Speos Case Study
ShoreTel helps Belgium document outsourcer ensure continuity, manage remote workers, and simplify system management
Analog system could no longer scale
When Speos’ previous analog telephone system reached its maximum capacity, with only limited enhancements or extensions possible, the Speos management team decided to adopt a communications system that would help improve productivity.
A system that is future-proofed against technological changes
When the company started looking for the ability to manage additional remote workers, it soon became clear that it was time to look beyond legacy telephony and plot a clear migration toward unified communications (UC). Speos also included its subsidiary Secumail in this deployment.
Speos already had a high-speed data connection in place between its two offices in Anderlecht and Merchtem, but at that time was using only the fiber-cable link for data traffic between the sites. This dedicated line, and the ability to run voice traffic over the same connection, were critical in the decision to move to IP telephony. The shift from analog to IP telephony enabled Speos to eliminate a significant proportion of communications costs and to save on intersite calls, as these were now made via a data link. The IP solution also reduced the cost of cabling the new extension to Speos’ headquarters.
“Ultimately, we had reached a point where we had to upgrade our infrastructure, so we took a thorough look at the solutions available on the market, and evaluated a broad range of products, including offerings from large vendors as well as open-source phone systems,” explains Fabrice Vlassembrouck, management information systems manager at Speos. “The new solution had to be feature-rich, user-friendly, cost-effective, and future-proof. In particular, we were looking for the additional functionality afforded by VoIP, including easier call-routing and management for remote workers, and the additional benefits around IVR (interactive voice response) that the previous solution wasn’t able to provide.”
Speos ran a pilot for one month with ShoreTel IP Phones to familiarize staff with the equipment and to experience the real benefits of a ShoreTel IP UC solution.
“We also wanted to be sure that ShoreTel could provide all the capabilities and services that our organization needed,” Vlassembrouck says. “It is extremely important that there is a good synergy between us and our suppliers. After one month,
we were convinced that ShoreTel was the right vendor.”
The ShoreTel UC solution delivers simplified and centralized management
Speos implemented ShoreTel Director, a Web browser-based management interface, for endto- end central management of the ShoreTel UC system and its communications infrastructure. ShoreTel Director has enabled Vlassembrouck and his team to simplify system management from the switch-level, right down to the individual user’s desk. This centralized management capability has made the configuration and deployment of additional IP phones and applications easier, quicker, and more intuitive than before, and with more than 100 IP phones now connected to the UC system, has greatly reduced the support overhead imposed on Speos’ IT team.
Vlassembrouck also found that using a Web interface greatly simplifies system management. The previous solution had required complex and advanced CLI-administered instructions. In addition, some of the system functionalities were managed by the solution supplier, which generated additional management costs.
All employees are trained to work with the new phone system, and thanks to the ShoreTel Communicator that comes standard with each user license, users can change any settings according to their daily work needs. The user-friendly interface enables them to easily activate out-of-office messages and automatic call diversion. Speos has integrated the ShoreTel solution with Microsoft Outlook, which allows employees to set up phone calls as easily as a single mouse click.
“THE NEW SOLUTION HAD TO BE FEATURE-RICH, USER-FRIENDLY, COSTEFFECTIVE, AND FUTUREPROOF.”
Management Information Systems Manager
Reaping the benefits of UC
The overarching benefit that the ShoreTel UC solution has given Speos is improved flexibility and simplified communications system management. The organization has now created flexible working spaces, as calls are routed more effectively, and independent of the employee’s location. Also, Speos increased productivity levels simply by taking a closer look at routing workflows and ensuring that calls are diverted only to the appropriate people.
The integration with Microsoft Outlook is another advantage cited by Vlassembrouck as being particularly valued by Speos. The ability to synchronize the phone system with its Microsoft Outlook contacts, and log and access a full history of personal communications, means that Speos employees barely use the phone in the conventional sense, as the majority of staff manage all their communications through their PCs.
The ShoreTel solution also enables Speos to ensure business continuity. ShoreTel Voice Switches are installed at both office locations, and are configured to back each other up. This eliminates the need for additional hardware for redundancy purposes and helps ensure 99.999 percent availability.
As a result of migrating to a UC system, Speos has significantly saved on costs. “By routing internal calls over the existing fiber connection, we have both decreased communications costs and improved user productivity. The results completely validate our decision to migrate to a UC system, and although it’s still too early to calculate the specific overall cost savings, we’ve already benefitted from the additional functionality it has enabled,” Vlassembrouck explains. “The whole ShoreTel UC system cost Speos roughly the same as an upgrade to the previous incumbent solution. So, the fact that we ultimately chose to go with ShoreTel speaks volumes about the advantages it holds over the competition, and its ability to allow us to harness all the advantages of UC.”
For Speos, the benefits of the ShoreTel platform go beyond IP telephony. The company is planning to integrate other products through ShoreTel’s open APIs in the near future. With the ShoreTel UC architecture in place, Vlassembrouck is confident that Speos is ready for the future.
“BY ROUTING INTERNAL CALLS OVER THE EXISTING FIBER CONNECTION, WE HAVE BOTH DECREASED COMMUNICATIONS COSTS AND IMPROVED USER PRODUCTIVITY.”
- Speos’ analog phone system had reached its full capacity, and could no longer scale to allow the organization to add lines. In addition, it was faced with multi-site DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan) problems. An upgrade was needed.
- A highly scalable and ShoreTel UC solution that included ShoreTel Voice Switches, ShoreTel IP Phones and ShoreTel communicator, ShoreTel Director, and a ShoreTel monitoring system.
- Flexible working spaces due to efficient call routing
- 99.999 percent availability
- Disaster recovery support
- Lower communication costs