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Adrian College Case Study

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Adrian College graduates to a ShoreTel Unified Communications solution

Adrian College

Adrian College was saddled with an outdated PBX-based telephone system that was unreliable and offered very little in the way of features. The college wanted a solution that would take advantage of the dark fiber that was already installed.

Needed a VoIP solution that could be maintained in-house

Adrian College had legacy PBX-based telephone system and copper lines that were getting old. The plan was to use some fiberoptic cable that connected all of its buildings. “We were looking for a solution that would take advantage of the dark fiber that was already installed,” says Steve Stempien, director of information systems for Adrian College. “I knew we could implement voice over IP (VoIP) on the network and that it would be easy to maintain from in-house.”

Stempien issued an official Request for Proposal and received solution proposals from a number of vendors, including Cisco, Nortel, and ShoreTel®. With a priority placed on ease of management and the use of existing infrastructure equipment, Adrian College chose ShoreTel.

“Cisco was pushing high-end gear to go with their VoIP solution, which increased the complexity and cost of their solution,” says Stempien. “Also, I didn’t care for Nortel’s maintenance interface and felt that it would have been difficult to train new IT staff on system maintenance.”

“ShoreTel, in its presentation, talked about features, while other vendors stressed company background. ShoreTel had all the features we needed. It was impressive when they put a demo on the table and had it running in 10 minutes. Also, ShoreTel did not require a specific vendor’s switches, so we were able to deploy their solution using our existing and new less expensive switches,” explains Stempien.

ShoreTel IP UC delivers improved responsiveness

ShoreTel provided Adrian College with three ShoreGear® T1, 12 ShoreGear 60, four ShoreGear 40, and 38 ShoreGear 120 voice switches connecting 42 of its buildings. In addition, a voicemail server is also deployed, as well as 320 ShorePhone™ IP telephones, and it met an accelerated deployment schedule.

“We have over 1,235 extension licenses in use, including analog phones and IP telephones,” states Stempien. “This enables us to allow students to bring their own phones to college and they can be hooked directly into the ShoreTel system.”

ShoreTel IP UC systems are easy to use, simple to manage, flexible, and reliable. With the ShoreTel system in place, all Adrian College employees are now on the same phone and voicemail system and even dialing co-workers by name. Adrian College also uses ShoreTel’s Hunt Groups capability, which eliminates frustration for callers. With Hunt Groups, a call into an Adrian College department rings extensions in a specified sequence or rings multiple extensions at once (depending on the college’s preference), ensuring callers reach someone who can help them, without navigating through menus or being forced to wait in a queue.

“We have Hunt Groups set up for admissions, academic affairs, the bookstore, the chaplain, financial aid, the president’s office, and the health center,” states Stempien. “ShoreTel Hunt Groups ensure that calls are picked up by real people. We want to ensure that callers reach a live person.”

The ShoreTel system, with ShoreWare® Personal Call Manager integrated tightly with Microsoft Outlook®, provides integrated messaging, such as directory dialing, contact screen pop, and calendar integration. Calls into the wrong department can be easily transferred to the right place with a simple drag-and-drop, and staff can tell if someone is available, on the phone, or out of the office.”

“WE HAVE OVER 1,235 EXTENSION LICENSES IN USE, INCLUDING ANALOG PHONES AND IP TELEPHONES. THIS ENABLES US TO ALLOW STUDENTS TO BRING THEIR OWN PHONES TO COLLEGE AND THEY CAN BE HOOKED DIRECTLY INTO THE SHORETEL SYSTEM.”

Steve Stempien
Director of Information Systems
Adrian College

With ShoreTel’s email integration, Adrian College employees can manage their email and voicemail activity centrally and efficiently right from their desktop. Also, desktop call control allows end users to manage how their phones work, and features like Find Me allow them to have calls track them down wherever they are—at their desk, on their cell phone, or at home if they choose.

Simplified administration and emergency notification

ShoreWare Director is ShoreTel’s browser-based management interface. From any location, an Adrian College information systems administrator can launch a Web browser and gain access to ShoreWare Director. Through this browser, every site and feature can be managed, including voicemail, automated attendant, and desktop applications.

“None of the IS staff —and there are only four of them—have any formal telephone training, and they were able to help me pull off a massive project in a little over one month,” says Stempien. “They all obtained their administrative training on the ShoreTel system after it was up and running. This shows how easy it is to implement the ShoreTel system.”

With the ShoreTel IP Unified Communications system, if a faculty or staff member dials 911, crucial information is passed on to the emergency center. With the old system, there was no way to know where the call was coming from. With the ShoreTel system, the emergency response team gets the exact location of the caller – down to the building, floor, department, and actual phone.

ShoreTel IP provides a lesson in cost savings

With the ShoreGear T1 voice switches in place, Adrian College saves on leased lines, reducing the number of lines by 41. With a fixed-rate Primary Rate Interface (PRI), they’re paying $1,200 per month, versus $1866 with the old system and more lines. “I estimate we’ll save about $8,000 per year on line charges,” says Stempien. “In addition, the ShoreTel system provides us with in-depth reports so we can simplify accounting.”

Adrian College is also able to extend capabilities even further with the ShoreTel system’s PRI support. “Our monthly PRI rate includes unlimited calls, local and long-distance, which adds to our savings,” states Stempien.

“TMY FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE SHORETEL SYSTEM WAS THAT IT’S ELEGANTLY SIMPLE,” CONCLUDES STEMPIEN. “NOW THAT I’VE HAD A CHANCE TO EXPERIENCE IT MORE, I CAN’T SAY ENOUGH ABOUT IT.”

Stempien is a very satisfied ShoreTel customer. “My first impression of the ShoreTel system was that it’s elegantly simple,” concludes Stempien. “Now that I’ve had a chance to experience it more, I can’t say enough about it. Executives, students, faculty, and staff are all happy with the things they’re able to do with the system, and I look forward to even more communication improvements with ShoreTel moving forward.”

CHALLENGE:

Adrian College needed a more reliable telephone system and it already had the fiberoptic cable to support a new system. After evaluating IP Unified Communications (UC) market leaders, Adrian College chose ShoreTel.

SOLUTION:

ShoreTel provided an end-to-end IP telephony system, including ShoreGear IP voice switches and ShorePhone IP telephones.

BENEFITS:

  • Improved productivity and response
  • Emergency 911 application
  • Thousands of dollars in cost savings
  • Simplified management that can be handled in-house