Claremore Public Schools Case Study
School district calls on ShoreTel to deploy a best-in-class IP network that would support advanced features
Infrastructure upgrade opens the door for VoIP
Shortly after implementing an Extreme Networks solution, Claremore Public Schools began its search for a VoIP solution to replace an outdated phone system that would not scale and was built with a variety of PBX-based solutions.
Cost-effective, easy to manage, and scalable
Terry Simpson, director of technology with the Claremore Public Schools, began work on a five-year plan that included sharing applications across buildings, including a student management package.
Simpson envisioned a VoIP system that would be manageable from anywhere on the district-wide network and one that would easily scale as the district added new schools. Simpson gathered information and price quotes from Cisco, Nortel, Sphere, and ShoreTel. On a tight budget, Simpson ranked cost-effectiveness, ease of management, feature robustness, and scalability as top priorities.
After careful consideration, Simpson chose ShoreTel. “The interface for configuring the ShoreTel system is intuitive and easy to learn, and it enabled us to install and maintain the new ShoreTel phone system,” says Simpson. “It is a clean and full-featured system that’s scalable, and one port on the ShoreTel switch supports up to 254 voicemail users. That’s amazing.”
ShoreTel + Extreme Networks = the ideal solution
Claremore Public Schools deployed an Extreme Networks switch at its core in administration, as well as Alpine and Summit switches in each school. “A network isn’t a luxury anymore; you have to have a robust network in place to do business,” explains Simpson. “We’ve gradually centralized a lot of our applications with the Extreme Networks infrastructure in place.”
“We initially wanted Extreme Networks because of its quality-of-service capabilities, so we could support VoIP,” says Simpson. “But we’ve benefited from the reliability and high performance of the switches more than we could have imagined. Bandwidth is just not an issue anymore.”
Sharing a common operating system and management platform among Extreme Networks switches simplifies management for the district’s information system administrators. The result is a lower overall total cost of ownership.
ShoreTel provided Claremore Public Schools with IP voice switches for seven of its sites, as well as a PRI switch. The school district also has more than 150 ShoreTel IP telephones.
With the ShoreTel system in place, all district employees are on a centralized phone and voicemail system, using four-digit dialing to reach employees at any location. The ShoreTel system also gives each employee a graphical interface on his or her computer, and ShoreTel Personal Call Manager, which enables employees to 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.
Claremore Public Schools is also using ShoreTel Operator Call Manager, which provides receptionists with in-depth information necessary for exceptional call handling. When the phone rings, a call-routing log displays the caller’s experience within the system. With this detailed level of information, receptionists connect callers faster than ever.
The district is also taking advantage of ShoreTel’s hunt group capability, which allows multiple call routing options to ensure that calls to each building are answered by having primary and backup operators.
“A NETWORK ISN’T A LUXURY ANYMORE; YOU HAVE TO HAVE A ROBUST NETWORK IN
PLACE TO DO BUSINESS. WE’VE GRADUALLY CENTRALIZED A LOT OF OUR APPLICATIONS WITH THE EXTREME NETWORKS INFRASTRUCTURE IN PLACE.”
Terry Simpson, Director of Technology
Claremore Public Schools
ShoreTel Director is used for system management, troubleshooting, and planning. From anywhere on the network, Simpson or a colleague can launch ShoreTel Director to gain access and manage any site and feature, including voicemail, the automated attendant, and desktop applications. When a new user is added, the centralized database is automatically updated and every voice switch is notified.
“The school district environment requires that many moves, adds, and changes be made to the phone system on a continual basis,” explains Simpson. “The ShoreTel system allows us to handle them efficiently and cost-effectively with in-house support staff. This results in significant savings for us—up to $2,000 per year. I can even make these changes from home anytime, including changes to the auto attendant message. We recently had a snow day and I implemented a weather alert message from home that school was not in session. This enhances community communications instantly.”
With the ShoreTel system, Claremore Public Schools also can update the community in a more dynamic manner beyond school closures. For instance, the school has set up a hotline system using ShoreTel’s flexible voicemail capabilities for its athletic department. Whenever a team is out of town for a game, the coach calls in when the game ends and leaves a recorded message with the time the team is anticipated to return to the school. This allows parents to call in to find out exactly when they should go to the school to pick up their children.
ShoreTel and Extreme deliver more than expected
Claremore Public Schools has benefited greatly from the partnership between Extreme Networks and ShoreTel. Because of the high-performance, reliable infrastructure created by Extreme Networks, the district enjoys crisp, clear voice quality over the ShoreTel IP telephony system and a robust feature set.
“We wanted the best solution on the market and most efficient, and that’s what we have. For example, the ShoreTel system is the easiest thing I’ve ever configured. I went to a half-day class and was able to configure the entire phone system. The features are easy to learn, and users are discovering them quickly. Both ShoreTel and Extreme Networks have been there for us and reliable since day one. And we haven’t had any outages in the last seven years. That’s saying a lot. Extreme Networks and ShoreTel have delivered on all they’ve promised us, and more,” concludes Simpson.
“THE SCHOOL DISTRICT ENVIRONMENT REQUIRES THAT MANY MOVES, ADDS, AND CHANGES BE MADE TO THE PHONE SYSTEM ON A CONTINUAL BASIS. THE SHORETEL SYSTEM ALLOWS US TO HANDLE THEM EFFICIENTLY AND COST-EFFECTIVELY WITH INHOUSE SUPPORT STAFF.”
With nine campuses, Claremore Public Schools needed a network that was available 24 hours a day so students and teachers could access homework and grades and administrators could access financial applications.
Extreme Networks provided an end-to-end switching solution and ShoreTel deployed IP voice switches, IP telephones, and ShoreTel Director to provide a comprehensive system management.
- High performance and reliability
- Lower cost of network ownership
- Higher quality of service
- Improved employee productivity