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Milton Hershey School Case Study

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Case Studies

Milton Hershey School improves collaboration, cuts communications costs, and improves campus safety with ShoreTel VoIP

Time to study VoIP

The existing phone system had outlived its usefulness, lacked the desired features, and was impeding effective communications. The team was challenged to find and justify a cost-effective VoIP solution.

Need for better collaboration and simpler administrative support

“Reliable and effective communications throughout classrooms, student homes, and our campus buildings is critical to everything we do at Milton Hershey School. When it came time to consider a new phone system, we really wanted to do much more to take advantage of better technologies, easier collaboration, and simpler administrative support—all while achieving greater cost efficiencies and savings,” says Matthew Hess, senior network architect for the school.

To support the school’s goals, a progressive Voice over IP (VoIP) business platform was essential. The school enlisted expert help from Comm Solutions, an end-to-end technology provider and ShoreTel partner. “Comm Solutions quickly understood what we were looking for and introduced us to ShoreTel. The folks from Comm Solutions gave us plenty of time, did demos on campus, introduced us to new features, and helped us build an accurate bill of materials and proposal, all of which helped to obtain our senior leadership’s buy-in,” Hess says.

After receiving the okay from Milton Hershey School management to proceed with the VoIP project, the team considered prospective solutions from Siemens, Avaya, Cisco, and ShoreTel. “ShoreTel was the early leader on cost, simplicity, and best fit. During demos and evaluations, the ShoreTel and Comm Solutions team really listened to what we wanted, while the other vendors pressed us with what they thought we should have,” says Chad Kleisath, the VoIP network engineer for Milton Hershey School.

The school selected ShoreTel for many reasons. “The ShoreTel solution provided us with all the features we desired and their technology is also easy to implement and administer. The ShoreTel system, when compared to the others we considered, required less unique components, and the distributed architecture aligned well with our distributed network. The excellent return on investment was icing on the cake,” adds Mike Bernardo, the school’s senior network and telecom manager.

ShoreTel gets an A+ for quality

With a vision for simpler, economical, and effectual communications across its campus, Milton Hershey School selected a ShoreTel UC solution. ShoreTel offers a single scalable platform with intelligent core software and redundant distributed architecture built from the ground up for IP. The result is highest levels of reliability, scalability, and simplicity with the lowest total cost of ownership.

“The auto attendant and auto distribution features are powerful and easy to set up in days on our own. Prior to our ShoreTel solution, we would have to wait weeks or months to implement a central office-based auto attendant or call distribution system. Our end users are extremely happy with the level of response they get from us with our new system,” says Bernardo.

Via instant messaging, audio conferencing, and web conferencing, ShoreTel’s Conferencing Bridge supports thousands of concurrent users and new levels of client capabilities for real-time productivity. It eliminates expensive conferencing services and tightly integrates with major enterprise applications for faster and automated access of directories and other resources. Milton Hershey School expects to use the built-in conferencing services for both internal and external meetings.

Also in the school’s new VoIP platform is ShoreTel Communicator, which simplifies daily operations. Communicator unifies how people work, with versatile tools accessible from computers and mobile devices for advanced call management. Select employees are also using Communicator with Professional Access, which grants additional attributes, including IM, softphone, personalized call handling, and high-quality video.

“WHEN IT CAME TIME TO CONSIDER A NEW PHONE SYSTEM, WE REALLY WANTED TO DO MUCH MORE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF BETTER TECHNOLOGIES, EASIER COLLABORATION, AND SIMPLER ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT—ALL WHILE ACHIEVING GREATER COST EFFICIENCIES AND SAVINGS.”

Matthew Hess, Senior Network Architect
Milton Hershey School

To map to the school’s proactive strategies for safety and security, the ShoreTel Emergency Notification Application was also deployed. ShoreTel Emergency Notification provides additional communications by expanding native emergency number support with automated alerting and built-in messaging to support coordination in response to emergency situations.

The school installed ShoreTel IP Phones at every location and is ready for mobility, too. “We wanted to get everyone on the new phones—I believe we have 1,400 so far. The entire ShoreTel experience has been innovation and simplicity at its best. Next we plan to implement ShoreTel Mobility so our users can access the ShoreTel UC tools on cell phones with ShoreTel Mobility,” Kleisath explains.

ShoreTel Mobility Router pioneers IP telephony, enterprise wireless LANS, carrier cellular networks, and location technology all inside one scalable network appliance, to extend voice and UC functionality to mobile devices. Users can make and receive calls faster and with better call quality from the school’s telephone numbers or from personal mobile numbers. The Mobility Router automatically chooses the best network, such as Wi-Fi or cellular, to optimize cost, connectivity, and smartphone battery life.

The sweet taste of rapid ROI and lower TCO

The ShoreTel solution helped the school realize a faster return on investment as compared to other manufacturer solutions. “The ROI and TCO projections are significant. We’re saving money and improving how we do business at every turn. The ShoreTel equipment was easy to install and the system is also easy to administer. We’re doing adds/moves/changes in minutes instead of weeks. Overall, we’re doing a much better job of supporting the school’s telecom needs,” states Bernardo.

From the user perspective, ShoreTel has made life on campus better. “ShoreTel Communicator takes the work out of looking up people in directories and can integrate with Microsoft Outlook calendars. All employees have reliable phone access. The emergency notification app, auto attendant, and other features of the system have improved school communications,” he concludes.

“THE ROI AND TCO PROJECTIONS ARE SIGNIFICANT. WE’RE SAVING MONEY AND IMPROVING HOW WE DO BUSINESS AT EVERY TURN. THE SHORETEL EQUIPMENT WAS EASY TO INSTALL AND THE SYSTEM IS ALSO EASY TO ADMINISTER.”

CHALLENGE:

  • A legacy Centrex phone system no longer could meet the burgeoning requirements of the school, nor was the quality of service and support from the carrier acceptable.

SOLUTION:

  • ShoreTel provided a lower TCO, faster ROI, and a simpler solution, which included ShoreTel Conferencing Bridge, ShoreTel Mobility, ShoreTel Communicator, ShoreTel Emergency Notification Application, ShoreTel Voice Switches, and ShoreTel IP Phones.

BENEFITS:

  • Faster ROI, lower TCO
  • Time savings with simpler administration
  • Elimination of third-party support costs
  • Cancellation of leased systems