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American Engineering Group Case Study

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Case Studies

American Engineering Group (AEG) President Scraps Cisco System for ShoreTel’s Lower TCO

American Engineering Group

Cost of maintaining a Cisco system breaks the bank

AEG provides solar products and other industrial technologies. To support its Cisco system required consultants, new servers, and hardware at a cost of $40,000 or $50,000 per event. AEG could no longer justify the continued expense.

Continuous and expensive forklift upgrades left AEG seeing red

American Engineering Group, and other subsidiaries of the Hyde Park Partners group, installed a Cisco telephony system in 2004. New versions were introduced approximately every 18 months, rendering the prior system obsolete. To continue to receive system support, forklift upgrades were mandatory. The process required an outside consultant, new servers, and hardware at a cost of $40,000 or $50,000 per event. Furthermore, replacing server hardware necessitated relicensing Microsoft and other products, an additional expense. In total, the organization estimates that it spent $200,000 in upgrades.

When it came time to upgrade again, AEG president and corporate IT guru Tod Skinner opted to abandon the Cisco system. “We added all that money up for upgrades and looked at what it would cost to buy a new ShoreTel system, then figured out what the maintenance fees would be. We figured we’d achieve ROI on ShoreTel within three years. That’s when we made the decision to scrap Cisco,” says Skinner.

Aside from cost savings, the ShoreTel deployment solved many issues

To date, AEG has installed 200 phones in several locations, including two discrete contact centers. The ShoreTel administration and setup tools were much easier to learn and required far fewer consultants than the Cisco implementation.

The most challenging aspect involved linking the company’s Oracle database to the phone system to identify customers who were calling, and even that process didn’t derail the schedule.

Within the corporate group, one business operates a customer service contact center with 30 employees, and a smaller Web-based business offers telephone support. Both businesses rely on the ShoreTel system for call monitoring and grouping. “When a call comes in, the Oracle database deciphers where to direct the call. With salespeople in six states, it’s important to route those calls to the right people. When we have a phone number match, the customer is identified so the representative will know who they are speaking to before answering the phone from their Web browser,” comments Skinner.

“WE ADDED ALL THAT MONEY UP FOR UPGRADES AND LOOKED AT WHAT IT WOULD COST TO BUY A NEW SHORETEL SYSTEM, THEN FIGURED OUT WHAT THE MAINTENANCE FEES WOULD BE. WE FIGURED WE’D ACHIEVE ROI ON SHORETEL WITHIN THREE YEARS.”

Tod Skinner, President
AEG International

The ShoreTel platform proves to be a better value than that of competitors

ShoreTel reporting capabilities have also been valuable tools for the contact center team. With Cisco reporting, management felt that the functionality performed more poorly than promised. The tools were unable to convey how many calls were taken, by which agent, the number of drop-offs, or the length of wait times.

“WHEN A CALL COMES IN, THE ORACLE DATABASE DECIPHERS WHERE TO DIRECT THE CALL. WITH SALESPEOPLE IN SIX STATES, IT’S IMPORTANT TO ROUTE THOSE CALLS TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE."

With several employees working remotely, and a new office in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, ShoreTel’s call transparency and VPN phones have made it easier for AEG to get business done. One employee works in Houston, Texas, but to callers, she’s extension 252. The recently formed AEG International group just opened an office in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Team members with a ShoreTel VPN phone can dial an extension and talk with employees in the Tanzania office and enjoy audio as clear as it is calling an office in their building.

With business in multiple locations around the world, conference calling is a frequently used function. Prior to the ShoreTel installation, AEG paid for a third-party conference bridge server, which it was able to eliminate because the ShoreTel conference bridge serves the same purpose and is more efficient.

“I think you get a lot more value from a ShoreTel phone system than from competing systems. When you factor in reliability, ease of implementation, ease of maintenance and extendibility, ShoreTel is a no-brainer,” says Skinner.

“I THINK YOU GET A LOT MORE VALUE FROM A SHORETEL PHONE SYSTEM THAN FROM COMPETING SYSTEMS. WHEN YOU FACTOR IN RELIABILITY, EASE OF IMPLEMENTATION, EASE OF MAINTENANCE AND EXTENDIBILITY, SHORETEL IS A NOBRAINER.”

CHALLENGE:

  • The organization’s Cisco system was aging and required updates every 18 months. To continue to receive system support, forklift upgrades were mandatory. The cost of the upgrades was estimated at $200,000.

SOLUTION:

  • ShoreTel provided a ShoreTel UC solution that included more than 200 ShoreTel IP Phones, two ShoreTel Contact Centers and a ShoreTel Conference Bridge.

BENEFITS:

  • Savings of about $200,000 on upgrades over six years
  • ROI within three years
  • Lower TCO due to lower maintenance costs
  • Better call routing due to database integration
  • Robust reporting at no additional cost