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Compassion Australia Case Study

Case Studies

ShoreTel enables Compassion Australia to collaborate more, while spending less

Compassion Australia

Rising costs impede charity’s goals

Faced with increasing phone traffic, Compassion Australia’s IT Manager Michael Macarthur noticed that the organization’s phone system was severely limiting in its ability to support the widespread level of communications across the organization.

Increasing costs at the expense of helping children in poverty

Compassion Australia is an international Christian child development and advocacy ministry committed to the development of children living in extreme poverty. The organization sponsors more than 1 million children in 25 developing countries across Africa, Asia, Central America, and South America.

Restrictions on phone usage were impeding its work. Since the organization is rated in the top ten for “Bang for Your Buck,” with 80 percent of finances going to help children, it could not afford to pay more for communications. In short, every minute spent managing the phone system meant less time assisting children in need.

“We had an IPBX system that was an application trying to be a phone system — as is the case with many other early IP systems,” explains Compassion Australia’s IT Manager Michael Macarthur. “We incurred unanticipated fees to scale and an increasing amount of non-budgeted, day-to-day operating expenses for tasks like adding features and expanding options. Equally frustrating was the voice system’s lack of reliability.”

In short, the IP phone system was difficult to use, and IT had to spend a lot of time trying to repair and upgrade the system. Given the rising costs and the frustrating use of resources, Compassion Australia approached IT services and solutions specialists Davicom to help them find a more practical and cost-effective solution to meet the needs of its busy offices.

Competitive pricing and attractive licensing model separates ShoreTel from its competitors

Macarthur recognized that the organization needed an IP telephone system that would be cost-effective, while simultaneously providing services among its offices. He was also interested in a solution that allowed the staff to stay connected and collaborate effectively with the company’s overseas partners through voice and video conferencing.

“We are a progressive organization and recognize that technology can help us reach more people and spread the message about child poverty issues strongly and clearly,” says Macarthur. “We needed a solution that improved our communications and relationships without breaking the bank.”

Together, Compassion Australia and Davicom evaluated and researched several of Australia’s leading IP telephony providers. They immediately identified the ShoreTel UC solution as the most reputable and highly rated provider among its competitors.

“We decided on ShoreTel because it has the rich features needed in a corporate IP system, including presence management,” remarks Macarthur. “Plus, its competitive pricing and attractive licensing model meant that it stood out for affordability as well.”

Compassion Australia chose a ShoreTel UC system with 150 ShorePhone® IP 230 and IP 560 telephones. Other features of the system include ShoreWare® Operator Call Manager, integrated workgroups, voice presence management, calendar integration, and visual voicemail. ShoreWare Personal Call Manager was also installed, which enables staff to forward their voicemail to email, and consolidate all messages for the most convenient and efficient access.

The organization also is using ShoreTel Converged Conferencing for collaboration across its offices. “We were able to eliminate more than $800 per month that was spent on an external third-party conferencing service,” explains Macarthur. “We have recently upgraded to ShoreWare Professional Call Manager, and are in the process of deploying video calls to our regional staff and integrating other features that will improve collaboration across the organization.”


Michael Macarthur, IT Manager
Compassion Australia

The staff and volunteers at Compassion Australia were also excited about the intuitive features in the ShoreTel UC system, which include the ability to answer and easily transfer calls to any location.

With the assistance of Davicom, the ShoreTel system was easily deployed and implemented on-site in Compassion Australia’s workrooms. The entire system was deployed over a weekend, and training took place in the previous week with easy-to-follow instructions for all employees. With on-site support and configuration, the system switchover took less than two weeks.

Cost savings and ease of use from day one

Aside from ease of installation, Compassion Australia saw immediate cost benefits. With the savings, the organization implemented a national private network, linking each of Compassion Australia’s offices internally, so communication among the offices is completely free.

The organization has experienced long-term cost benefits as well, estimating $100,000 savings over three years, compared to their previous system.

Macarthur was impressed with the capabilities of the ShoreTel Converged Conferencing solution. “ShoreTel Conferencing has radically changed how we do work and involve our staff,” he says. “We no longer have to fight for budget allowance, and the ROI on the entire system was less than a year.”

“ShoreTel’s temporary licensing agreements allow for one-off system requirements to be installed for special events. So when we hold events and telethons, which may require new phone configurations for a limited timeframe, the ShoreTel system can deliver. By allowing us to purchase licenses on a temporary basis, the costs of running such an event are greatly reduced,” he adds.


The ShoreTel UC system has met Compassion Australia’s needs for a reliable system that improves call center effectiveness, and provides a modern conferencing system among offices. For Macarthur, ShoreTel also has provided a robust platform for growth: “An IT professional’s job is never done, and the team is already looking forward to future plans and adding functionality,” he says.

Compassion Australia is running a trial program with ShoreWare Mobile Call Manager on all of its BlackBerry mobile devices. Once fully installed, the software will enhance off-site connectivity and voicemail access, and enable ShoreTel’s office anywhere features for workers who need to be on the road or working remotely.


The organization is also looking to integrate ShoreTel’s UC solution with Microsoft Exchange 2007 and Office Communications Server. With this upgrade, staff will be accessible through many types of methods, including voice, video, conferencing, chat, and email.

“Our staff is now a huge fan of ShoreTel, and I have no doubt that Compassion Australia will continue using this system for many years to come,” concludes Macarthur. “ShoreTel provided communications reliability and alleviated budget constraints, and most importantly, they have enabled us to focus on our important core mission – building relationships and improving children’s lives.”


  • Faced with an increasingly unreliable and expensive telephone system, Compassion Australia needed a new solution to enhance its call center effectiveness, offer voice and video conferencing, and free it from cost restraints.


  • ShoreTel UC solution comprising 150 ShorePhone® IP 230 and IP 560 telephones, ShoreWare® Operator and ShoreWare Personal Call Manager, integrated workgroups, voice presence management, calendar integration, and visual voicemail.


  • $100,000 in savings over three years
  • Single system for worldwide collaboration
  • IT timesaving of 20 hours per week
  • Savings of $10,000+ by eliminating third-party services