Protégé Partners Transitions from Cisco Call Manager to ShoreTel Sky for Better Reliability, Features and Service
“The ShoreTel Sky cloud architecture and phones require no heavy upfront investment, are feature rich and can be installed quickly.”
Alex Zagajewski, IT Manager, Protégé Partners
Protégé Partners isn’t a traditional hedge fund. The key to its success is finding the best fund managers who can leverage invested dollars in the most promising emerging markets. Since 2002, the Manhattan-based company has grown exponentially and now manages more than $2.2 billion, getting the attention of investment moguls like Warren Buffett. A seemingly trivial phone system may not seem critical to its success, but in the high risk world of hedge funds, communications is everything.
Challenge: Transition from Cisco Call Manager to More Reliable Service
Protégé Partners was coming off of an existing hosted PBX, Cisco Call Manager. The provider was an organization from the Midwest and attempted to build a solution by converting Cisco into a multi-tenancy cloud architecture. While it was an ambitious idea, Cisco is intended to be installed on premise within a company’s network to service only that customer. Problems were inevitable.
“There were a lot of issues with reliability,” says Alex Zagajewski, IT manager at Protégé Partners. “Their customized product frequently went down, features became unavailable and customer service was lacking. We had problems with international service because of the cut rate provider they were using. The system offered no mobility options or remote access to applications for our staff that works from home. They need to have access to their voicemail and be able to make and receive calls without having to sit in front of their phones. Productivity and satisfaction rates suffered.”
Customer service was always an issue with Protégé Partner’s previous provider. Recurring issues with an old circuit made the phones unreliable yet the provider continued to patch it instead of replacing it. “We don’t do much direct trading, so we are always on the phone,” explains Zagajewski. “For us, telecom is a critical, integral part of our business. Not having phone service even for an hour can translate into significant issues.”
Unfortunately for Protégé Partners, their previous telecom provider not only ignored their requests to replace the circuit, but Zagajewski says they never reviewed their products, reliability or feature set. When the contract was finally terminated, the provider’s CTO called Zagajewski to inform him of a more reliable platform they rolled out two years ago yet somehow was never discussed previously as an option. “I knew we needed to find a better provider and solution but didn’t want to make a huge investment in equipment.” A hosted VoIP system seemed to be the answer.
Solution: ShoreTel Sky Provides Real VoIP
When Zagajewski began his search for a true VoIP solution, ShoreTel Sky was a top contender. “The more I looked at ShoreTel Sky, the quicker I realized that their turnkey solution offered what our other provider was unsuccessfully trying to piece together,” he says. “The ShoreTel Sky cloud architecture and phones require no heavy upfront investment, are feature rich and can be installed quickly. Even better, I don’t have to maintain them anymore.”
Some of the features Protégé Partners is utilizing on the ShoreTel Sky VoIP platform is Find Me Follow Me, voicemail to email, ad hoc conferencing and remote access to all phone resources. Not only does the remote access enable staff to work from virtually anywhere, it provides Protégé Partners with a reliable disaster recovery plan. If the office isn’t accessible or the infrastructure is disabled for any reason, employees can use their soft phones and web portal without having to have a physical VoIP phone. Business runs as usual.
Accessibility is important to Zagajewski, particularly since he supports 35 staff members on a 24/7 basis. “Our previous provider’s only mobility option was to support Cisco Wi-Fi phones which lacked funcionality and was too expensive to issue to the staff,” says Zagajewski. “Find Me Follow me works anywhere and is so affordable, the entire staff can utilize the feature. When my desk phone rings, my cell rings at the same time, making me much more available…making us all more available to each other and to our customers.”
The online portal is another newfound feature Zagajewski uses on a daily basis. Instead of having to contact support with every administrative need, the online portal enables him to do most of the work himself. Time is saved and his customers are receiving faster service which translates into higher satisfaction rates.
Results: Reliability, Accessibility and Functionality
Protégé Partners feels more confident in its communications capabilities, both internally and externally with better call quality, more features, greater reliability and improved customer service. Staff members can be productive despite their physical location and Zagajewski doesn’t have a complicated, aging phone platform to support.
“Honestly, getting the extra functionality was gravy compared to the improved reliability we receive with ShoreTel Sky,” says Zagajewski. “We needed a phone that worked; a phone that would enable us to do our jobs better. When so much of your business relies on personal communication, phones are everything. You don’t realize how important it is until you don’t have good ones. The difference in our level of service to our customers and with each other is remarkable.”
While Protégé Partners continues to grow, it hasn’t forgotten the importance of giving back. Philanthropy is part of its culture and finding ways to share its success is personal. Every charity it selects means something to someone in the company. It currently supports the Robin Hood Foundation (an organization that funds projects to end poverty in New York City), Globabl ARC Mission (a non-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to giving hope to orphan children around the world), Witness (an international non-profit organization founded by musician Peter Gabriel that opens the eyes of the world to human rights abuses) and Cycle for Survival (an indoor cycling event that benefits Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s rare cancer research). “We are good at what we do at Protégé Partners,” says Zagajewski. “But we are even better when we use our success to make a meaningful difference in the world.”Print