offices of an upcoming benefits enrollment program, plus on-demand recorded versions for employees and family members to access conveniently from the public website on an ongoing basis.
  • Cross-functional meetings for acquisition-related tasks, such as integration of power operations.

“PNM Resources provides an exciting example of what IP-based conferencing can do for companies with multiple business units,” said John Donnelly III, vice president of Americas sales and business development for Interwise. “For enterprise-wide applications, Interwise Connect is consistently being chosen as best-of-breed for its manageability, security, scalability and bandwidth performance. Companies such as PNM Resources that use technology to improve their business efficiency and overall work environment, are discovering that with IP conferencing they can align and manage their operations so that customers are better served and overall corporate performance goes up.”

Interwise Connect integrates voice, Web and video conferencing within a single application for unlimited audio conferences, Web meetings, virtual classes, Webcasts, broadcasts and on-demand recordings. Deployed as a core business application to all employees, it improves the frequency, speed and quality of both internal and external business activities. In addition, customers can achieve the cost benefits of VoIP conferencing securely, without having to engage in PBX and phone overhauls.

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