EDAW Case Study
ShoreTel gives EDAW a unified voice solution with single-system view and remote web-based management
Disparate systems requiring outsourced management
IT director Ron Pike had inherited a patchwork of incompatible PBXs and key systems that had to be managed individually with separate service contracts and the associated overhead. Service was inconsistent and slow.
A system that could be easily managed in-house
The San Francisco-based company provides landscape architecture and community planning services to public- and private-sector clients spread across four continents. EDAW has expanded through acquisitions in recent years, and now has a 1,000-person workforce operating out of 15 domestic and nine international offices. Seeking a single voice network, EDAW considered its preferred data vendor, Cisco, which by then had an IP PBX. But the Cisco solution required expensive upgrades to existing network hardware and staff skills,
ShoreTel delivers intuitive multi-site management
Unlike other solutions, every part of the ShoreTel system is managed from the same browser-based interface. Administrators can run a multi-site network from anywhere. Says Mier Communications, a leading independent testing company, “ShoreTel has a top-shelf management application other vendors would do well to emulate.”
When Pike and his staff are out of the office, they can log on to the San Francisco system remotely from any Internet connection. The IT staff can easily perform administrative tasks that previously required truck rolls from the local outsource. Moves, adds, and changes can be made in a matter of minutes, making ShoreTel’s entire rich feature set immediately available to new or relocated employees.
“We feel more comfortable now that we have this immediate, Web-based interface to what is happening,” says Pike. “We don’t have to call a contractor and wait for a response, because we can handle things internally right away.”
Embedded reliability ensures uptime
The ShoreTel system is based on a unique callcontrol architecture that distributes call processing across all the switches in a multi-site network. The switches communicate with one another as peers and can cover for one another when necessary. Also, any individual switch can operate by itself if it is cut off from the rest. This innovative approach creates a voice system with no single point of failure and high availability.
The ShoreTel system matches and potentially exceeds the 99.999% availability of traditional voice systems, while also offering the flexibility and economy of plug-and-play equipment replacement.
EDAW uses the ShoreTel network to do leastcost routing between San Francisco and the Seattle office, where Pike is based. Despite the dramatic drop in long-distance rates, there are still significant savings to be found by letting voice ride on existing IP data WANs.
The combination of ShoreTel’s intuitive interface and least-cost routing makes it easy to automate toll bypass across a multi-site network. Calls between offices flow over the IP backbone, and can be initiated by dialing only the recipient’s fourdigit extension number. And when an individual in one office is placing an outside call to a number within the local dialing radius of another office, the call automatically gets routed over the IP network. It is completely transparent to the callers, who don’t have to remember which area codes qualify for toll bypass, or punch in any commands.
“WE FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE NOW THAT WE HAVE THIS IMMEDIATE, WEB-BASED INTERFACE TO WHAT IS HAPPENING. WE DON’T HAVE TO CALL A CONTRACTOR AND WAIT FOR A RESPONSE, BECAUSE WE CAN HANDLE THINGS INTERNALLY RIGHT AWAY.”
Ron Pike , IT Director
The next challenge: improve productivity The ShoreTel system’s intuitive, real-time call handling makes productivity-enhancing features more accessible to employees. To create a conference call, the initiator simply dials by name, clicks conference, and then repeats the process to connect additional participants.
When Pike does travel physically to San Francisco, his “presence” information – including phone number and user profile – automatically follows him when he logs on to the network. People don’t have to keep track of where he can be reached, because calls made to his Seattle extension ring at his temporary location.
The ultimate challenge: improve customer satisfaction
ShoreTel’s powerful call handling and workgroup functionality facilitate collaboration so that farflung resources can be instantly marshaled to address business problems. This boosts employee productivity, and ultimately improves customer satisfaction.
Through an intuitive interface, administrators can define hunt groups or wait queues for extensions that get more than their share of inbound calls. The result is more efficient call handling, which can speed the responsiveness perceived by callers. And users can help themselves to many callhandling features that produce a better experience for callers.
Using ShoreTel’s real-time presence features, employees can see whether a colleague is busy before transferring a call. The call is simply dropped on the user’s name, so there is no need to remember or look up numbers. Clients calling in are less likely to get dropped, or sent to the wrong person, or end up in voicemail.
Included in the Operator level of the ShoreTel client software, the extension manager can be used to monitor up to 250 extensions in a pop-up window that displays call activity details in real time. It allows drag-and-drop call transfers and simplifies call pickups and parking. Workgroup members can monitor one another’s incoming calls and jump in to intercept a call from an important client that is about to bounce to voicemail.
ShoreTel provides more for less
Next on EDAW’s agenda is installing ShoreTel Voice Switches in the Atlanta and Alexandria offices, and connecting the existing Siemens switch in the Sacramento office via a ShoreTel gateway. That will give EDAW four-digit dialing among six of its offices.
Summing things up, Pike says EDAW is very pleased with the feature-per-dollar return from its ShoreTel investment, saying, “It would have cost us more in licensing fees to add similar capabilities to the Siemens platforms we already had, and we would have gotten less out of them.”
“IT WOULD HAVE COST US MORE IN LICENSING FEES TO ADD SIMILAR CAPABILITIES TO THE SIEMENS PLATFORMS WE ALREADY HAD, AND WE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN LESS OUT OF THEM.”
- EDAW wanted to use its existing data network to create a single phone system with a single-system view, network-wide directories, and four-digit dialing that was manageable in-house without adding staff.
- The ShoreTel system unified the entire voice network and eased management dramatically. Every part of the system is managed from the same browser-based interface.
- Embedded reliability ensures uptime
- Least-cost routing saves money
- Advanced call controls
- Improved end-user productivity