Anthony & Sylvan Pools Case Study
Anthony & Sylvan Pools takes the plunge with ShoreTel VoIP and reduces communications costs
Escalating costs drive change
With its rapid growth and increasing communications costs, Anthony & Sylvan started looking at VoIP solutions.
VoIP system unified 50 disparate systems
With 50 sites in 16 states, and growing, the firm considered hardware and software changes, as well as the implementation of Voice over IP (VoIP) technology on its network. While reliability was an important factor since voice and data would use the same infrastructure, performance was also vital because of the firm’s use of bandwidth-intensive applications such as SalesLogix and Microsoft’s Exchange and Solomon. While corporate growth was a major factor, another challenge was the company’s 50 locations that used independent PBXs, which did not allow Anthony & Sylvan to make changes quickly and easily, and did not enable four-digit dialing between offices.
With its 50 sites, using a mix of Mitel and Centrex systems, and voicemail capabilities at only some of the sites, it was the right time to consider a full, company-wide VoIP solution. Anthony & Sylvan evaluated 15 different network vendors and also considered managed offerings.
The company placed priority on ease of implementation and operation, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. After a thorough evaluation process, Anthony & Sylvan decided on ShoreTel, specifically for its advanced technology, robust feature set, support for the organization’s hub-and-spoke architecture, and ability to be managed in-house.
ShoreTel makes a splash at Anthony & Sylvan by reducing costs with VoIP
“ShoreTel was able to deliver a cost-effective solution with the same robust architecture to both our small and large locations,” says Tony Pizzelanti, vice president of information technology at Anthony & Sylvan. “This architecture provided local presence for emergency 911, which other solutions would not be able to support without making major architecture changes. ShoreTel’s cost effectiveness, and their ability to sell and support our system directly, fit into how we do business.”
ShoreTel provided Anthony & Sylvan with 21 ShoreGear-40/8 voice switches, eight ShoreGear-60/12 voice switches, three ShoreGear-120/24 switches, and three ShoreGear-T1 switches. In addition, Anthony & Sylvan received 235 ShoreTel IP 210 phones, 32 IP 560 phones, and 11 IP 530 phones.
Features improve productivity and simplify changes
With the ShoreTel system in place, all Anthony & Sylvan employees are now on the same phone and voicemail system, using four-digit dialing to reach employees at any site, and dialing co-workers by name with the simple click of a mouse. The solution allows Anthony & Sylvan to consolidate T1 lines and the least-cost call routing capabilities allow the company to minimize costs by avoiding toll charges. For instance, if an employee in an office in Texas calls a customer in Maryland the call is routed through the company’s data lines, through a Maryland office and out to the customer—completely bypassing toll charges.
ShoreTel’s Personal Call Manager feature is especially important to Anthony & Sylvan. Personal Call Manager is ShoreTel’s network client that integrates the entire phone system with Microsoft Outlook on users’ desktops. With it, employees can make calls right from Outlook with the click of a mouse, send voicemails via email, change phone settings, and retrieve voicemail messages.
“ShoreTel’s Call Manager has a windows-style interface that was very familiar to our users, and the integration to Microsoft Outlook worked better than every other solution we considered. Our employees found it very easy to use. Some were a little tentative at first, but once they started using it, they loved it,” explains Pizzelanti.
“THE BASIC BUSINESS PROBLEMS HAVE BEEN SOLVED BY SHORETEL, WHICH IS FANTASTIC. NEXT, WE LOOK FORWARD TO LEVERAGING THE FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS WE HAVEN’T TAPPED INTO YET. WE’RE EXCITED ABOUT FUTURE ENHANCEMENTS AND PLAN TO CONTINUE TO WORK WITH SHORETEL TO ENHANCE TELEPHONY AT ANTHONY & SYLVAN.”
Director of Business Process Change
Anthony & Sylvan Pools
Phones are always answered: better business
The ShoreWare Auto-Attendant, also used by Anthony & Sylvan, provides 24-hour automated call answering and routing to improve service and enhance the company’s image for inbound callers. Outgoing prompts can be customized and linked to the time of day and/or day of week. An individual group, such as sales, can also have its own menus with unique greetings and options. This is especially useful when callers dial the wrong office.
“Auto-Attendant and the ability to transfer calls provides a huge benefit, especially since the old system didn’t allow the transfer of calls between offices—we’d have to ask customers dialing the wrong location to hang up and dial another number, which is frustrating,” states Pizzelanti. “The ShoreTel system solved a significant business problem.”
For example, when Hurricane Rita forced a temporary shutdown of Anthony & Sylvan’s Houston office, Auto-Attendant made it easy to implement a custom schedule so that the ShoreTel system automatically played a special greeting for callers dialing those locations.
Anthony & Sylvan also uses ShoreTel’s hunt groups capability, which allows multiple call routing options to ensure that live calls are answered by having primary and backup operators in the same—or a different—location. With hunt groups, when a person is on the phone or unavailable, calls are routed to another extension, preventing customers from unnecessarily reaching voicemail. Calls can also be routed to the receptionist and if the receptionist doesn’t answer, the call can then be sent back to the intended person’s voicemail.
“We use hunt groups in a lot of locations, to ring multiple phones at the same time or in a sequence, to make sure a live person answers,” says Bill Meyerowitz, director of business process change for Anthony & Sylvan Pools. “The scheduling department, for example, uses hunt groups with sequential ringing, and also uses it to move calls between operators and administrators or voicemail as needed.”
Anthony & Sylvan happy it jumped in
Anthony & Sylvan is maximizing the capabilities of the ShoreTel system. While it has yet to implement SoftPhone and some other features ShoreTel offers, those are not far away.
“We have been working on getting the new system up and getting everyone onto it,” concludes Meyerowitz. “The basic business problems have been solved by ShoreTel, which is fantastic. Next, we look forward to leveraging the features and functions we haven’t tapped into yet. We’re excited about future enhancements and plan to continue to work with ShoreTel to enhance telephony at Anthony & Sylvan.”
“AUTO-ATTENDANT AND THE ABILITY TO TRANSFER CALLS PROVIDES A HUGE BENEFIT, ESPECIALLY SINCE THE OLD SYSTEM DIDN’T ALLOW THE TRANSFER OF CALLS BETWEEN OFFICES...THE SHORETEL SYSTEM SOLVED A SIGNIFICANT BUSINESS PROBLEM.”
Vice President of Information Technology
Anthony & Sylvan Pools
Anthony & Sylvan needed to take a close look at how it could reduce its communications costs, which were increasing steadily as the business grew. In addition to cost savings, the company wanted to capitalize on features like a company-wide dial plan, find me follow me, and the ability to forward voicemails through email.
ShoreTel provided Anthony & Sylvan with a complete VoIP system, including hardware, software, and IP phones.
- Unification of 50 sites
- Intracompany four-digit dialing
- Cost savings
- Easy to manage in-house