Back-to-School UC Basics

Schools are back in session, and kids are opening their Chromebooks and iPads and settling into the classroom routines. Away from the chaos in the hallways, school districts are now realizing huge benefits from deploying ShoreTel VoIP communications. ShoreTel’s robust VoIP platform is a reliable, proven resource for keeping costs down and conversations flowing between administration, teachers and parents.

Foback to schoolr many school districts, ShoreTel provides high-end business features that they never had. At David Douglas School
District
in Portland, OR, for example, communications were les
s than ideal before ShoreTel entered the classrooms. Teachers shared a few phones in the office for making outbound calls. For inbound calls, office staff took handwritten messages. This consumed much of the office staff’s time, forced teachers to leave their classrooms to make calls, and created delays in connecting with parents.

David Douglas School District deployed ShoreTel throughout the district, with a phone in every classroom and voicemail for all 800 users. The office staff no longer has to handwrite messages for teachers and staff, and staff members have unique numbers and phones, so calls and messages come directly to them.

In Wisconsin, the Green Bay Area Public School District teachers and administrators also gained more business-oriented, advanced communications options with ShoreTel. They have access to school directories, Outlook contacts, email, and voicemail notification. Even seemingly small changes, like a message-waiting light, proved to be a big improvement. The message-waiting alert and email notification let teachers and administrators know immediately if someone is trying to reach them.

Keeping Costs Down and Communications Up

saving money

School districts do make decisions around cost and ShoreTel helps them
meet their budgets. The Palo Alto Unified School District, in the heart of Silicon Valley, chose ShoreTel specifically for its cost savings.

“We selected ShoreTel as the low bidder and because of its ability to meet all of our requirements. ShoreTel would give us the Voice over IP (VoIP) platform we needed, and also support the SIP trunk connection from other devices for a complete communications approach,” said Alexey Demyanenko, network manager for Palo Alto Unified School District.

Portland’s David Douglas schools realized significant savings from moving to ShoreTel. Even though the district quadrupled from 200 to 800 users, overall phone costs decreased by $40,000 per year by using existing data network wiring and analog phones, and minimizing the need for T1 connections.

The Green Bay Area Public School District ranks as one of the biggest cost saving winners, as it lowered its total cost of ownership by 70 percent by drastically reducing required phone lines and related service costs.

“We were able to reduce the number of phone lines by 80 percent—from 958 phones to under 200 for 40 locations. Our average monthly land line phone expense dropped from $10,000 per month to less than $3,000 a month,” said Allen Behnke, director of safety, security and telecom at the Green Bay Area Public School District.

No public school district has it easy, but these schools are working hard to improve communications and keep costs down. Packet Fusion can help discover where cost saving lie and create a system for your specific school.

ShoreTel Connect Delivers Something for Everyone

The recently released ShoreTel Connect emphasizes 1, 2, 3—one common platform; two ways to deliver (as-a-service or product); and three ways to deploy: cloud, onsite or hybrid. What does that mean for the people who use ShoreTel Connect every day? These top features for users, the IT department and call centers show the impact that ShoreTel Connect has across the entire organization.

Top Five Features for the User

  • Completely redesigned user experience that is simple with business-grade features. User experience remains consistent across desktop and mobile phones.
  • Combines traditional phone system favorites (call transfer, extension dialing and conference calling) with collaborative unified communications features (instant messaging, audio and web conferencing, video calling and web desktop sharing).
  • The ultra-sleek, user friendly ShoreTel Connect desktop app puts all the communication tools in one easy to find and easy to use app panel. All communication and collaboration starts and stays here.
  • A rich set of tools helps track interactions with only a few clicks. Features include: Directory to locate contacts; People to view presence; Recent to see past communications; Events to create and schedule meetings; Conversations for quick access to recent interactions.
  • Online meetings become more productive with real-time agendas, timekeepers, peer-to-peer video and desktop sharing.

Top Five Features for the IT Department

  • ShoreTel Connect is flexible to fit each business’ unique needs. IT departments can decide if they want their communications hosted in the cloud, an on-premises solution or a hybrid combination of both works best for their environments.
  • ShoreTel Connect installs with plug-and-play ease, often in half a day.
  • Administrators use a single-screen view to monitor and troubleshoot their entire enterprise system. Moves, adds and changes can be made in seconds with simple radio buttons.
  • The ShoreTel Connect platform delivers reliability and security that prevents hackers from tapping in through Wi-Fi hotspots and provides automated failover during a service outage.
  • Don’t want to manage moves, adds and changes? Non-technical employees can easily handle these in seconds.

Top Five Features for Call Centers

ShoreTel Connect ONSITE Interaction Center integrates seamlessly with Connect ONSITE system. Highlights include:

  • Call Center reps choose the communication channel best suited for customers. ShoreTel Connect supports voice, web chat and blended inbound and outbound applications.
  • Managers and call center reps can easily and quickly predict and accommodate call volume peaks.
  • As many as 1,000 agents can handle multiple interactions simultaneously.
  • Supervisors can build complex call queues and IVR scripts in-house, and customizable reports display immediately.
  • More historical and real-time reports show exactly what is happening in the contact center from details about specific reps’ daily activities to big picture annual overviews.