Trafford College Case Study
Trafford College credits ShoreTel with unifying its telephony and providing 21st-century features
Merger increased complexity and cost
After the merger of the North and South Trafford Colleges, the IT department inherited a conflicting combination of analog and digital systems that were no longer capable of meeting the requirements of a multisite organization.
Modern telephony features, low TCO
After the merger between the two colleges, the phone system was struggling to deal with both internal and external calls, and could not provide a seamless communications experience across all campuses. As a result, the college decided to completely overhaul and standardize its telecommunications platform by deploying an easy-to-manage, single-image IP-based phone system across all sites.
The college’s two existing communications solutions were not integrated. As a result, calls were routed by two different vendors and charged on a cost-per-call basis. This meant that the college received two sets of bills from different providers, and it was difficult to track the costs, as calls could not be logged and all cross-site calls were chargeable. Most important, as the two main sites operated on totally different ISDN circuits, it was impossible to transfer calls between sites.
The college needed a reliable telephone system with modern communications features and a low total cost of ownership to meet the needs of an educational institution. Suzanne Bolton, the college’s head of telecom, decided to look for an IP-based communications solution that is easy to manage and use across the college’s different sites.
“Our staff must be able to work effectively across the various college locations,” says Bolton. “But it was impossible for users to hotdesk at the different sites because it was too difficult and time-consuming to constantly add and remove someone from the different phone systems. Having to manage the different moves, additions, and changes to the phone systems became very cumbersome and exhaustive for the support team.”
Trafford College required a single-image system that is easy to administer and can be managed centrally across all four sites. In addition, teachers, staff, and other phone users needed a consistent feature set and the ability to reach any user via a single number, regardless of where they were physically working at that time.
The college approached various VoIP vendors and evaluated systems from Alcatel, Philips, Nortel, ShoreTel, and Mitel for reliability, scalability, simplicity, a robust feature set, and support. ShoreTel’s Pure IP UC system was chosen due to its modular architecture, flexibility, and reliability. In addition, because many features including ShoreTel Communicator were included in the
ShoreTel system, the total cost of ownership was lower than that of its competitors.
The college also wanted to achieve cost savings on calls by routing all internal calls over the existing WAN, which necessitated some changes to the network infrastructure. As a result, Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches were installed to help carry the power load.
ShoreTel rolled out its UC system in just two weeks to support more than 700 users. All of the college’s voice applications, including voicemail and automated attendant, run on a standard server on its network. As a result, Trafford College now has a single-image ShoreTel system in operation across all of its sites, with complete feature consistency and integration of all PBXs, voicemail systems, automated attendants, automatic call distribution, and a best-in-class management interface.
“OUR STAFF MUST BE ABLE TO WORK EFFECTIVELY ACROSS THE VARIOUS COLLEGE LOCATIONS,” SAYS BOLTON. “BUT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE FOR USERS TO HOTDESK AT THE DIFFERENT SITES BECAUSE IT WAS TOO DIFFICULT AND TIME-CONSUMING TO CONSTANTLY ADD AND REMOVE SOMEONE FROM THE DIFFERENT PHONE SYSTEMS.”
Suzanne Bolton, Head of Telecom
The modular architecture of the ShoreTel UC system makes it easy for Trafford College to relocate existing switches for redeployment at another site for migrating users, and to provision new switches to accommodate any future increase in additional users. This is important as the college is planning to add new buildings, and can easily relocate or add ShoreTel Voice Switches as required.
“We were particularly pleased with the modular architecture of the ShoreTel solution, which makes it easy to add and move switches around, and enables us to manage the entire telephone system ourselves. The ShoreTel system is extremely userfriendly and easy to administer,” says Bolton.
Trafford College has already realized a reduction in costs from implementing a voice over IP system, and consolidating all four sites has saved on calls between sites.
All of the college employees are now on the same phone and voicemail system, with a simple interface that is easy for everyone—from receptionists to teachers—to use. The college is also making use of ShoreTel’s hunt groups to make sure that all phone calls for a specific group are answered by a live person rather than voicemail.
Since the different college sites have varying hours of operation, the college is using the ShoreTel auto attendant feature to handle out-of-hours calls. In addition, Trafford College is using ShoreTel’s workgroup capabilities to set up a workgroup with agents to handle course enquiries, as well as a workgroup to book appointments at the college’s Enhance Hair, Beauty, and Holistic salons.
The ShoreTel solution integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Outlook, allowing the college’s staff to retrieve numbers from their contact address books. It also means that Trafford College employees now have integrated messaging, calendar integration, and the ability to have voicemail delivered to their inbox, and at the click of a mouse the call can be returned.
“THE SHORETEL UC SYSTEM HAS ENABLED US TO TAKE BACK CONTROL OF OUR PHONE SYSTEM. EASE OF USE HAS ENSURED USERS ARE NO LONGER BOGGED DOWN PERFORMING ROUTINE TASKS, SUCH AS MOVING AND ADDING USERS, AND CAN GET ON WITH THEIR APPROPRIATE JOB ROLES.”
ShoreTel reduces operational costs
“There has been a significant improvement in our overall responsiveness and ability to communicate effectively thanks to ShoreTel,” says Bolton. “It’s now easier for staff to contact people both internally and externally, and all of our calls are now professionally handled and centrally administered.”
We are very pleased with the ShoreTel solution,” concludes Bolton. “We have reduced our operational costs across our sites by switching to a system that supports VoIP, and have introduced a system that is easier to use and manage, making us a more efficient and productive organization.”
After a merger, the newly formed Trafford College needed a flexible and reliable system that would provide seamless communication across the college’s four sites, and help reduce the cost of managing communications.
The previous Philips and Alcatel TDM-based PBX systems were migrated over to a single ShoreTel Pure IP Unified Communications (UC) system comprising ShoreTel Voice Switches and ShoreTel IP Phones.
- Single-image platform simplifies management
- Savings on call costs
- More accurate call handling
- Extensive flexibility, scalability, and reliability