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Drake International Case Study

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Drake International Recruits ShoreTel to Deliver Cost Savings

Drake International

ShoreTel Unified Communications the clear winner in delivering regional cost savings and greater resilience for global HR consulting firm

Drake International (Drake) is a global specialist in the field of human resources, performance improvement, consultative management, permanent and temporary staffing and technology solutions. Established in Canada in 1951, Drake operates in nine countries around the world. In New Zealand, Drake has more than 80 staff and operates from nine branch locations including a national head office in Auckland and one site in a client’s premises.

Drake decided to look for a unified communications system because its ageing PBXs were starting to fail. Initially the failures only affected one site, but it was clear that all the old equipment would need replacing sooner or later, so Drake decided the best option was to replace all of its New Zealand telephony systems with a new platform.

ShoreTel the standout solution

Once Drake decided on unified communications, it invited a list of five suppliers to tender. “We did our due diligence and checked the reference sites. All the signs pointed to ShoreTel,” said Maurice O’Brien, IT Manager, Drake International New Zealand.

While its Australian and New Zealand operations are largely independent, Drake New Zealand shares a single network with its Australian operations. Australia was also considering an upgrade of its telephony network at the same time,
which gave both companies the opportunity to collaborate.

“We were simultaneously looking at the same thing, talking to the same range of vendors. ShoreTel’s name came up in both countries. We made the decision to go with ShoreTel and that gave Australia the confidence to do the same,” said O’Brien.

With the opportunity to utilise Voice over IP (VoIP), Drake calculated a return on investment (ROI) within 14 months for ShoreTel’s unified communications solution. In the end the business case came down to cost.

O’Brien says the company’s employees now call branch-to-branch through Drake’s own wide area network — avoiding costly toll calls. However, he says: “Most of the calls our people make are external. Because of the way the ShoreTel solution is set up, we route the calls internally on our network, then call out locally from the nearest hub. That means fewer tolls, so we mainly just pay for local calls and that means huge savings.”

A faultless switchover

Drake’s ShoreTel Unified Communications solution spanned Australia and New Zealand, with a virtualised ShoreTel HQ server installed in the company’s Melbourne office operating as the IP-PBX for both countries, and redundancy provided in New Zealand with ShoreTel Distributed Voice Services (DVS) servers in the Auckland and Mount Wellington offices. ShoreTel SG-E1K and SG-50 Voice Switches connect the IP230 and IP265 handsets for 80 users across Drake’s nine New Zealand sites. Drake’s New Zealand staff are also using ShoreTel Communicator with Operator and Personal Access software licences for full UC functionality from the desktop, including voicemail integration with Microsoft Outlook.

O’Brien says Drake New Zealand used ShoreTel appliances to upgrade the company’s PBXs at each office; “We run two hubs and have a SIP injection point at each site. ShoreTel appliances handle all the traffic to handsets while the DVS servers handle all our rules — such as who has voicemail.”

“THE WAY THE SHORETEL SOLUTION IS SET UP, WE ROUTE THE CALLS INTERNALLY ON OUR NETWORK, THEN CALL OUT LOCALLY FROM THE NEAREST HUB. THAT MEANS FEWER TOLLS, SO WE MAINLY JUST PAY FOR LOCAL CALLS AND THAT MEANS HUGE SAVINGS.”

Maurice O’Brien, IT Manager
Drake International New Zealand

“The ShoreTel DVS servers also back up the HQ server in Australia so New Zealand can operate normally if there’s a problem with the trans-Tasman link or there’s a power failure somewhere. That’s happened here in Auckland and our satellite sites didn’t even realise we were down. Redundancy was one of the key features we were looking for when we purchased ShoreTel, it’s just bad luck that we got to test it early on.”

Drake staff use the ShoreTel Communicator desktop client integrated with Microsoft Outlook to access their voicemail via email. They can set the phone to follow them if they work in another office or at another desk. Staff also use Communicator’s presence feature and Outlook contact lists.

He says: “The switch over was faultless, there were no issues at all. I was present at each site for the roll-out, but I had very little to do.”

The only issues Drake had after the switch were very minor internal ones. The most negative staff reaction to the ShoreTel system, joked O’Brien, was the head scratching over replacing multiple cables with a single one.

Drake’s single network set-up means PCs ‘daisy chain’ off the phone handsets. There’s only one network cable per desk compared with three data points if the company was still using PBXs. O’Brien says there were considerable savings on the cabling alone.

Future plans

Now that the unified communications solution is in place and delivering clear cost benefits for Drake, O’Brien is looking for additional opportunities to leverage the ShoreTel platform. One of the first considerations is to implement ShoreTel’scollaboration solution, to provide Drake New Zealand with audio conferencing, desktop sharing and instant messaging.

The next step for Drake is to add video conferencing for virtual interviews. There is a growing expectation from job applicants that they should be able to participate in an interview remotely, rather than travelling into one of Drake’s offices.

“The problem is that most applicants have poor links at their end. Either they use Skype, which isn’t great, or they’ll expect to handle a video conference on their cellphone. Whatever we do put in place will need to work with thosetechnologies,” said O’Brien.

“There’s a lot more we can do with the ShoreTel technology. We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface.”

“THERE’S A LOT MORE WE CAN DO WITH THE SHORETEL TECHNOLOGY. WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN TO SCRATCH THE SURFACE.”

CHALLENGE:

With an ageing and disparate telephony network recognised as a significant risk across its New Zealand sites, Drake International investigated an upgrade to unified communications to reduce costs and introduce greater reliability across its business.

SOLUTION:

A nine site New Zealand deployment of ShoreTel Unified Communications for 80 users, as part of a larger regional deployment.

BENEFITS:

  • Savings on annual call costs in move to SIP trunking
  • Increased productivity through unified communications
  • Greater levels of redundancy and resiliency across the telephony network
  • Significant cost savings in cabling
  • Future integration opportunities for further cost savings and productivity gains

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