Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Case Study
Innovative ShoreTel Connect ONSITE helps PSEA leapfrog from an expensive, aging telephony system to the most technologically advanced solution in the industry
PSEA needed to eliminate costly support and unify management
Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) has 14 offices across Pennsylvania that serve 180,000 members and house several hundred employees. PSEA moved to a cloud-based solution, which didn’t work well and was scrapped after five months. Hesitant to try another hosted system right away, the organization decided to implement the groundbreaking new ShoreTel Connect ONSITE.
Replace disparate systems with one cutting-edge telephony solution
When Doug Good, IT support coordinator, joined PSEA, the organization had a separate onpremises phone system in each of its 14 offices. The systems were a combination of Merlin Legend, Merlin Magix, and Avaya Definity. There was no centralized management, and a third-party vendor was needed to manage IT at all of the offices, which drove up support costs. It was time to rethink PSEA’s telephony strategy.
After evaluating three vendors, PSEA requested demonstrations from ShoreTel and another leading phone system vendor. “We gave each vendor a day for the presentation. Compared to the other vendor's solution which seemed like an old system where everything was slapped into place and bolted on, ShoreTel was designed from the ground up to be one unified messaging system. Once we saw what ShoreTel offered, we quickly realized that’s the way we wanted to go,” explains Good.
The organization also spoke to references. A local state agency in the area was using a ShoreTel VoIP solution. Good’s team was able to experience the ShoreTel solution firsthand and was further impressed with its robust functionality, flexibility, and customization options.
PSEA also provides telephony service to tenants that rent space in PSEA-owned buildings. Rather than share its network with another business entity, the company decided to deploy the new ShoreTel Connect CLOUD solution for the tenants. “We still
have Avaya in place and operational for tenants, but with all the maintenance costs, ShoreTel Connect CLOUD makes a lot more sense than deploying a separate on-premises system for seven or eight folks,” says Good.
“CUSTOMER SERVICE HAS ALSO IMPROVED CONSIDERABLY. PREVIOUSLY, WHEN ONE OF PSEA’S ASSOCIATES WAS OUT, THE PHONES FREQUENTLY WEREN’T ANSWERED AND CALLS WENT TO VOICEMAIL. NOW THEY’RE REDIRECTED TO ANOTHER OFFICE SO CUSTOMERS ENJOY PROMPT, PERSONALIZED SERVICE, WHICH IS IMPORTANT IN A MEMBER-BASED ORGANIZATION.
Doug Good, IT Support Coordinator
ShoreTel Connect ONSITE saves PSEA upward of $25,000 annually by eliminating third-party support
The ShoreTel deployment went very smoothly. With a lot of workarounds due to office schedules, IT was able to deploy ShoreTel Connect ONSITE at the rate of one or two offices every two weeks.
Now that it is up and running, the ability to centrally manage the ShoreTel system from a single Web page has saved both time and money. “With ShoreTel it’s easy to make all moves/adds/ deletes/changes right from my desktop. We’re also saving money since we can dial other offices or employees directly with a four-digit extension. Prior to the ShoreTel system, when one office called another, we were incurring long-distance charges. You couldn’t transfer calls between offices,” says Good.
Customer service has also improved considerably. Previously, when one of PSEA’s associates was out, the phones frequently weren’t answered and calls went to voicemail. Now they’re redirected to another office so customers enjoy prompt, personalized service, which is important in a member-based organization.
In addition, staff members can see who’s calling and are better prepared to answer calls. “Having the client software has been great for managing and transferring calls. It has definitely helped productivity. The ability to customize features is another big plus since every office works differently. Some offices use the paging feature. Some offices want calls come in and ring on everybody’s desk and others don’t. There’s a lot of little nuances that we were able to set up individually for each office,” explains Good.
PSEA’s decision to go with cutting-edge ShoreTel Connect technology has been an exceptional experience
To date, ShoreTel Connect ONSITE has been a completely reliable and robust system. One of the highlights for IT is the new ShoreTel Connect ONSITE hardware. Now more analog endpoints and users can reside on one switch, resulting in a streamlined, more cost-effective system. PSEA was also able to reconfigure the previous cloud-based phone system to work with the ShoreTel system.
“When colleagues ask me about our experience, I can’t recommend ShoreTel Connect ONSITE highly enough. It’s like stepping out of a horse and buggy and onto the space shuttle. I wouldn’t change anything. I’m glad we made the decision we did. The support that I’m getting is tremendous. I have absolutely no regrets about going with ShoreTel Connect ONSITE,” concludes Good.
"WHEN COLLEAGUES ASK ME ABOUT OUR EXPERIENCE, I CAN’T RECOMMEND SHORETEL CONNECT ONSITE HIGHLY ENOUGH. IT’S LIKE STEPPING OUT OF A HORSE AND BUGGY AND ONTO THE SPACE SHUTTLE. I WOULDN’T CHANGE ANYTHING. I’M GLAD WE MADE THE DECISION WE DID. THE SUPPORT THAT I’M GETTING IS TREMENDOUS. I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO REGRETS ABOUT GOING WITH SHORETEL CONNECT ONSITE.”
Multiple on-premises systems, lack of centralized management, and high third-party support costs foster the need to rethink PSEA’s telephony strategy and explore less costly, more manageable options.
- ShoreTel VoIP Connect ONSITE with 400-series phones. The organization also just purchased ShoreTel Connect CLOUD, which it will launch this year.
- Robust, modern telephony features
- Single, centralized, managed system
- Excellent service and support
- Innovative leading-edge technology
- Maintenance savings of about $25,000 a year