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Oral Roberts University Case Study

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Oral Roberts University gives ShoreTel VoIP top honors for its user-friendly interface, functionality, and ease of administration

Oral Roberts University

A university known for excellence graduates to ShoreTel

Founded to educate the whole person, mind, body, and spirit, Oral Roberts University (ORU) promises a thorough education in the context of a vibrant Christ-centered community.

The university offers more than 65 undergraduate majors, as well as 14 master’s-level programs and two doctoral degrees. Faculty members, who are educated at the nation’s top graduate schools, serve as academic, professional, and spiritual mentors to students. As a leading edge and innovative institution, ORU felt ShoreTel was most aligned with its mission.

The mission was to deploy a VoIP system that anyone, at any age, could easily navigate and use

Unlike an enterprise, ORU runs a city within a city, making communications a critical component of its operation. With on-campus housing, restaurants, enrollment transactions, and a bookstore, the need to communicate among different parties and entities is extremely critical.

Complicating matters further, ORU’s IT team is also responsible for the telephony needs of the university’s three CityPlex Towers, which comprise a 60-, 30-, and 20-story building housing mostly businesses. Both the campus and real estate tenants were relying on an older, non-IP phone system. The quality of service was minimal and user expectations were not being met. CIO Michael Mathews and his predecessors needed to upgrade to a solution that was current, cutting edge, and high quality.

Powerful UC functionality and ease of use put ShoreTel at the top of its class

The team evaluated Cisco, Avaya, Toshiba, and ShoreTel IP phones, and it became clear that the ShoreTel phone was much more intuitive to end users. “It all comes down to simplicity. ShoreTel is not a superior product just because I think so. It’s a fact. I’ve used a Cisco phone at other workplaces, and it’s an overly complicated phone system. ShoreTel has complex functionality, but by default it’s a simplistic system that allows people to easily communicate with each other,” says Mathews.

Users are particularly impressed with the ability to make and receive calls from their PCs, as well as on the phone itself, the address book, easy lookup, and the voicemail functionality. ShoreTel phones also enhance customer service. Besides faculty, students, and staff, ORU frequently has visitors on campus who check in at the concierge desk and have ShoreTel phones available to contact their host or get directions.

“Visitors pick up the phone and the address book is right there for them so they’re able to be accommodated right away. The address book is organized by first name. Believe it or not, a lot of phone systems are set up by last name and it’s hard to change. Since we have 85 countries represented, imagine trying to spell somebody’s last name. With listings on a first-name basis, it makes it extremely easy to scroll down and see the phone number,” comments Mathews.

ShoreTel phones are also available for students to use in the common areas of the dormitory, as well as for those in work-study programs. “We have outreach mission departments and the housing department where students are using the ShoreTel system. In total, there are 50 other departments with over 10 students in each, so you have more than 500 students using the ShoreTel system on a regular basis,“ says student and IT intern Alejandro Isabel Cevalios.

“THE MERE FACT THAT SHORETEL OPERATES FLAWLESSLY AND SO INTUITIVELY SAVES THIS CIO AT LEAST 500 WORKING HOURS A YEAR. THAT’S TIME I CAN INVEST IN INNOVATIVE PROJECTS, NOT TRYING TO EXPLAIN HOW A PHONE WORKS.”

Michael Mathews, CIO
Oral Roberts University

With a menu-driven format, training new users how to use the phone is a 15-minute session. “If another CIO would call me and say, ‘Mike, what do you recommend?’ I’d say, ‘We’re very happy with ShoreTel. Go through the process, but I believe you’ll come to the same conclusion we did.’ All ages love it. Everything about ShoreTel is uncomplicated and that’s what makes your life as a CIO easier,” remarks Mathews.

ShoreTel quality enables the CIO to focus on innovation rather than maintaining the status quo

Since the ShoreTel deployment, communications on campus have drastically improved. “The quality is as good as any phone system we’ve ever had. When I say quality, it’s not just the voice quality; it’s the quality of how the phone interacts with our instant messaging system and allows multiple interactions with the computer, headsets, and other devices,” says Mathews. “The mere fact that ShoreTel operates flawlessly and so intuitively saves this CIO at least 500 working hours a year. That’s time I can invest in innovative projects, not trying to explain how a phone works.”

“IT ALL COMES DOWN TO SIMPLICITY. SHORETEL IS NOT A SUPERIOR PRODUCT JUST BECAUSE I THINK SO. IT’S A FACT. I’VE USED A CISCO PHONE AT OTHER WORKPLACES AND IT’S AN OVERLY COMPLICATED PHONE SYSTEM. SHORETEL HAS COMPLEX FUNCTIONALITY, BUT BY DEFAULT IT’S A SIMPLISTIC SYSTEM THAT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO EASILY COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER.”

 

CHALLENGE:

  • With 3,400 students and 700 faculty/staff members, representing 85 countries, Oral Roberts University was in the market for a high-quality VoIP solution intuitive to all users.

SOLUTION:

  • Leading-edge, technologically savvy Oral Roberts University deployed ShoreTel IP phones because they were much more user-friendly and provided all of the features that users needed most.

BENEFITS:

  • Quickest learning curve
  • Ideal feature set
  • Leading edge, superior audio quality
  • Easy-to-use conference bridge
  • High user satisfaction