Peoplebank Case Study
Peoplebank recruits ShoreTel to improve its national and international business communications
Office move instigates telephony upgrade
A planned office move was the catalyst for Peoplebank to consider telephony replacement as the company didn’t want to relocate its existing digital PABX, which was nearing end-of-life and provided limited telephony functionality.
A UC solution that accommodates international expansion
An office move in Melbourne, and planned expansion into Asia, prompted Peoplebank to look at a new telephony system. “The vision for our Asian expansion was to create a fully integrated business that serves common clients, common candidates, and contractors across the Asia-Pacific region. To do this, implementing a technology solution that would facilitate collaboration across the region was critically important. It needed to be easy to use and lower our telecommunications costs,” says Peter Acheson, chief executive officer at Peoplebank.
“When initially making our technology decision, we considered upgrading our existing digital PABXs to be VoIP-enabled, but that would have been a ‘tacked on’ solution. We really wanted a VoIP system designed from the ground up for unified communications,” says Gerard Hughes, national IT manager at Peoplebank.
The system had to meet Peoplebank’s existing size, and also be easily scalable as the company expanded. With a small in-house IT team, Peoplebank also required a system that was simple to manage and operate, with a straightforward licensing model and no hidden or unexpected add-on costs.
“ShoreTel was the product that best matched our business needs and size. It was scalable; easy to use for the end user; easy to administer; it had modular architecture and a simple design; it had simple licensing and no hidden costs; and it had a good reputation and great technical reviews both here in Australia and in the U.S.,” explains Hughes.
ShoreTel’s UC solution offers scalability and ease of use for users and administrators
Peoplebank completed its first deployment in Melbourne when it moved to new offices and had then planned to upgrade its other Australian offices in a phased approach over the next 18 months.
One of the benefits of ShoreTel’s technology is the ability to centrally design and manage the overall solution. With the international deployment, all the equipment was preconfigured, then shipped to the site for local people to complete what was then a very straightforward implementation. Any finetuning could then be completed remotely.
ShoreTel SG-E1K, SG-T1K, and SG-90 Voice Switches were deployed on-site, with N+1 redundancy provided at the head office in Sydney. Each UC site has its own external SIP trunk connection (in Australia) or data connection (international) to ensure survivability of the phone system in case of a wide area network (WAN) outage.
ShoreTel is also providing instant messaging (IM) and audio and Web conferencing for staff. The main ShoreTel Director server is based in Sydney, with a Distributed Voice Services (DVS) server in Melbourne, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The ShoreTel UC solution incorporates IP230 series IP phones, ShoreTel Communicator, and ShoreTel Web Dialer to allow users to highlight and create clickable links to phone numbers posted on the Web.
Lower and more predictable costs One of the major benefits of the ShoreTel implementation has been reduction of costs. Peoplebank now has predictable monthly costs for telephony, simplifying its budgeting process and allowing funds to be freed up to invest in other technology projects and initiatives.
“WHEN INITIALLY MAKING OUR TECHNOLOGY DECISION, WE CONSIDERED UPGRADING OUR EXISTING DIGITAL PABXS TO BE VOIP-ENABLED, BUT THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A ‘TACKED ON’ SOLUTION. WE REALLY WANTED A VOIP SYSTEM DESIGNED FROM THE GROUND UP FOR UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS.”
Gerard Hughes, National IT Manager
By consolidating on a standard UC platform across the entire business, Peoplebank has significantly cut back on support and maintenance contracts associated with running separate PABXs in each of its offices. And the ongoing operational expenses of the new environment have also been pared back thanks to ShoreTel’s single image UC platform. Peoplebank now manages 90 percent of day-to-day administration in-house.
By moving to voice over IP (VoIP) across the business, Peoplebank is also saving approximately 40 percent per month on its telecommunications bill. “We paid our license fees up front, which gave us our ShoreTel UC system and software included, and there have been no hidden costs or surprises,” comments Hughes.
“We were looking at ways to minimize costs, but with ISDN there were limited opportunities to do so. Our ShoreTel VoIP solution gave us the opportunity to move to SIP trunking, and reduce the cost of external calls, particularly our fixed-to- mobile costs,” explains Hughes.
With all internal Australian calls running over Peoplebank’s WAN, and international calls conducted via VPN over the Internet, these calls are at no additional cost.
“ShoreTel makes it easier for us to communicate across the organization and, in particular, with our team in Asia. Our people are now more comfortable phoning their colleagues internationally, without worrying about the call costs. Also, everyone seems much closer together, being only four digits away,” says Hughes.
“SHORETEL WAS THE PRODUCT THAT BEST MATCHED OUR BUSINESS NEEDS AND SIZE. IT WAS SCALABLE; EASY TO USE FOR THE END USER; EASY TO ADMINISTER; IT HAD MODULAR ARCHITECTURE AND A SIMPLE DESIGN; IT HAD SIMPLE LICENSING AND NO HIDDEN COSTS; AND IT HAD A GOOD REPUTATION AND GREAT TECHNICAL REVIEWS BOTH HERE IN AUSTRALIA AND IN THE U.S.”
- Peoplebank has offices across Australia and in Singapore and Hong Kong. With a disparate and ageing telephony network, the company’s communications systems were costly to maintain and inhibited business growth.
- Peoplebank deployed a ShoreTel UC solution in eight offices, using ShoreTel Voice Switches, IP230 phones and Web Dialer, Professional Communicator, ShoreTel Conferencing, and a ShoreTel Distributed Voice Services (DVS) server.
- 40% reduction in monthly calling costs
- Predictable monthly spend
- Improved international collaboration
- System flexibility and scalability