Wellington Museums Trust Case Study
Moving to ShoreTel Unified Communications gave Wellington Museums Trust the reliability and flexibility it needed to manage a multi-site operation.
Communicating across nine sites
Wellington Museums Trust (the ‘Trust’) has managed heritage, education and art facilities in New Zealand’s capital for 20 years. A registered charity, the Trust was established by the Wellington City Council to manage its cultural and arts assets. The Trust makes a strong contribution to the region’s tourism and preserves a significant part of Wellington’s heritage through its museum collections and stewardship of many of its historic buildings. Over 600,000 people visit, attend an event or participate in a program at a Trust facility each year.
Existing telephony environment not keeping pace with organisational change
In 2010, the Trust’s role expanded as it took over the operation and management of Wellington’s Carter Observatory. This expansion triggered changes with many employees routinely working across two or more of the Trust’s nine sites. They might find themselves in up to three different locations during the day.
Executive Services Manager, Zofia Miliszewska, says from an IT management point of view, the Wellington Museums Trust is complex. She says after the expansion of services it became increasingly problematic to contact staff.
“Our old telephony system had two or three extension numbers listed for each staff member and the only way to find someone in a hurry was to ring each of the numbers in turn. You might get lucky first time or someone in the know might pick up a phone and tell you where that person could be found. Otherwise, it could mean calling around. That was inefficient,” she says.
Miliszewska says supporting the old PBX was a constant challenge, “We don’t have internal IT support, so everything had to go through an external supplier. That meant there was a wait and a cost for every small PBX change. Even simple tasks were a mission; in the end we often didn’t make the changes we wanted.”
“We were logging a lot of problems across the board and every week there was something new to worry about. I had lots of complaints from users and reports of phones simply not working.”
To ensure the Trust had the best telephony solution for its needs, Miliszewska says she started looking at alternate PBX providers, and also alternate approaches to communications. Miliszewska added, “And after a little research, we found a solution - unified communications - that appeared to meet our needs.”
Creating a wish list of communication needs
The next step involved sitting down with managers and discussing what they wanted from a phone system. “Based on feedback, we put together a tender document outlining our wish list of requirements,” she says.
“Our previous solution was digital but not IP. ShoreTel offered us the ability to create a unified communications environment to add features such as presence and three-digit dialling to locate staff no matter where they were working. Now each staff member’s phone extension can easily move with them from desk to desk within the ShoreTel system – they simply log onto the phone at their new location making them easily contactable.”
“This has eliminated the need for some of our staff to have multiple extension numbers as they work across a number of our sites. It has also become easier to self-manage and update the phone system as we don’t need to rely on an external provider for simple adds, moves and changes. With the ShoreTel UC system we can change display names, re-set pin codes, change call flow and voice messages on mainline numbers in real-time, in-house.”
“SHORETEL OFFERED US THE ABILITY TO CREATE A UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS ENVIRONMENT TO ADD FEATURES SUCH AS PRESENCE AND THREE-DIGIT DIALLING.”
Zofia Miliszewska, Executive Services Manager
Wellington Museums Trust
“This process is easy and seamless across the phones and desktop system, unlike our previous solution which required a lot of helpdesk support and needed to be updated in two different places for changes to be consistent. We found the ShoreTel system is easier and more user-friendly,” she says.
Good preparation results in smooth transition to ShoreTel
The Trust implemented a ShoreTel UC solution, installing handsets and the ShoreTel Communicator client for more than 90 staff across multiple sites. It also runs a ShoreTel HQ server using the organisation’s existing virtualised server environment, along with ShoreTel voicemail services. This provides an organisation-wide auto attendant service for automated call handling of inbound calls.
ShoreTel voice-switching appliances are installed in two sites, while the other sites use IP telephones connected over the existing IP network.
Ease of administration, greater reliability and improved communications
The ShoreTel solution solved the major problem of locating Trust staff members, no matter where they are working. Miliszewska says the ShoreTel system tracks where people are so there’s no more hunting around to get in touch with someone.
“We also have much better integration of our systems. The phone system is on a virtual server where it integrates directly with Microsoft Outlook, and we’ve found this aspect to be really useful. One of the changes it has brought is that staff are now using the desktop UC client, ShoreTel Communicator. Before, they did everything with the handsets. This means they can access the system from far more places, including when they work from home.”
Since switching to ShoreTel, the Trust has been able to bring two more of its sites onto its internal phone network.
“ShoreTel made it easy for us to bring additional sites into the fold creating a true unified communications environment. Now traffic stays on the existing Wellington Museums Trust network infrastructure, which uses fibre to connect the various sites,” she says.
An unexpected advantage of moving to ShoreTel UC is that often Trust employees have to work in confined spaces and places where there simply aren’t enough wall sockets. Miliszewska says because phones or devices on the network need fewer physical network connections, there’s more flexibility about where people can work and this has eased pressure on resources.
“SHORETEL MADE IT EASY FOR US TO BRING ADDITIONAL SITES INTO THE FOLD CREATING A TRUE UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS ENVIRONMENT.”
From an administration point of view Miliszewska says the way the system is managed makes her work far easier, “We found the new system is low maintenance. That means our running costs are much lower.”
- Growth and organisational change at Wellington Museums Trust meant its existing PBX could not meet the organisation’s expanding communications needs.
- The Trust implemented a ShoreTel Unified Communications solution to support more than 90 staff working flexibly in nine sites spread across the city of Wellington.
- Improving communications for staff working across multiple locations
- Reduced operating and administration costs
- Capability to expand telephony across all Trust sites
- Enabling staff to work flexibly and remotely
- Automated call-handling improving responsiveness to external calls