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Bulacan State University Case Study

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Philippines university connects its five campuses with ShoreTel, slashing telecommunications costs and enhancing communications

Bulacan State University

Bulacan State University Halves Cost and Doubles Communication with ShoreTel

Bulacan State University (BulSU) is a state-funded higher education institution that was established in 1904 and converted into a university in 1993. With a student population of approximately 45,000, BulSU offers degree and post-graduate programs in the fields of Engineering, Industrial Technology, Arts and Science, Education, Architecture, Fine Arts, Information Technology, Law, Business and Management, Public Administration and Healthcare.

The University’s seven-hectare main campus is located in City of Malolos, Bulacan province, Philippines. It has four additional satellite campuses in the province and an international campus in Hong Kong that offers graduate and collegiate degree courses. BulSU has 1,500 fulltime, part-time and casual faculty staff and an IT department consisting of six permanent staff and a pool of students employed as needed to assist with technical functions and projects.

Communications Challenges and Cost Restraints

Historically, communications has been one of the University’s biggest challenges. Prior to the implementation of ShoreTel, BulSU had been operating a number of different telephony services in each of its campuses, which often led to connection difficulties between locations. Also, at its main campus, it often took the University’s telecommunications provider up to a week to respond to and restore service outages and technical faults.

“We have always had issues with communication with our other campuses,” said Engr. Rogelio Pimentel, Director, MIS, Bulacan State University.

The University’s existing telephony service with its telecommunications provider also made it very costly to increase the number of extensions available to staff.

“We had been limited to about 50 phones, because it is very expensive to add additional lines,” added Pimentel.

“THE COST FOR THE SHORETEL SOLUTION WAS LESS THAN THE COST OF MAINTAINING THE PHONES THAT WE HAD, THE SYSTEM HAD THE FUNCTIONALITY WE NEEDED AND THE MANAGEMENT INTERFACE WAS VERY SIMPLE.”

Engr. Rogelio Pimentel
Director, MIS
Bulacan State University

As a consequence, the University was operating with a very fractured and difficult-to-manage communications infrastructure, which was creating increasing co-ordination and collaboration problems across BulSU’s five campuses in the Philippines.

Investing in ShoreTel

In early 2013, BulSU made the decision to invest in IP telephony infrastructure. The decision to deploy ShoreTel Unified Communications was made early in the process, after the University’s decision-makers had been given a working demonstration of ShoreTel’s solution and then compared the costs with their current system.

“The cost for the ShoreTel solution was less than the cost of maintaining the phones that we had, the system had the functionality we needed and the management interface was very simple,” said Pimentel.

The ShoreTel implementation project started in December 2013 with the system operational in January 2014. BulSU was able to deploy 115 IP handsets initially, and another 18 were deployed soon after.

“When we implemented ShoreTel, we doubled the number of telephones that we had, and we can add new phones without having to increase our monthly bill for the telco costs. We doubled the number of lines, enabling us to reach all of our key offices across our five campus locations,” said Pimentel.

The ShoreTel Unified Communications (UC) solution is based on a ShoreTel HQ Server operating on-site at the University main campus along with SG-90 and SG-220E1 Voice Switches connecting users in across the five campus locations. The majority of staff are using IP115 handsets, with IP655 handsets deployed for reception staff. BulSU has currently deployed a small number of Communicator Professional Access and Operator Access licences for full UC functionality from the desktop, and five Communicator Mobility Access licences and SIP Device licences to trial ShoreTel UC on mobile devices.

Flexible and Cost Effective

The initial benefit for the University was the immediate reduction in telecommunications costs.

“Now, with ShoreTel we have halved our monthly telephony costs,” said Pimentel.

The University has saved in excess of PHP1.32 million on its annual telecommunications spend as a result of the ShoreTel deployment.

“THE BEST THING ABOUT SHORETEL? IT’S EASY-TO-MANAGE, IT’S FLEXIBLE AND SCALABLE, AND IT HAS REDUCED OUR TELEPHONY BILL BY 50 PERCENT.”

Engr. Rogelio Pimentel
Director, MIS
Bulacan State University

More importantly, BulSU was able to achieve this cost saving while doubling the number of extensions and telephones available to its staff, and the University now has the flexibility to expand its telephony environment over time at a very low incremental cost.

The University’s IT staff are now able to manage and administer its telephony network inhouse with on-call support for more serious technical issues. This has created a more responsive environment and a much more costeffective model than the University’s previous telephony support arrangements, ensuring its communications are both stable and available. “The best thing about ShoreTel? It’s easy-tomanage, it’s flexible and scalable, and it has reduced our telephony bill by 50 percent,” concluded Pimentel.

Future Plans

BulSU is currently planning two major infrastructure projects that will enable the University to rollout additional functionality on its ShoreTel Unified Communications platform.

BulSU plans to undertake a networking deployment that will see the majority of the seven-hectare main campus covered by WiFi. With extensive WiFi coverage in place, the University will deploy ShoreTel Mobility, enabling more of its staff to join and access its unified communications network via their tablets or smartphones, rather than rely on the cellular infrastructure to communicate.

The second project will see the upgrade of networking infrastructure across the University’s campuses, which will enable BulSU to deploy ShoreTel Conferencing, further enhancing staff communications and collaboration by introducing audio and video conferencing, and document sharing.

CHALLENGE:

  • A fractured and expensive telephony environment was severely restricting Bulacan State University’s ability to communicate and enable staff collaboration. Slow-to-respond support services were creating lengthy communication outages.

SOLUTION:

  • Bulacan Stae University implemented a ShoreTel Unified Communications and bundled HP Networking solution across its main campus and four satellite campuses with approximately 140 extensions.

BENEFITS:

  • Savings of 50 percent on
    monthly telecommunications
    costs„„
  • More than doubling previous
    extensions available to staff
  • ShoreTel providing a stable,
    scalable and flexible telephony
    system
  • Ease of management
    enabling University to manage
    environment in-house
  • Responsive support
    arrangements ensuring quick
    resolution of issues