Working hard to change people’s lives
Amnesty International Improves Efficiencies and Mobility
“ShoreTel Sky has unified our organization.”
Lesley Edinboro, Managing Director of Information Technology, Amnesty International USA
Challenge: Consolidate Multiple Phone Systems and Billing
Founded in 1961, Amnesty International is a non-profit organization made up of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in 150 countries and territories. Its mission is to end “grave abuses of human rights” through letter writing, campaigning, demonstrating, vigils and lobbying. Amnesty International has offices in 80 countries with approximately 130 full-time staff in the U.S.
With such critical work to be done, the organization’s telephone system may seem insignificant. Yet the phones are not only a lifeline between offices, but to the millions of people who call with questions and support. The reliability of the phones is paramount. On a budgetary level, the less time and money spent on supporting the phones is money available for higher priorities.
However, with multiple phone systems, the billing alone was monopolizing much of the organization’s time. “We wanted to reduce costs and standardize billing with one bill for all of our offices,” says Lesley Edinboro, managing director of Information Technology at Amnesty International USA. “The analog phones were not only old and virtually featureless, but each office dedicated staff to manage their own phones and mailed me their phone bills. It became difficult and time consuming to track so we started to research outsourcing to consolidate efforts, streamline processes and centralize the management of the phone system.”
Solution: ShoreTel Sky Streamlines Phone System While Multiplying Features
After considering several vendors, Amnesty International USA chose a provider who could offer a state-of-the-art system with industry-recognized hardware and a Cisco infrastructure; it selected ShoreTel Sky. “We saw how simple yet robust the ShoreTel Sky product was,” says Edinboro. “The ShoreTel sales representative impressed us with his knowledge and demonstration. We felt like the ShoreTel Sky phones could give us everything we needed now and into the future.”
Amnesty International USA uses the Cisco IP phones and conference phones. According to Edinboro, some of the most beneficial features are 4-digit extension dialing for faster (and free) dialing with convenient location-specific extensions; caller identification that lists missed calls; last 20 numbers dialed for easier redialing; voicemail and faxes to email; on-demand personal conference call bridge numbers; and true mobility options for staff members traveling or working from home. For example, field organizers utilize the Find Me/Follow Me feature that enables them to program their Cisco phones to automatically transfer an incoming call to alternate phone numbers, like cell phone numbers, after a certain number of rings.
Edinboro accesses the online ShoreTel Sky Portal daily to see certain call metrics, such as which Amnesty International USA phone numbers are receiving the highest call volume and which staff members are making the most international calls. She can also record calls and download the audio file from the portal for others to access. The IT staff uses the portal as well to easily add and delete accounts.
Finally, the organization utilizes the ShoreTel Sky phone system to manage calls to its offices during business hours. “We like that if a member calls our San Francisco office and no one answers, we can program the call to transfer to an auto attendant after four rings,” explains Edinboro. “From there, they can choose to be connected to a live receptionist who is actually in our DC office. This allows us to have one receptionist for all of our national offices and ensures calls are answered during peak hours.”
Results: A Unified, Mobile Organization
Amnesty International USA is now using the cloud-based phone solution as an integral part of its disaster recovery effort. With the phones managed remotely and phone numbers that travel with the employee, the organization can operate even in the event of a location shut down.
The ShoreTel Skyphones have given Edinboro and her team control over the once chaotic phone system. With highly reliable phones and rich, usable features, Amnesty International USA is poised to grow its organization to meet the needs of those it serves for years to come. “ShoreTel Sky has unified our organization,” says Edinboro. “It allows us to be mobile without missing communication, to save costs in terms of long distance calls and hours spent reconciling billing, and ultimately to be more productive.”