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Royal Agricultural Society of England Case Study

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Case Studies

Royal Agricultural Society of England gains a cash cow with ShoreTel UC

Aging system required increasing maintenance

The society’s old digital Philips telephony system was rapidly approaching its end of life, and required an increasing amount of technical expertise for routine tasks, such as moving phone lines and adding users.

Budget-friendly UC solution

Since 1840, the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) has played a leading role in the development of British agriculture and a vibrant rural economy through the uptake of good science, the promotion of best practice, and a coordinated, impartial approach to wide-ranging rural issues. Today its work includes support for business and social welfare in rural communities, education, and a wide portfolio of shows and events.

When the society was planning to relocate, it needed a new, operational telephony system in place. Migration to unified communications (UC) was viewed as a long-term communications strategy at RASE, and Stewart Page, assistant director of ICT, took the opportunity to familiarize himself with the UC market when attending a UC trade show in London.

ShoreTel makes UC a reality for nonprofits

“When we heard about UC, we assumed it was beyond our budget and resource capabilities,” Page explains. “After comparing different product demos, however, the ShoreTel solution proved to be more cost-effective and easy to manage than we first believed, and certainly more so than their competitors.”

The RASE IT team decided the time was right for UC with ShoreTel, and engaged Voyager Networks, a ShoreTel partner, to design and deploy a solution across four locations at RASE’s 250-acre Stoneleigh Park. Because of the rural location, RASE also needed analogue functionality for extensions to remote areas around the site.

“The Voyager team designed the ShoreTel solution with all the components we needed and room to grow,” says Page. “The project management team guided deployment smoothly through to completion within the timeframe planned. We made the transition over one weekend and switching to the new system went smoothly thanks to our team effort with ShoreTel and Voyager Networks.”

Staff improves efficiency with ShoreTel’s ease of use

The 230-user ShoreTel deployment at RASE includes ShoreTel Voice Switches and a Dell server. RASE also deployed ShoreTel IP telephones, and uses the full suite of ShoreTel Call Manager applications—ShoreTel Professional Call Manager, ShoreTel Operator Call Manager, and ShoreTel Personal Call Manager—depending on the communication requirements of each user’s role.

All RASE users attended a two-day training session, and Voyager Networks was on-site during the first few days to ensure smooth migration and speedy troubleshooting. “Our employees love the new system. Despite the varying levels of IT literacy, they have all embraced ShoreTel technology due to its ease of use,” explains Page.

RASE staff are taking full advantage of features such as workgroups, Office Anywhere, and hunt groups to improve efficiency and get more done. Workgroups help them monitor and return missed calls, which is especially valuable in busy periods during exhibitions. Office Anywhere enables staff to assign their extensions to any phone when they’re working remotely, and hunt groups route calls to multiple extensions to help ensure no calls are missed.

“ShoreTel also has reduced the time necessary to deploy a new extension by 75 percent,” adds Page. “It now takes only 10 minutes to install a new line for exhibitors, thereby improving the flexibility of RASE customer services. By eliminating the old system, we’ve taken back a whole equipment room, thus saving on space and cooling costs by having one less air conditioner.”

“AFTER COMPARING DIFFERENT PRODUCT DEMOS, HOWEVER, THE SHORETEL SOLUTION PROVED TO BE MORE COST-EFFECTIVE AND EASY TO MANAGE THAN WE FIRST BELIEVED, AND CERTAINLY MORE SO THAN THEIR COMPETITORS.”

Stewart Page, Assistant Director
Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE)

ROI is realized within a few months

Users of the ShoreTel system are spread out across Stoneleigh Park, where immediate access to buildings is often restricted. Remote administrative management and troubleshooting through a Web browser help save time and reduce costs. Thanks to the system’s single-image architecture and the ease of system management, switchboard operators can solve many issues independently without external support.

The return on investment of the ShoreTel deployment was realized within a few months of migration. The new system also allows RASE to improve management of the RASE sales team’s performance. Sales representatives are given key performance indicators based on the number of calls they handle, and for the first time the organization can measure call volume and set targets in line with business objectives.

The ShoreTel solution represents an excellent platform for further development to meet the society’s long-term strategic plans. Together with Voyager Networks and ShoreTel, RASE is developing a customized CRM solution that will be integrated with the current system. RASE is also planning to deploy the ShoreTel solution at its onsite hotel, which still uses the old system.

“We’re very pleased with the performance of the ShoreTel UC solution,” Page concludes. “It’s proven to be a highly reliable, scalable, and cost-efficient solution that has improved our customer service and employee efficiency. We’re confident that ShoreTel’s powerful combination of product excellence and highly responsive support through Voyager Networks will help us improve communications and member services.”

“WE’RE VERY PLEASED WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF THE SHORETEL UC SOLUTION. IT’S PROVEN TO BE A HIGHLY RELIABLE, SCALABLE, AND COSTEFFICIENT SOLUTION THAT HAS IMPROVED OUR CUSTOMER SERVICE AND EMPLOYEE EFFICIENCY.”

CHALLENGE:

  • Upgrade an aging digital telephony system in time for an office relocation to add flexibility and improve the society’s services.

SOLUTION:

  • A 230-user ShoreTel deployment, including ShoreTel Voice Switches and ShoreTel IP Telephones with ShoreTel Call Manager, workgroups, hunt groups, Softphone, and Office Anywhere.

BENEFITS:

  • Ease of deployment and use
  • Centralized management
  • Improved call handling
  • Reduced time-to-deployment by 75%