John Carris Investments
Latest Technology without Hefty Price Tag
“With ShoreTel Sky, you get the latest technology without investing more dollars.”
Samuel A. Litt, Director of Information Technology, John Carris Investments
Challenge: Gain Control of Phone System to Improve Communications
John Carris Investments is a privately held, full-service investment banking and retail brokerage firm headquartered in the heart of Wall Street. Much of its brokers’ success depends on the phone systems that are used to acquire new customers and service existing ones. Before the firm’s recent office move, it rented executive space and was at the mercy of the existing phone system, shared with other tenants on the same floor. The PBX-driven phones were slow, prone to disconnects and offered little in the way of quality. “The poor-quality phones and connections impacted our ability to conduct business,” says Samuel A. Litt, director of Information Technology at John Carris Investments. “It was frustrating to both our brokers and our customers.”
Besides the inferior phones, the IT staff at the firm had little recourse in getting the constant telecom issues resolved. A floor office manager was the first tier of support who relied on a subject matter expert from the company that originally installed the phones. John Carris IT personnel had little control over the inefficient break-fix process and satisfactory resolutions to problems were rare.
Solution: ShoreTel Sky Provides the Needed Quality and Functionality
As business at John Carris Investments increased, it realized it needed more office space and a move to a new building was imminent. With the relocation came the much welcomed opportunity to improve its communications technology. The firm was heavily focused on cloud technology and felt it could be more cost effective to purchase a hosted, managed VoIP phone system, reducing startup costs and managing ongoing costs while providing superior service. “We wanted the system to be hosted because we could never do a better job than a company that continually invests millions of dollars into the latest telecommunication infrastructure, technology and services,” says Litt. “Anything I could have purchased and managed onsite would have required additional staff and likely been obsolete before the first dial. That just didn’t make sense.”
Litt didn’t approach the decision-making process blindly. He has an extensive IT background, formerly deputy CTO for DOiTT (Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications) for the city of New York and a published author and subject matter expert of Macintosh OS computing systems. Yet to ensure he was on the right track, Litt invited a former Department of Defense enterprise architect and datacom subject matter expert to review four possible telephone solutions, as well as researching outside analyst reports from Gartner and Forrester. ShoreTel was consistently rated one of the industry favorites for quality, functionality, service and support. Finally, after speaking with several ShoreTel Sky customers, Litt was sold.
ShoreTel sent a project manager to John Carris Investment’s new office to begin mapping the phone system based on the specific requirements spelled out by Litt. “I wanted to ensure the architecture that connected our company to ShoreTel Sky was built in the most robust way possible,” explains Litt. “We wanted to maximize ROI while controlling TCO. Part of that was to minimize our risk by building a system that could tolerate a cascade of multiple failures, or built-in redundancies. We have multiple redundancies in our connections, routers and PoE VoIP. We viewed this as not just a phone system, but a phone solution.”
The new ShoreTel Sky phones not only give John Carris Investment representatives crystal clear reception, it provides them with dozens of customizable features they can use to optimize their business. One such feature is ShoreTel Sky’s Web Portal, which among many things, allows users to route incoming calls to ring a specific phone two times, then routes to other phones concurrently before going to the original phone’s voicemail. Offsite phones are connected to office phones as if they were onsite.
The phone technology also comes with robust analytics features, giving IT valuable call data that can be filtered to specific needs, such as length of calls, number of calls per rep, numbers called, etc. Litt also integrates this functionality into internal applications to generate additional required analytical reporting.
Results: Improved Communications and Unsurpassed Support
The exceptional quality, usability and functionality of the ShoreTel Sky phones has brought John Carris Investments into the 21st century. It not only provides the firm with a continuous modern state of telecommunications by which to conduct business, but it has given the firm capabilities that were difficult or impossible to achieve with other solutions. The analytics provide metrics that the IT staff and executives can utilize to regularly track and improve efficiencies and processes to improve productivity. For Litt, however, the biggest benefit he has experienced is with the level of service and support from ShoreTel. “Our project manager brings extraordinary value with every engagement,” says Litt. “He has a unique focus on our success and isn’t interested in extracting every dollar out of us. He genuinely wants to build us the best solution possible. It’s not just customer service; its subject matter expertise unrivaled in the communications industry.”
Besides depending on his project manager, the IT department and all end users have a convenient “?” button on every phone, linking them directly to a live ShoreTel technician who can instantly help with any issues, features or programming. The entire phone system is managed remotely by ShoreTel, reducing repair wait times and costs due to loss of function; all of this translates into a superior end user experience. ShoreTel Sky’s goal is to resolve even the most complicated issues within 48 hours for minimal impact to the client.
Litt says he looks forward to new features and functionality from the phones as technology continues to evolve and ShoreTel expands its product offerings. Because John Carris Investments pays for their phone system as a service, it has access to cutting edge enhancements that may help it become more competitive in the industry. “Like a true cloud offering, the ShoreTel Sky system is robust enough to scale with us,” he says. “With ShoreTel Sky, you get the latest technology without continuously investing more dollars. But what makes it truly unique is the support we get from our ShoreTel Sky team, which is priceless.”