ShoreTel Helps Sotera Rapidly Standardize Phone System and Reduce Costs
“The ShoreTel Sky system was the most robust, extensible, affordable and customizable solution we found.”
Tony Hakes, Help Desk Supervisor and Junior System Administrator, Sotera Defense Solutions
Challenge: Standardize with More Reliable, Advanced Phone System
Sotera Defense Solutions (Sotera) is a mid-tier government contractor specializing in cyber security, data analytics, enterprise IT and other various services. Each of its 10 sites had its own facility-managed phone system, mostly IP phones and some analog phones. The company was experiencing dropped calls that required a manual system reboot with each occurrence. The phone system proved to be time-consuming and expensive to configure and maintain. It wasn’t easy to use, either. Making changes to items, such as passwords, directory names, and user assignments, required involving the IT or facilities departments.
When the company experienced an emergency with a call center-type site that had to relocate to headquarters without much notice, it was critical it set up a VoIP phone system in order to keep the existing phone numbers. “We didn’t have time to expand the existing IP phone system at the headquarters and we couldn’t lose the phone numbers,” says Tony Hakes, Help Desk supervisor and junior system administrator. “We knew a VoIP system was the only way to make it happen. We had to seek out a provider capable of meeting our tight deadlines and giving us a standardized, reliable system the entire company could use.”
Solution: ShoreTel Meets Deadline with Feature-Rich Phone System
Sotera researched several providers but only ShoreTel was able to provide a continuous, company-wide phone system quickly and affordably. “ShoreTel came to the table faster, with plans for a rapid deployment and significant cost savings,” says Hakes. “The ShoreTel Sky system was the most robust, extensible, affordable and customizable solution we found.”
An example of the flexibility of the system was illustrated with an issue Sotera was having with their video teleconferencing needs in the boardroom at headquarters. The room was configured in such a way that it required an analog phone, but since Sotera was standardizing its entire phone system, it didn’t want to add exceptions. ShoreTel was able to convert the IP signal to analog, integrating it with the phone that conferences in with Sotera’s parent company.
ShoreTel Sky also provides Sotera with rich reporting capabilities customized to fit its needs. Sotera’s call center has target goals with the number of calls each person makes, how often they’re on the phone and how many callbacks they receive. The phones make it easy to track those metrics, as well as call recording and barge, so management can train and incent employees more effectively.
Other features Sotera uses are voicemail to email or .wav files so users can easily receive voicemails when away from the office. ShoreTel Sky’s Phone Assistant manages incoming calls, offering access to a complete company directory and who is on a call or available, and enables users to easily make changes to their profiles and passwords.
Fax to email has been a significant cost savings for Sotera as well, eliminating the need for multiple physical machines and expensive fax fees. Find Me/Follow Me, call forwarding, conferencing up to six lines and 4-digit extension dialing are also heavily used.
“We have a large number of employees who travel from site to site,” says Hakes. “They enjoy the fact that they can take their phone numbers with them so they don’t have to rely on cell coverage or forward calls to a different number. Users simply log into a phone at any of our sites and it’s automatically programmed to them.”
Results: More Features, Less Cost and Hassle
The ShoreTel phone implementation is in the twelfth month of an eighteen-month phased plan, coinciding with network upgrades at each Sotera facility. Despite the previous carrier delaying the release of Sotera phone numbers, ShoreTel has been able to program the phones quickly and get each site on board within the allotted timeframe.
“The ShoreTel phones are more reliable and has improved communications across the company,” says Hakes. “From a management standpoint, the system is much easier to administer and more cost-effective to maintain, enabling users to personalize options and perform basic administration tasks so my department can focus on more business-critical issues.”