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Point Loma Nazarene University Case Study

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ShoreTel UC replaces a major university’s Cisco system and is on track to save $533,000 over five years

Point Loma Nazarene University

Highly resilient, flexible VoIP solution

Point Loma Nazarene University was adamant about implementing a highly resilient, flexible Voice over IP solution that would ensure reliable business and personalized interactions.

A VoIP system that was independent from the network infrastructure

The IT department at PLNU was operating a legacy Nortel PBX system with a limited feature set. About six years ago, the IT department implemented VoIP based on Cisco Call Manager (CUCM), which was compatible with the existing Cisco network infrastructure. While 20 percent of the campus used CUCM, the remaining 80 percent was still using Nortel Option 81. After maintaining the Cisco phone environment for six years, the VoIP equipment needed an upgrade. After evaluating replacement costs, and ongoing maintenance expenses, the IT department at PLNU decided to re-examine its VoIP strategy.

“Moving forward, we wanted to select a VoIP system that was independent from the network infrastructure. This would ensure that the system didn’t drive what vendor we might need for a network infrastructure upgrade. Additionally, we wanted a phone platform that could be managed without a high-level systems engineer. With limited staffing maintenance budget, we needed a solution that would be easy and inexpensive going forward,” says Corey Fling, director of network services and telecom at PLNU.

The top contenders for a new enterprise solution were incumbent Cisco, Avaya, and ShoreTel. The university selected ShoreTel. “ShoreTel was the obvious choice because it met our needs for separating VoIP from network infrastructure, providing built-in redundancy, simplifying administration, and lowering initial and ongoing cost,” Fling continues.

Integration is key to ShoreTel’s virtualized UC solution

PLNU chose a ShoreTel Unified Communi¬cations (UC) Solution that includes ShoreTel Communicator, ShoreTel e911 Notification Application, ShoreTel Enhanced Paging, 1,100 ShoreTel IP Phones, and the licensing and switching necessary to support the main campus and all remote locations.

With a suite of feature-rich collaboration tools available from the desktop, ShoreTel Communicator facilitates flexible deployment for mobility and web-based options, fully integrated access to online directories, and tight integration with business applications. ShoreTel Communicator with Operator Access enables rapid call routing, flagging for important callers, and easy customization for multitasking.

The PLNU IT department wanted to ensure comprehensive security communications across campus. As part of this strategy, the ShoreTel e911 Notification Application provides PLNU with real-time internal notification and automated alerting of all 911 calls placed anywhere on campus. The ShoreTel Enhanced Paging provides a distributed intra-site paging alternative that reduces WAN traffic and automatic call throttling for large page batching and emergency modes. Once the deployment is complete, PLNU will have installed 1,100 ShoreTel IP Phones and 300 analog telephones through ShoreTel Voice Switches.

To deploy using a phased approach, the team tied together the Nortel Meridian Option 81 with two primary rate interface (PRI) circuits—copper line pairs that facilitate traditional phone lines to carry voice, data, and video traffic. Those PRI lines were then tied to a Cisco 2800 Series router. To make the integration from Nortel through the Cisco outer, ShoreTel provided SIP trunking through to a pair of ShoreTel Voice Switches. This innovative coordination provides seamless integration without the additional cost of expensive licensing on the Nortel switch for Q Signaling, which enables signaling among different voice communications platforms and nodes in a multiuser environment.

“SHORETEL WAS THE OBVIOUS CHOICE BECAUSE IT MET OUR NEEDS FOR SEPARATING VOIP FROM NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE, PROVIDING BUILT-IN REDUNDANCY, SIMPLIFYING ADMINISTRATION, AND LOWERING INITIAL AND NGOING COST.”

Corey Fling
Director of Network Services and Telecom
Point Loma Nazarene University

Virtualizing ShoreTel for improved performance

One of the reasons PLNU chose ShoreTel was the ease and simplicity of virtualizing the platform. “The benefit ShoreTel brought was the ability to completely virtualize the PBX management servers and without investing in server hardware. This resulted in less hardware, less maintenance, and lower costs,” explains Fling.

Now that PLNU has virtualized its ShoreTel what???, the benefits have been outstanding. “By having a PBX that supports a virtualized environment and a standard Windows server installation, we were able to reduce the time that IT invested in managing the phone system. I didn’t want to hire an additional part-time systems administrator simply to manage the Windows services for my VoIP environment,” says Fling.

Best-in-class system saves over half a million dollars

Since implementing the ShoreTel solution, PLNU has matriculated to greater phone usability across its campuses, along with significant savings in administrative, maintenance, and ongoing costs. Fling conducted a return-on-investment analysis to size up the benefits, citing cost savings on least cost call routing, canceling leased systems, savings on service calls to third-party vendors, and cost avoidance, to name a few.

Some examples of how PLNU is saving by choosing ShoreTel: $100,000 on Cisco UCM licensing; $75,000 on a one-time upgrade of VoIP infrastructure; $50,000 on no longer needing to hire a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) as originally estimated if PLNU kept its original VoIP vendor; $40,000 on Workgroup software; and $10,000 for training costs.

“Over five years, we have estimated our total savings to be $533,000, not including all the day-to-day efficiencies and peace of mind we’ve gained,” Fling mentions.

Future plans include implementing the ShoreTel Conference Bridge and extending mobility capabilities. “Compared to other systems we had considered, the ShoreTel solution has many advanced features and add-ons that are already built into the base system. That means we don’t have to purchase additional hardware or software licensing, so we’ll continue to see what enhancements make sense to implement in our environment over time,” he adds.

“COMPARED TO OTHER SYSTEMS WE HAD CONSIDERED, THE SHORETEL SOLUTION HAS MANY ADVANCED FEATURES AND ADDONS THAT ARE ALREADY BUILT INTO THE BASE SYSTEM. THAT MEANS WE DON’T HAVE TO PURCHASE ADDITIONAL HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE LICENSING, SO WE’LL CONTINUE TO SEE WHAT ENHANCEMENTS MAKE SENSE TO IMPLEMENT IN OUR ENVIRONMENT OVER TIME.”

“The benefits to end users include better mobility features, flexibility in voice routing and presence options. My staff doesn’t have to deal with complex VoIP issues. And the university has gained a solution with built-in redundancy, pervasively simplified communications, increased service satisfaction, better reporting capabilities, and reduced annual and long-term spending. ShoreTel ensures that technology isn’t a barrier to the

CHALLENGE:

  • Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) needed to update its VoIP solution to alleviate growing complexity and ensure future flexibility and simpler administration.

SOLUTION:

  • Point Loma Nazarene University deployed a ShoreTel UC Solution to separate VoIP from the network infrastructure, build resiliency, simplify administration, and save $533,000 in a five year period.

BENEFITS:

  • $533,000 is savings over five years
  • Eliminated the need for telephony expert
  • Improved workgroup capabilities
  • More efficient management