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Southern Polytechnic State University's ShoreTel system slashes per-user phone costs by nearly two thirds

University System of Georgia Board of Regents honors SPSU's implementation of the ShoreTel system for user functionality, vision, and cost
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Sunnyvale, Calif., June 29, 2005 - Southern Polytechnic State University's leadership in the practical application of technology is evident in its voice communication infrastructure, an innovative VoIP system from ShoreTel. Faced with the functional limitations and expense of traditional telephony, SPSU began its migration in 2002 and now delivers the benefits of convergence to students, faculty, and staff while slashing per-user phone costs by nearly two thirds.

The flexible ShoreTel architecture let Southern Polytechnic distribute or centralize systems and management across campus as needed, while integrating easily with legacy equipment. It also enabled SPSU's existing IT staff to stage the implementation gradually, as time and budget constraints permitted. Users enjoy more reliable voice service with a greatly enhanced feature set, the time and inherent delays of third-party administration have been eliminated, and the new ShoreTel phone system is quickly paying for itself.

The ShoreTel implementation also won statewide recognition earlier this year when the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia presented SPSU with its annual Best Practices Award for Information Technology. The ShoreTel system was credited with providing " greater functionality for users," supporting "current and future telecommunications needs," and reducing fixed and variable costs "significantly."

Southern Polytechnic's mission is to develop minds that serve the real world through the practical application of technology, and ShoreTel's unique IP telephony system "fits this mission perfectly," adds Bill Gruszka, CIO at Southern Polytechnic State University. "There are not a lot of phone systems that let you use the centralized and distributed models together, or migrate to convergence at your own pace with your own chosen mix of new and legacy components."

In the phased implementation, SPSU migrated its most voice-intensive departments-including student services and financial aid-onto the new ShoreTel VoIP system first. The transition was so easy and the productivity gains were so obvious that people in other departments still served by Centrex were soon clamoring to be next in line to be added to the upgraded system.

Some of the key ShoreTel system benefits:

  • Integrated, full-featured voicemail
  • Point-and-click dialing from Outlook directories
  • User-customized call control puts "personal PBX" on every desktop
  • Call-handling modes automated via Outlook calendars
  • Built-in workgroups facilitate collaboration
  • Intuitive single image management of the entire system

"During the evaluation phase, ShoreTel quickly emerged as the only VoIP solution that could meet SPSU's key requirements: ease of use, simple implementation and management as well as low cost," said Nate Griffin, president and CEO of StormWood Inc., the veteran ShoreTel channel partner that assisted SPSU during both the design and implementation phases of the university's IP-based voice network. "These capabilities are a manifestation of ShoreTel's focus on customer satisfaction, which aligns perfectly with our own business philosophy: StormWood's network integration services are backed up with a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee."

Intuitive, browser-based management tools let SPSU's internal IT staff make administrative changes immediately from anywhere. There is no longer any need to call an outside party and then wait days or even weeks. A handful of IP phones and softphones have been deployed, but most of the students, faculty, and staff continue to use inexpensive analog handsets.

Such capabilities enable the ShoreTel system to deliver a lot more for less. The per-user price of phone service with voicemail dropped from $31.50 to $12.00 per month, and annual telecommunications costs decreased by nearly $200,000.

"Such dramatic savings are a major reason why so many universities and colleges across the country are replacing Centrex and other traditional voice platforms with IP telephony solutions from ShoreTel," said Steve Timmerman, vice president of marketing at ShoreTel. "With its emphasis on practical application of technology, Southern Polytechnic was quick to see the unique advantages of ShoreTel's approach to VoIP."

About Southern Polytechnic State University

Founded in 1948, Southern Polytechnic is a residential, co-educational member of the very progressive University System of Georgia. Located on 193 acres of naturally wooded landscape in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, the university has a student body of approximately 4,000 students from some 35 states and 82 countries. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of today's businesses, which must apply technology in every way imaginable. With a unique, practical, hands-on approach to education that is career-based and balanced, SPSU has earned an exceptional academic reputation and created a great place to learn.

About ShoreTel, Inc.

ShoreTel is the fastest growing IP PBX company in the United States and the leader in customer satisfaction. The company has shipped its groundbreaking solutions since 1998 and continues to outpace the rapidly expanding VoIP market with technological advances and sales that are doubling year over year. ShoreTel voice systems are designed to make businesses smarter, setting new standards for usability and manageability while reducing telecommunications costs. A uniquely distributed architecture extends enterprise-class voice services to every office and outpost, keeping employees fully connected wherever they go. A select, worldwide group of channel partners provide top-notch service and support. For more information, visit or call 1-877-80SHORE