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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lone Star Case Study

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Case Studies

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lone Star realizes unmatched value using ShoreTel

Integrating five agency communication systems

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lone Star (BBBS), in North Texas, had five regional offices that used disparate phone systems. Its new technology plan included integrating the five agencies into one cohesive unit.

Looking for the best use of donor dollars

With the help of a technology task force, which evaluated a myriad of systems, BBBS chose ShoreTel-based reliable hardware and feature-rich software, easy integration with Outlook, and a reasonable price tag.

“We know we get better value for our money with ShoreTel, based on conversations I’ve had with other colleagues who have investigated or implemented competitive systems,” says Sean Ryan, director of information services for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lone Star. “As a nonprofit, it’s important to use donor money in areas that will further our mission of serving children. Our metrics
indicate that, without question, ShoreTel offers a lower cost of ownership than any telephony provider in terms of cost savings and productivity.”

Since the original implementation, the organization was able to easily annex 11 additional locations, serving nearly 350 users. The benefits BBBS realized have extended well beyond the goal of creating a cohesive organization and centralized telephone system. “The hardware is unbelievably reliable, and frequent software upgrades make our ShoreTel system as relevant today as it was in 2004, and you can’t say that about many technology products,” remarks Ryan. “I’ve never a lost minute of sleep since deploying ShoreTel; the system keeps on running, and running, and running.”

Volunteer organization saves money, enhances productivity, and improves customer service

With a browser-based management interface, ShoreTel Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lone Star has access to the system from anywhere on the network, making it easier to manage voice mail, the automated attendant, and desktop applications. Adding a new user takes seconds and the system automatically updates the centralized database and every voice switch.

As new users are added, a mailbox is automatically created, the automated attendant dial-by-name and number feature is updated, and online directories are revised. Changes are made just as quickly. In addition, the ShoreTel system is simple and cost-effective to maintain. “The time needed for system management is a fraction of what it was before,” says Ryan. “We’re talking literally minutes versus hours or days. With the savings we glean, as well as improvements in communication, customer service, and productivity, it’s clear to our contributors that ShoreTel continues to be a wise investment.”

Unifying geographically disparate staff

The ShoreTel Communicator provides endusers with a single interface to manage business communications using their ShoreTel desk phone, computer, mobile phone, or home telephone. The application integrates with Microsoft Outlook and provides visual voicemail, call notes, and routing information.

For example, an employee’s caller-ID information indicates that the call is coming from their BBBS office number instead of the mobile or home-office phone actually being used. This is important since some many people rely on caller-ID to decide whether or not to answer the phone.

“AS A NONPROFIT, IT’S IMPORTANT TO USE DONOR MONEY IN AREAS THAT WILL FURTHER OUR MISSION OF SERVING CHILDREN. OUR METRICS INDICATE THAT, WITHOUT QUESTION, SHORETEL
OFFERS A LOWER COST OF OWNERSHIP THAN ANY TELEPHONY PROVIDER IN TERMS OF COST SAVINGS AND PRODUCTIVITY.”

Sean Ryan, Director of Information Services
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lone Star

ShoreTel Communicator also enables seamless participation in workgroups and contact centers, and provides the organization with a cost-effective method of pulling in small branch locations and home offices. Half of the organization’s staff works remotely, which provides many benefits: There is no need to set up an expensive office; employees can work from anywhere there’s an Internet connection, which makes them more productive and available; and customer service is noticeably improved because someone is always available.

“With ShoreTel Communicator, we have the ability to support our social workers where they work in the communities we serve. This localization improves our reach and helps us provide consistency and assurance of who’s calling to each individual involved in our cases — volunteers, children, social workers and other providers,” says Ryan. “We also are able to consolidate all of our long distance calls and save money routing long distance calls through the central ShoreTel switch — even calls made by those remote workers.”

Enhancing employee productivity

By integrating communications tasks previously performed with separate tools, ShoreTel Communicator’s rich media, advanced mobility, and presence features simplify communication, enabling on-site and remote users alike to see who is available, and to choose how best to reach them. QuickDialer offers rapid access to directories or Microsoft Outlook contacts, and provides a fast way to connect using IM or email. The least-cost routing capabilities minimize costs by avoiding toll charges.

“Our offices are spread over several hundred miles, so now the cost to call those offices is not a factor,” says Ryan. “We estimate the savings are thousands of dollars per year. This translates to money we can use for supporting at-risk children in our community.”

ShoreTel’s scalability enables BBBS to accommodate future growth

BBBS is prepared for future growth because scaling the ShoreTel system is quick and easy. The organization is also ready for any unexpected events. “We take disaster recovery and contingency planning very seriously,” says Ryan.

“ShoreTel has provided us with the ability to respond to any kind of outage by routing calls to another location. Now we always have a backup plan.”

“INSTEAD OF HAVING SEPARATE INDEPENDENT SILOS FOR EACH LOCATION, WE’VE INTEGRATED ALL OF OUR COMMUNITIES AND ARE ABLE TO IMPROVE BUSINESS PROCESSES, CONSISTENCY ACROSS
LOCATIONS, AND DELIVER THE BEST-QUALITY SERVICE TO OUR CLIENTS.”

The organization is beginning to strategize about its ShoreTel roadmap, which includes upgrading to ShoreTel 14, virtualization and mobility initiatives. “ShoreTel has facilitated a culture change for us,” says Ryan. “Instead of having separate independent silos for each location, we’ve integrated all of our communities and are able to improve business processes, consistency across locations, and deliver the best-quality service to our clients.”

CHALLENGE:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lone Star had separate and disparate telephone systems at all of its offices. It needed a solution that would help tie all of its
    locations together, minimize costs, and enhance productivity and customer service.

SOLUTION:

  • ShoreTel provided the volunteer organization with a complete IP telephony solution, including ShoreTel Voice Switches, ShoreTel IP Phones, ShoreTel Communicator, and ShoreTel Director for system management.

BENEFITS:

  • Easily add new office locations
  • Cost savings of thousands of dollars a month
  • Remote capabilities provide location flexibility
  • Increased productivity