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Williams marketing department drives home the benefits from ShoreTel Unified Communications

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Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd is a multifaceted international business that includes Williams Advanced Engineering and WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING.

Within the team, while the designers, engineers and pit-crew get the credit alongside the drivers for strong race results, the marketing team is also hard at work finding and supporting partners, hosting guests and communicating with media and fans around the world. Many people, particularly F1 fans, might see that as a dream job, but the pressure to deliver results while travelling around the world does provide challenges that other “road-warrior” employees will recognise only too well.

With 19 races across the globe in 2014, many members of the marketing team will be out of the office for at least a third of the year. Add to that promotional visits and partner events and much of the team is on the road for around half of the year.

Although this might sound like a very glamorous lifestyle to office-based staff working in the same environment each day, such a travel schedule places huge strains on productivity, communication and teamwork. Unlike their office-based counterparts who can collaborate face-to-face with colleagues, remaining productive and communicating with other team members - as well as partners and suppliers – this highly mobile lifestyle means the WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING marketing team needs some extra help.

In the summer of 2013, in the middle of the F1 season, Williams partnered with ShoreTel to implement a company-wide unified communications and mobility solution that quickly delivered significant benefits for the marketing team.

The agreement was signed at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and the implementation of the programme started soon after with the ShoreTel EMEA technical team providing local on-going support.

The ShoreTel solution implemented at Williams includes ShoreTel IP-PBX, ShoreTel Mobility and ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Centre with multimedia, as well as a host of other functionality. ShoreTel Mobility extends UC applications to mobile devices and allows smartphones such as iPhones as well as popular Android and Blackberry models to work as extensions of the ShoreTel PBX using either WiFi or cellular. This can offer significant cost savings by seamlessly routing calls over WiFi, which can be particularly beneficial when abroad.

By providing a single, simple platform for mobile, e-mail and landline for its employees, including the road warriors in marketing, Williams has been able to drive gains in efficiency and employee productivity as well as saving money on international roaming charges and reduced admin costs. Whether in the office, at a race track, in an airport, hotel or even recovering back home, marketing team members can now remain connected, productive and collaborative.

Chris Taylor, IT manager at Williams, said “Our aim was to improve communications in every way, regardless of location. We realised that we had to streamline our ability to communicate with each other from all over the world and knew that this would not only improve efficiency, but could potentially cut costs, too.”

“We realised that ShoreTel’s unified communications offering would be a resilient cross-site solution that we could scale up or down and add additional components with the click of a button and at a minimal cost. We also wanted a solution that would be easier and less complex to administer across all sites, and ShoreTel’s solution was clearly simpler and less time-consuming.”

So ShoreTel makes perfect sense from an IT perspective, but how has the change impacted employees in marketing?

Chris Murray, head of marketing at Williams, said “It is an absolute necessity to have mission-critical, secure communications between our employees as well as with our partners, guests and suppliers. While particular emphasis is placed on communication between the circuit and our engineers back in the factory to drive on-track performance gains over the course of the race weekend, the marketing team has also benefited tremendously.

“We now have a single point of contact for inbound and outbound communication for each person in the marketing team. This means that not only can we work together more effectively and productively but we can also provide a better service to our partners and at the same time be more collaborative with our suppliers. That is a great result for the marketing team and to be able to do that while reducing costs is even better. No wonder ShoreTel calls it Brilliantly Simple.”