Westside Regional Center Case Study
Westside Regional Center rips and replaces new phone system with ShoreTel to boost organizational productivity, cost savings, and peace of mind
System from a ShoreTel competitor fails
Westside ousted its new phone system in favor of a ShoreTel UC solution that dramatically simplified operations and improved efficiency with a short learning curve and rich feature set.
Cost-effective system with a short learning curve
Westside Regional employs nearly 200 professionals, half of whom are social workers who travel between the office and various case locations. Social workers meet with clients to garner understanding about priorities, living arrangements, schooling, or work abilities, and aspects that might impact these activities, such as transportation and skills training. Being able to retrieve phone and email messages from the field enables Westside social workers to better respond to the needs of their clients and the partnerships forged across the communities.
First attempt at VoIP doesn’t go according to plan
While the Westside Regional team did its due diligence in evaluating several potential systems from large telecommunications vendors, the solution they chose came with some unpleasant surprises.
“Our incumbent provider was acquired by a larger company so we chose a phone system from that VoIP vendor. Unfortunately, we ended up with a system that did not have the functionality we expected, nor the support. We thought it was going to be a simple upgrade. We were told we would have everything we had before and more, but it was anything but that. The interface was not easy to use—it was hampering our ability to do our jobs,” explains Sharon Smyth, director of information technology and facilities at Westside Regional Center.
Although the vendor support team kept reiterating that the problem was user errors and that the system was working according to specs, it was not able to support the agency’s business processes. After a month, the agency requested that the vendor take back the phones.
ShoreTel Unified Communications gets UC right
Directly following the debacle with the other VoIP system, Westside Regional Center implemented a ShoreTel UC solution. With a straightforward and entirely integrated interface, ShoreTel’s Communicator allows users to quickly and efficiently connect with the right person through email, voice, instant messaging, as well as via online directories and business applications, including Microsoft Outlook.
Westside Regional Center also implemented ShoreTel Communicator with Operator Access. Executive assistants, receptionists, and operators can use intuitive features such as call pickup and busy-call appearance to provide higher levels of personalized service to incoming callers. Another widely used feature is ShoreTel Communicator’s extension assignment. This option allows users to forward calls from their desk phone extension to a designated system device or remote phone. Callers have the benefit of a single point of contact, while Westside staff members have remote call handling without divulging mobile or other secondary numbers.
“The last thing we needed was another phone system that didn’t work or didn’t support our staff. Immediately, we saw a difference with our ShoreTel solution. We had one-hour training sessions the week before launch, and we found that ShoreTel was simple to use from day one, easy to administer ever since, and the rollout went very smoothly. We have a true sense of relief with ShoreTel,” Smyth says.
“THE LAST THING WE NEEDED WAS ANOTHER PHONE SYSTEM THAT DIDN’T WORK OR DIDN’T SUPPORT OUR STAFF. IMMEDIATELY, WE SAW A DIFFERENCE WITH OUR SHORETEL SOLUTION.”
Director of Information Technology and Facilities
Westside Regional Center
Westside Regional Center primarily uses ShoreTel IP Phones with three lines, eight function keys, integrated 10/100 Ethernet switch and full duplex speakerphone, and several of the 655 telephones with 12-line appearances, backlit color touchscreens, haptic feedback, and advanced speakerphone technology. Users have a host of helpful features literally at their fingertips, from redial, call history, recall of deleted messages, visual voicemail, and integrated phone directories to independent audio controls and conference call management for up to six parties.
On the backend of the ShoreTel UC solution is fully distributed architecture that alleviates any single point of failure or reliability issues. ShoreTel Voice Switches supply the VoIP telephony with unparalleled availability while extending system capabilities and securing access for remote IP phones and SIP service providers. And ShoreTel Director provides the web-based interface for automatically configuring all active IP phones on the network, viewing performance and health status across the enterprise, supporting users, and reporting call records for all voice applications and locations—without adding any complicated layers to manage.
Westside Regional Center wholeheartedly recommends ShoreTel
Smyth advocates for really knowing what’s included in a proposed solution. “We went from our legacy system to a 45-day nightmare that was anything but a solution. Then we woke up to ShoreTel and BTS, fantastic communications partner. I’ve recommended it several times since,” says Smyth.
Since deploying the ShoreTel system, Westside Regional Center has enjoyed unified communications, with a plethora of choices for how to interact with clients. “Everyone here simply loves the ShoreTel IP phones. The speakers are great; the phones are programmed so we can see who’s available; we can easily change in/out of office status, and we’re all able to receive and respond to calls faster than before. ShoreTel gives us all these rich features—I still have employees coming by my desk, thanking me for the phone system, and that wasn’t the case at all with the system we took out,” Smyth adds.
The cost benefits are coming in, too. “We haven’t had the ShoreTel system in that long, but already we are seeing cost savings in the ways we are able to conduct business, the ease with which we can add extensions and groups, or change the setup or to scale the system. Today, we truly have freedom and cost efficiency with our business communications. Run, don’t walk from other competitors, just choose ShoreTel first to save time and money and frustration,” Smyth concludes.
“WE HAVEN’T HAD THE SHORETEL SYSTEM IN THAT LONG, BUT ALREADY WE ARE SEEING COST SAVINGS IN THE WAYS WE ARE ABLE TO CONDUCT BUSINESS, THE EASE WITH WHICH WE CAN ADD EXTENSIONS AND GROUPS, OR CHANGE THE SETUP OR TO SCALE THE SYSTEM.”
Communications across this busy social service and welfare organization are critical to providing vital services the disabled. After installing a phone solution from a ShoreTel competitor, Westside experienced issues with functionality, complexity, and contractual support.
ShoreTel provided an IP UC system that included ShoreTel IP phones, ShoreTel switches, ShoreTel Communicator with Personal Access, and ShoreTel Communicator with Operator Access..
- Streamlined communications
- Unified desktop productivity features
- Tools that are easy to use and understand
- Simplified management such as moves, adds, and changes