DOWNLITE Case Study
DOWNLITE rests easy with a ShoreTel IP solution and ShoreTel’s 911Call Notification to enhance safety for its workforce
Replace PBX suffering from performance problems
With an older NEC PBX-based telephone system, the organization was faced with performance problems that were costing it downtime and money. In addition, often no parts were available to fix what was wrong.
A robust, reliable, available, and scalable system
Bedding manufacturer DOWNLITE was growing from two facilities in Cincinnati to six—four in its headquarters city, a fifth in Indiana, and another in New York. The company needed to find a phone system that would support its growth and connect all of its sites in a cost-effective way. It was obvious the existing phone system could not meet those objectives.
In addition to requiring a system that was more robust, reliable, available, and scalable, Matt Fleming, network manager with DOWNLITE, noted that the organization wanted additional features that the older PBX-based systems could not provide. “We were looking for better 911 capabilities,” says Fleming. “The old system would flash 911 and give the extension number but not the location of the extension, which is a critical piece of information in an emergency situation.”
DOWNLITE issued a Request for Proposal to leading telephone system vendors. After months, the choice came down to two vendors for their IP telephony solution: Cisco and ShoreTel. While ShoreTel was much simpler to manage and it was faster and easier to set up a new user, the enhanced 911 notification capabilities confirmed ShoreTel as DOWNLITE’s choice.
“The E911 capabilities on the Cisco side required an additional applications server and additional software in the range of $20,000, and it required a lot of complicated licensing,” explains Fleming. “While Cisco and ShoreTel were close in E911 capabilities, the cost and complexity were far different and ShoreTel was much more appealing. While it wasn’t the only reason we went with ShoreTel, E911 certainly sealed the deal.”
DOWNLITE warms up to ShoreTel simplicity and E911
Working as a cohesive team, ShoreTel, networking firm Foundry, and DOWNLITE’s integration partner got the new network and IP telephony system up and running quickly and at a price that could never have been matched by Cisco.
“Comparing actual cost and complexity of the ShoreTel/Foundry and Cisco systems was like comparing apples and oranges,” says Fleming. “The ShoreTel and Foundry quote combined would fit on half a page, but Cisco needed eight pages. It was complex and overly complicated, and we also had a feeling that getting support would also be complicated.”
E911 provides extra peace of mind
DOWNLITE uses ShoreTel’s E911 Notification Application, which provides internal notification that a 911 call has been placed, the name, extension number, and exact location of the caller. The ShoreTel E911 Notification Application gives designated site administrators an extra level of oversight and security by automatically alerting them with audible desktop screen pops and placing notification calls when a 911 event is detected anywhere on the system.
Based upon these alerts, local site personnel can offer emergency crews any assistance that may be required. “The ShoreTel E911 Notification Application worked right out of the box—it took our integration partner just a couple of minutes to set it up,” says Fleming. “With the old system, sometimes our internal emergency response team would spend five or ten minutes looking for where a call came from. Those minutes could be critical to the safety and security of our workforce.”
“WE WERE LOOKING FOR BETTER 911 CAPABILITIES. THE OLD SYSTEM WOULD FLASH 911 AND GIVE THE EXTENSION NUMBER BUT NOT THE LOCATION OF THE EXTENSION, WHICH IS A CRITICAL PIECE OF INFORMATION IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION.”
Matt Fleming, Network Manager
Improved productivity and responsiveness
All DOWNLITE employees are on a centralized phone and voicemail system, managing their email and voicemail activity in one place. They are also using ShoreTel Personal Call Manager, a powerful, all-purpose tool for managing voice communications. With it, employees can quickly type in a name, bring up a number, and make their calls from local online directories—all with the click of a mouse, right from the desktop.
“Customer service employees really like the ShoreTel system because if they’re calling many contacts, they just click to dial,” says Fleming. “ShoreTel is just so easy to use, you only have to know the person’s name in order to locate and dial the phone number.”
DOWNLITE is also using Operator Call Manager, which provides operators with critical information necessary for exceptional customer service. With this unprecedented level of information, operators not only connect callers faster than ever, but can give them the highest level of professional service. With knowledge about who is available and where a caller has already been sent, the operator can transfer using a simple drag-and-drop tool to the most appropriate person.
ShoreTel’s hunt group capabilities ensure that live calls are answered by having multiple people available to answer. With hunt groups, when a person is on the phone or unavailable, calls are routed to another extension, preventing callers from unnecessarily reaching voicemail.
ShoreTel delivers line charge and management savings
DOWNLITE has been able to avoid having to upgrade its T1 lines to T3 lines, which was in its plans had the old system remained. Additional savings come from ShoreTel’s ease of management and administration. DOWNLITE uses ShoreTel Director, a browser-based management interface, to manage the system from anywhere on the network, from controlling or changing the configuration of switches, to managing the voicemail, automated attendant, and desktop applications.
When a new user is added through ShoreTel Director, the centralized database and switches are automatically notified, a mailbox is created, and the dial-by-name and number attendant and online directories are updated. Changes are just as quick and easy.
“SHORETEL IS JUST SO EASY TO USE, YOU ONLY HAVE TO KNOW THE PERSON’S NAME IN ORDER TO LOCATE AND DIAL THE PHONE NUMBER.”
- DOWNLITE was outgrowing its aging PBX-based telephone system and needed a system that would scale easily, provide reliability, and most important, provide internal emergency notification when a 911 call was placed.
- ShoreTel provided a comprehensive IP telephony system, including ShoreTel Voice Switches and ShoreTel IP Phones. ShoreTel Director is used for end-to-end network management.
- Enhanced 911 call notification
- Ability to manage the system in-house
- Scalable as the organization grows
- Higher end-user productivity