Georgetown College Case Study
Georgetown College graduates to a ShoreTel UC VoIP system and completes deployment in record time
17-year-old system no longer best in class
Students and faculty were struggling with an ailing 17-year-old telephony system and three voicemail systems. The manufacturer announced end-oflife for the system and no new parts would be available. Plus, maintenance costs were mounting.
The need for modern telephony services prompts a new syllabus
More than 1,350 students and 400 faculty and staff straddle two main campuses and are constrained by an ailing 17-year-old Rolm PBX system. “If all we wanted was a dial tone, the existing system was fine. But our PBX equipment was almost the same age as our incoming freshman students. The college could greatly benefit from a more agile, feature-rich communications platform that moves us forward with respect to better productivity and efficiencies,” says Grover Hibberd, associate vice president of IT services at Georgetown College.
Hibberd and the IT team at Georgetown College conducted extensive research on voice over IP solutions and saw how the flexibility of conducting moves, adds, and changes to faculty extensions each semester would save time and money. After conferring with colleagues, the team was introduced to Unified Technologies, a ShoreTel reseller. Since the new telephone system was a high priority, the timeline to select, purchase, and deploy a new system was tight.
“We met with five solution providers and we selected a ShoreTel UC system because it offered us a very cost-effective solution, extensive features, and desktop integration for more flexibility and productivity,” says Hibberd.
ShoreTel provides an education in simplicity
In anticipation of a new communications platform, Hibberd and his team completed a network assessment, upgrading its network switches. Within a total of 49 days, the college purchased, received, installed, and tested the equipment. The ShoreTel solution selected by Georgetown College uses ShoreTel Director to maintain the system, ShoreTel Voice Switches for both analog and digital trunking, and initially more than 450 ShoreTel IP Phones. Both campuses, along with two collegiate houses adjacent to the school, are included in the ShoreTel network.
Just prior to the cutover, the new ShoreTel phones were placed on users’ desks beside the existing Rohm phones for training purposes. “The ShoreTel implementation went very smoothly—the technology melted into our organization. We deployed very quickly, and acquired many productivity features without the steep learning curve,” recalls Don Blakeman, director of administrative computing and telecommunications at Georgetown College.
To simplify call management and quickly reach the right person on or off campus, Georgetown College uses ShoreTel Call Manager. Integrated with the college’s existing Microsoft Outlook application, ShoreTel Call Manager enables users to receive and prioritize voicemail, faxes, and calls directly from their desktops.
In addition to integrating personal contacts with the Microsoft Outlook directory, ShoreTel Call Manager also assimilates with external files, such as a contact lists in Microsoft Excel to create an inclusive system directory.
“We can literally load contacts from a commadelimited file in Excel—on the fly—for immediate updates and availability by our ShoreTel users. ShoreTel Call Manager automatically loads these contacts with what we already have in Outlook and populates the ShoreTel system directory. It gives us an elegant call system without requiring us to restart ShoreTel Call Manager after changes,” comments Hibberd.
“WE’RE SEEING A REDUCTION BETWEEN 40 AND 80 MAN-HOURS EACH YEAR JUST IN MACS AND PROVISIONING TIME ALONE. THAT’S DOWN ABOUT 75% COMPARED TO THE TIME WE SPENT ON THE OLD PHONE SYSTEM.”
Don Blakeman, Director of Administrative
Computing and Telecommunications
The school also deployed some licenses for ShoreTel Professional Call Manager that are initially being used to speed executive-level collaboration and personalize call handling rules to meet unique requirements for certain cabinet members.
The ShoreTel Find-Me feature, hunt groups, and auto-attendant facilitate mobility. “We defined hunt groups for student accounts and for the graduate education registration. This means we can publish one number for people to call and the workload is more evenly spread across multiple staff within a department to ensure faster call pickup,” says Blakeman.
The college operates auto-attendant at the registrar’s office and also in the athletic department for easier, more efficient response mechanisms for incoming callers. Regardless of where users are at the moment, Georgetown College now has an interface that raises the bar on communications.
“ShoreTel offers this great desktop integration that has quickly become indispensable,” adds Blakeman.
Results are more than academic
Georgetown College is reaping the rewards of ShoreTel UC. Besides simplifying the ways that staff can communicate with students, faculty, and other stakeholders, the school is seeing tangible cost efficiencies and lower total costs of ownership.
“We gained this state-of-the-art technology that’s simple to manage, for roughly the same price we were paying to maintain the old system. ShoreTel has given us so much more for our dollar. And we really like ShoreTel’s resiliency factor. If a switch goes down in the building, the ShoreTel system readily finds another switch to service the building. We didn’t have to pay extra for that, because failover is built into ShoreTel’s distributed architecture,” explains Hibberd.
The college is also realizing savings on time, energy, and floor space. The PBX equipment had spanned three large cabinets exerting high power consumption. The ShoreTel system resides in a single rack in the college’s computer room and has helped improve energy efficiency. The ability to handle requests for telephone extension changes or additions from the ShoreTel interface has significantly trimmed staff time.
“Each summer, the Cincinnati Bengals football team uses our campus for training, which means we have quite a bit of prep work to accommodate special inbound phone requirements,” says Hibberd. “Before ShoreTel, it was a manual job and very labor intensive. Now we simply preprogram ShoreTel IP phones to handle the NFL requirements. Also, we can store the configured ShoreTel phones for the next summer, and do it all from a single interface that I can manage from any location. It saves my team a full day of setup and teardown each summer.”
“We’re seeing a reduction between 40 and 80 man-hours each year just in MACs and provisioning time alone. That’s down about 75% compared to the time we spent on the old phone system. I’m not dealing with different switches or voicemail systems that have to be managed individually. ShoreTel Director lets us manage everything from a single screen, even if I’m home after hours,” concludes Blakeman.
Georgetown College wanted to replace an end-of-life PBX system with a system that integrates phones with desktops and increases cost efficiencies, productivity, and flexibility. It also was looking for a company that provided new technology and resources to implement and support the solution.
The college implemented a ShoreTel UC system, including ShoreTel Voice Switches, ShoreTel IP Phones, ShoreTel Director, and ShoreTel Call Manager. The solution included design, project management, implementation, and support.
- Quick and easy to deploy
- 75% reduction of IT man-hours
- Lower TCO
- Failover and resiliency capabilities