Pennsylvania Agency Case Study
ShoreTel UC with Enterprise Contact Center helps Pennsylvania agency to better meet critical housing needs
Opening the door to modern telephony
To help lower-income residents with critical housing needs, this Pennsylvania agency needed consistently reliable phone communications. ShoreTel UC provided highly flexible, simple, and resilient call management.
Looking for shelter from telecom complexities
One of the recent challenges facing PHFA was how to effectively manage the influx of inbound calls from both the user and IT perspectives across its three locations. An older Nortel Meridian PBX phone system was at the helm, along with the Avaya Symposium Call Center application.
Much of the phone equipment and technology had reached end-of-life and would no longer be supported. Converting to a modern, Internet-based platform was at the top of the agency’s priority list for securing excellent communications.
“We have an urgency to make sure agency client calls are handled promptly and efficiently—it’s the heart of our business. One particular service-level agreement requires us to meet a 24-hour window for tenants at multi-family developments. And agency staffers really need to have modern tools at their disposal to be as productive as possible. Instead, we’ve been dealing with proprietary hardware, an archaic interface, and a multitude of costly add-ons,” says Kris Clymans, the manager of infrastructure and support for the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
PHFA considered VoIP solutions from Avaya, Cisco, and ShoreTel. Originally, the agency was set to purchase Cisco, since the network infrastructure is already Cisco gear. Avaya was considered because of the Nortel buyout.
Clymans had heard from a colleague about ShoreTel doing more for less, and coming out ahead when competing against Cisco for an all-in-one VoIP platform. PHFA performed further research, including a site visit with an existing ShoreTel customer who was exuberant with satisfaction. Soon after, ShoreTel emerged at the top of PHFA’s list for the ability to provide cohesive, cost-effective, and simple IP-based communications.
“ShoreTel had the flexibility to customize a solution to meet our business drivers instead of requiring us to develop our processes around what the technology had to offer. We aim to continually improve customer satisfaction, and upgrading to ShoreTel will definitely enable us to do that,” explains Kim Boal, the agency’s director of information technology.
ShoreTel UC is the key to simplicity
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency selected a ShoreTel UC Solution that incorporates ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center (ECC) with 75 licenses and ShoreTel Communicator with Personal and Professional Access. Also included are ShoreTel IP Phones and ShoreTel Voice Switches, along with ShoreTel SIP Trunking support. Postimplementation, PHFA added the ShoreTel Report Scheduler Application and the ShoreTel Emergency Notification Application.
ShoreTel ECC enables a single solution for multimedia call center capabilities with real-time management and reporting tools, customizable call-handling features, and advanced routing options. Designed with an intuitive interface and collaboration tools, ShoreTel Communicator shelters users from complexities typical of some VoIP applications for more productive day-today operations.
“The Communicator software package provides us with excellent visual cueing for our agents. They have visibility on their screens to efficiently handle calls, make transfers to the right people, and easily and instantly access both personal and workgroup voicemail,” says Clymans.
“SHORETEL HAD THE FLEXIBILITY TO CUSTOMIZE A SOLUTION TO MEET OUR BUSINESS DRIVERS INSTEAD OF REQUIRING US TO DEVELOP OUR PROCESSES AROUND WHAT THE TECHNOLOGY HAD TO OFFER.”
Kim Boal, Director of Information Technology
Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency
PHFA now can automatically generate a variety of call and agent reports, which can be emailed to supervisors. Installed on a network computer that accesses the ShoreTel server, Report Scheduler can be configured for daily, weekly, or other reporting intervals, and reports on user-defined parameters in a template.
PHFA installed SIP trunking to consolidate call routing, ensure reliability, and reduce costs. ShoreTel’s support of SIP trunks helps securely deliver UC streaming-media applications. The result is significantly lower costs and multiple IP connections within or outside the enterprise network to ensure call delivery.
Putting out the welcome mat for efficiencies
The ShoreTel UC solution went live shortly after being implemented. Clymans credits Transcend United and ShoreTel with a successful deployment. “After converting the existing configuration and call flows from Nortel to ShoreTel, the installation and implementation were fairly pain-free. Transcend provided some of the most knowledgeable engineers, sales folks, and project managers we’ve ever worked with. We conducted user training internally in the weeks leading up to the cutover, so the users were expecting the change and had already been exposed to the ShoreTel IP Phones and Communicator software,” he says.
Regarding improvements since the cutover to ShoreTel, Clymans underscores better performance and greater capabilities. “Many improvements were evident on day one. Communicator was very easy to use and ramped up productivity. Agents are using VoIP phones instead of analog phones, and have many more call-handling modes to choose from. Within 30 days, we were exceeding the previous system in all levels of performance, function, and availability,” he continues.
ShoreTel UC is providing PHFA with an impressively low total cost of ownership. Moving from the former proprietary system to ShoreTel’s open-system standards enables flexibility and choice, thereby enabling IT to integrate hardware and software, and to simplify administrative tasks.
“Our experience has been very positive. We’ve found ShoreTel to be a consistently stable solution with a very admin-friendly interface, and the flexibility to allow us to implement changes and new functionality quickly and easily. We no longer need to have a staff member specifically assigned to telecom; we were able to use our Dell servers, and we won’t need to constantly reinvest in hardware or software to stay up to date. Instead, we have a simpler and unified way to meet agency needs and improve customer satisfaction,” Clymans says.
“WE NO LONGER NEED TO HAVE A STAFF MEMBER SPECIFICALLY ASSIGNED TO TELECOM; WE WERE ABLE TO USE OUR DELL SERVERS, AND WE WON’T NEED TO CONSTANTLY REINVEST IN HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE TO STAY UP TO DATE. INSTEAD, WE HAVE A SIMPLER AND UNIFIED WAY TO MEET AGENCY NEEDS AND IMPROVE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.”
Manager of Infrastructure and Support
Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency
- With an existing environment that included Nortel Meridian, CallPilot and Symposium Call Center, proprietary hardware, an archaic interface, and a multitude of costly add-ons, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) needed to switch to a more stable, costefficient VoIP platform.
- PHFA selected a ShoreTel UC Solution comprising ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center, ShoreTel Report Scheduler Application, ShoreTel Communicator, ShoreTel IP Phones, ShoreTel Voice Switches, ShoreTel Emergency Notification Application, and ShoreTel SIP Trunking.
- Enhanced flexibility and choice
- Cost savings on hardware, software, and staffing
- Reduced expenses more than competitors
- Expanded communications capabilities