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Australia’s Cooma-Monaro Shire Council Case Study

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Case Studies

ShoreTel UC saves Australia’s Cooma-Monaro Shire Council more than $20,000 a year

Australia’s Cooma-Monaro Shire Council

Survival can depend on communications

The mountainous area features a 50°C temperature variation throughout the year. In this uncompromising and often remote environment, survival can depend on the ability to respond quickly to calls and deliver service promptly.

Find a more flexible, less expensive telephony solution

The Cooma-Monaro Shire Council is responsible for meeting the local government needs of more than 10,000 people living in Australia’s rugged Snowy Mountains region. Recently, the council embarked on a strategy to lift service levels and meet future demands.

But the council’s nine-year-old Ericsson ISDN phone system was proving a major barrier to raising communication standards. The Ericsson system was inflexible and unable to show staff availability, share text messages, or calendar information.

The Ericsson phone system was also becoming expensive to operate. All calls, local or otherwise, were being billed at a full rate set by a carrier and were in addition to expensive monthly line charges, in-bound mobile costs, and text use. Adding to the bills were the costs of service and fees for user moves and add-ons.

Facing these challenges, the council needed to make a significant change. “Our responsibilities cover an area of Australia unique to the rest of the country. With customers demanding more responsive service, and employees increasingly needing to work from different locations, only a flexible telecommunications system could meet our needs today and tomorrow,” says Scott Goudie, manager for information technology and telecommunications at the Cooma Council.

Goudie and his project team conducted an extensive comparative review of systems from Mitel, NEC, Samsung, LG/Nortel, and ShoreTel. The robustness and durability of ShoreTel’s UC solution clearly met the council’s location-based needs.

ShoreTel’s best-in-class UC system is also the best value for ratepayers

The project team calculated value projections on the ShoreTel UC system on a conservative 15 years of use. “That means 15 years without the need to upgrade hardware, 15 years of value,” explains Goudie. An added bonus was the savings in power consumption. ShoreTel switches require up to 50 percent less power than competing systems.

Other advantages of the ShoreTel UC system that were important to the Cooma Council included:

  • Microsoft Outlook integration, providing MAPI link to voicemail, which reduced Microsoft Exchange mailbox congestion.
  • The best UC interface with ShoreWare® Professional Call Manager, which is intuitive and easy to use.
  • Find-Me feature to help minimize unanswered calls.
  • Installation and support services to ensure operation and quality of voice communications as required.
  • The best proposed solution for redundant communications at the works depot if the fiberoptic cable is accidentally cut between locations.
  • Office Anywhere feature to facilitate access from remote locations.
  • Standard ShoreTel handsets for the desktops exceeded the voice quality level proposed by other vendors.

“Independent research from Nemertes that awarded ShoreTel the best-in-class UC system for five years in a row sealed the deal for us,” adds Goudie.

“WITH THE SHORETEL UC SYSTEM, WE WERE ABLE TO REDUCE CALL DIALING TIME FROM AN AVERAGE 4 TO 5 SECONDS DOWN TO ABOUT 1 SECOND. IT WORKED OUT TO BE 60 WORK HOURS SAVED PER YEAR JUST ON SIMPLY DIALING.”

Scott Goudie, Manager for Information
Technology and Telecommunications
Cooma-Monaro Shire Council

The ShoreTel UC system was deployed and up and running in less than a week. The solution comprises ShoreGear 50, 90, and 120 voice switches; 85 easy-to-use ShorePhone® IP230 handsets; and an IP8000 conference phone for meetings. Also included were advanced ShoreWare Professional Call Manager and extension and mailbox applications to provide timesaving and self-management resources.

Installation was completed over a weekend and the cutover was completed in minutes on the following Monday. Training employees on the ShoreTel system was conducted in one-hour sessions and supported with easy-to-follow instructions available on employee desktops.

Long-Term Benefits

Productivity has increased significantly since the ShoreTel system was deployed. The built-in directory capabilities in the ShoreWare Professional Call Manager interface enabled employees to contact one another with one click on their desktops, and least-cost call routing over IP eliminates interoffice telephone charges. “We were able to see the value straight away,” says Goudie.

The availability of precise phone billing information is greatly appreciated by council management. ShoreTel provides very detailed information on inbound and outbound calls, and the information can be provided in different formats for detailed insight into calling patterns.

Savings of $20,000 a welcome windfall

The council saw a hard dollar return on its ShoreTel investment from day one. The ShoreTel system eliminated the need for 17 voice-link lines that were costing $95 per month, a savings of more than $20,000 annually, including no more cost calls, mobile call fees, and text charges.

Based on projections undertaken by Goudie, the council expects to realize a complete ROI in less than four years. Additional savings are expected over the planned 15-year life span of the ShoreTel UC system. Its easy scalability from 10 to 10,000 users allows adds/moves to be completed in-house by council staff without the need for expensive service calls.

“We tested the way council staff used our old Ericsson system and calculated that across our operations, 80 hours per year were spent by employees just dialing in numbers into handsets,” says Goudie. “With the ShoreTel UC system, we were able to reduce call dialing time from an average 4 to 5 seconds down to about 1 second. It worked out to be 60 work hours saved per year just on simply dialing.”

There are other benefits for the council, too. The ShoreTel system has one single window providing fast, easy-to-read information about callers, calls, and colleagues’ availability. This access enables employees to share work across desktops, share calls to and from administration and the work depot, and refer calls from the public, all without additional costs.

“MEETING RESOURCE NEEDS OVER THE LONGER TERM IS A PRIORITY. AUTOATTENDANT SERVICES FOR WINTER WEATHER REPORTS, ROAD CONDITIONS, AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY ISSUES ARE OTHER AREAS WHERE WE SEE THE SHORETEL SYSTEM PROVIDING A LARGER ROLE IN THE FUTURE.”

Future plans include possible system expansion

The success of the ShoreTel system has created opportunities to investigate whether the Department of Ageing, Disability, and Home Care’s new community services facility could also be integrated into the new system.

“Mobility is a critical part of our thinking, and we see the services of in-field staff growing,” explains Goudie. “Meeting resource needs over the longer term is a priority. Auto-attendant services for winter weather reports, road conditions, and animal husbandry issues are other areas where we see the ShoreTel system providing a larger role in the future.”

CHALLENGE:

  • Implement a telephony system flexible enough to boost staff productivity, tough enough to deliver reliable service, and viable enough to provide an acceptable return on investment.

SOLUTION:

  • The ShoreTel Unified Communications (UC) system comprised ShoreGear 50, 90 and 120 voice switches; ShorePhone IP 230 handsets; and an IP8000 conference phone.

BENEFITS:

  • Projected ROI of less than four years
  • Robust call handling features
  • Easy moves, adds, and changes
  • Savings of $1,600 per month in carrier fees