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First Guarantee Mortgage Case Study

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Case Studies

First Guarantee Mortgage trades up to a ShoreTel IP solution and scraps subpar VoIP system within 24 hours

A VoIP system that couldn’t meet needs

Looking to install a manageable, stable IP telephony system, and to eliminate the thousands of dollars in monthly T1 line charges, the mortgage company settled on a small VoIP vendor that ultimately could not meet its needs.

Scalable, high-performance VoIP

After installing the new VoIP system, FGM suffered through a seemingly endless series of performance and reliability issues. “It was a fiasco,” says Erik Mash, vice president of information technology for First Guarantee Mortgage. “Instead of reduced administration, we were spending more time managing our phone system.”

Voice quality was a serious issue and the erratic behavior of the network frequently resulted in dropped calls. To get the VoIP system to work at all, the vendor had to cluster several systems together. A number of other issues beyond the dropped calls and voice quality ensued, and in the non-clustered environment, the unified database didn’t work, so not everyone could dial in simultaneously to access their corporate voicemail. Not all employees were included in the dial-by-name directory and voicemail could not be forwarded to all users.

After countless weekends trying to make the system work, the company had no choice but to look for another solution. “The morale of my crew was actually shot,” Mash says.

Less than six months after the VoIP deployment, FGM went back to the drawing board and reviewed solutions from a number of vendors, including 3Com, Nortel, and Siemens. Mash says they were looking for the combination of performance, reliability, scalability, and a reasonable price. In the end, ShoreTel offered the promise of redundancy, scalability, and price, so that was the system the mortgage company chose.

ShoreTel delivers voice quality, reliability, and scalability to handle high call volumes

FGM traded its 6-month-old VoIP solution for a ShoreTel IP telephony system that included 500 ShoreTel IP phones, ShoreTel Voice Switches, and a voicemail server. With a staff of six dedicated to the rollout, Mash was thrilled with the implementation.

“The ease of deployment was incredible,” Mash says. “ShoreTel worked right out of the box. We had the entire phone system up in less than 24 business hours with no major disruption to business.”

The positive results were immediate. Voice quality, reliability, and scalability enabled the ShoreTel system to handle the company’s high call volume. Mash notes that all of the system components are scalable and portable. And since the hardware is designed as separate components, if the T1 voice switch fails, the phone system can still continue to operate without interruption.

ShoreTel’s redundancy features were tested almost immediately when FGM lost a fiber link shortly after the implementation. The PBX functioned as two different phone systems for an hour and the phone system worked flawlessly.

The feature-rich ShoreTel system also offered a number of other important capabilities, not the least of which is its ability to integrate with Microsoft® Outlook®. That integration saves users a substantial amount of time because they don’t have to manage multiple directories. And ShoreTel uses a unified messaging directory that can support remote users connecting to the network.

“IT WAS A FIASCO. INSTEAD OF REDUCED ADMINISTRATION, WE WERE SPENDING MORE TIME MANAGING OUR PHONE SYSTEM... THE MORALE OF MY CREW WAS ACTUALLY SHOT.”

Erik Mash
Vice President of Information Technology
First Guarantee Mortgage

Users can pick up their phone, and move to any seat or go to any location in the company and bring their extension with them, and forward voicemail to email, consolidating all of their messages in a single place.

The ShoreTel system also has an easy-tonavigate Web-based management interface that administrators can access from anywhere. The administrative console offers enough capabilities that the organization is fielding far fewer calls to the ShoreTel support center.

ShoreTel provides far superior performance

Mash says the performance of the ShoreTel system is far superior to both the IP and TDM PBXs it had in place. The system offers a number of features that will enhance productivity and responsiveness to clients, including a capability that makes it possible for an end user to set up different alert levels and rules, so a phone can function almost like a pager.

But perhaps the most obvious benefit is the immediate morale boost in the IT organization following the ShoreTel rollout. At the end of the day, the one benefit Mash can quantify without too much difficulty? “I am going through a lot less aspirin,” concludes Mash.

“THE EASE OF DEPLOYMENT WAS INCREDIBLE. SHORETEL WORKED RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX. WE HAD THE ENTIRE PHONE SYSTEM UP IN LESS THAN 24 BUSINESS HOURS WITH NO MAJOR DISRUPTION TO BUSINESS.”

CHALLENGE:

  • First Guarantee Mortgage (FGM) implemented an unreliable VoIP system with poor voice quality. Six months later, the mortgage broker looked to cut its losses with a new IP telephony system.

SOLUTION:

  • FGM chose the ShoreTel solution based on scalability, performance, features, and price. The system was up and running within 24 business hours, and FGM immediately saw excellent results.

BENEFITS:

  • Scalable and reliable
  • Web-based system management
  • Superior voice quality
  • High availability