Butler County Case Study
Butler County calls on ShoreTel to modernize its telephony, while leveraging existing equipment
Out with the old, in with the new
Butler County was moving one of its sites, making it an ideal time to look at replacing the NEC PBX system with a new Voice over IP (VoIP) solution.
Integration with existing equipment
Butler County was using and maintaining outdated technology. “We needed a more cost-effective phone system with more features so that we could improve county communications and end-user productivity,” says Tom Line, network engineer for Butler County. “Our goal was to get a system that would help us be more responsive to callers and send fewer of those calls into voicemail.”
The county evaluated systems from Avaya, Cisco, InterTel, Nortel, and ShoreTel. The county was specific in its requirements, prioritizing reliability, cost-effectiveness, scalability, and solution features. Butler County thoroughly evaluated every system. One by one, Avaya, Cisco, InterTel, and Nortel were crossed off the short list, and ShoreTel came out on top.
“Cisco needed us to replace a lot of our equipment, Avaya had a solution that would keep us at the mercy of a service provider, InterTel didn’t scale well enough to support a county, and Nortel didn’t work well during the demo,” says Mike Felerski, network architect for Butler County.
“In addition to meeting our reliability and scalability needs, ShoreTel allowed us to transition from our old phone system in phases, which was imperative since funding for the county is controlled by so many disparate organizations. ShoreTel was also going to be easy to integrate with our existing NEC system, which meant our users would be able to use their old telephones to access the new ShoreTel voicemail system,” explains Felerski.
Adds Line, “Unlike the other solutions we evaluated, ShoreTel has been built from the ground up to be a VoIP system with all the advantages, including the reliability of a big PBX, and we’re able to easily manage the system in-house. ShoreTel really let their engineers think ‘out of the box’ and they have built a landmark product. Other vendors were completely constrained by their ties to old telephone technology or trying to sell overpriced network products and services as part of the package.”
Distributed architecture simplifies disaster recovery
ShoreTel provided Butler County with ShoreTel Voice Switches and ShoreTel IP Phones. Because of the distributed architecture of the modular ShoreTel system, disaster recovery is much simpler, and even though Butler County still has a mix of IP and PBX equipment, it looks like one phone system in terms of management and customer service.
“We started deploying ShoreTel with one remote office and 12 users at the beginning,” states Line. “We had the ShoreTel system working in less than one afternoon. It was easy to integrate with our legacy phone system right from the start. We initially deployed a mix of IP and analog telephones, but when we saw the extra features, reliability, high-quality speakerphones, and ease of maintenance with the ShoreTel IP phones, we quickly made ShoreTel IP Phone handsets our standard.”
“WE NEEDED A MORE COST-EFFECTIVE PHONE SYSTEM WITH MORE FEATURES SO THAT WE COULD IMPROVE COUNTY COMMUNICATIONS AND END-USER PRODUCTIVITY. OUR GOAL WAS TO GET A SYSTEM THAT WOULD HELP US BE MORE RESPONSIVE TO CALLERS AND SEND FEWER OF THOSE CALLS INTO VOICEMAIL.”
Tom Line, Network Engineer
County saves money by bringing phone system management in-house
ShoreTel Director, ShoreTel’s browser-based management interface, allows Butler County’s IT personnel to access the system from anywhere on the network. Through this browser, every site and feature can be managed, including the voicemail, automated attendant, and desktop applications. “The ShoreTel system is very easy to maintain, and it’s actually fun to install it,” says Felerski. “It’s also a snap to move an employee or make changes to the system.”
Rich Feature Set Improves Productivity
ShoreTel Communicator was easily integrated with Butler County’s Novell GroupWise email system so employees can choose to receive an email notification when a voicemail is received or actually have a copy of the voicemail arrive in the email as a .wav file. “This is a great convenience for employees who are dealing with complicated projects or difficult people. However, the most popular feature is being able to quickly type in a name, hit ENTER on the keyboard, and the phone dials itself,” says Line.
With ShoreTel’s email integration, employees can also manage their email and voicemail centrally right from their desktop. In addition to productivity enhancements, Butler County now has a way to record their phone-based activities, according to Felerski. “It’s helpful that the system keeps track of numbers called. With the ShoreTel system, we have a record of every call that an employee has made and if there’s ever a dispute, those records are very useful.”
Butler County employees can also control the way their phones work, and features like Follow Me Find Me allows them to have calls track them down wherever they are—at their desk, on their cell phone, or even at home if they choose.
Finally, ShoreTel Auto-Attendant provides 24-hour automated call answering and routing capabilities. “We use Auto-Attendant to direct calls from the outside to the right people,” says Felerski. “Both our auditors’ office and treasurer’s office have noticed that even at tax time, when calls increase, they still need fewer operators with the ShoreTel Auto-Attendant than they did with the old system. One operator is able to handle more calls now than in the past.”
ShoreTel gets rave reviews
Butler County is very happy with its decision to go with a ShoreTel VoIP telephony system. “ShoreTel just plain works! It’s reliable, and the features and capabilities are so much better than our old phone system,” says Line. “For those of us in the network department, there’s nothing better than a system that is easy to deploy, simple to manage, and robust enough to satisfy every user. ShoreTel is such a system and we’re glad we made the switch. ShoreTel has made the departments we serve happy and made us look good!”
“FOR THOSE OF US IN THE NETWORK DEPARTMENT, THERE’S NOTHING BETTER THAN A SYSTEM THAT IS EASY TO DEPLOY, SIMPLE TO MANAGE, AND ROBUST ENOUGH TO SATISFY EVERY USER. SHORETEL IS SUCH A SYSTEM AND WE’RE GLAD WE MADE THE SWITCH.”
Butler County, Ohio had an outdated NEC PBX system that was becoming unreliable and increasingly costly to maintain.
ShoreTel provided the county with an end-to-end solution, including ShoreTel Voice Switches and ShoreTel IP Phones.
- Easy to manage in-house
- Increased employee productivity
- Simplified disaster recovery