Uptime Technologies Case Study
Uptime technologies takes telephony management to the next level by implementing a ShoreTel unified communications system
Support costs high, parts scarce
The old telephone system was based on an aging and inflexible Alcatel Omni PCX 4400 and Belgacom Forum 700, but the different offices within Uptime each had different phone systems, making it difficult and costly to find support or order the right hardware.
Flexibility and advanced functionality
Facing a fast-growing customer base, Henk Van’t Net, chief executive officer of Uptime, was looking at ways to quickly and easily scale communications to ensure quality service and maintenance. Uptime staff was spending precious time maintaining an old system, affecting their productivity and ultimately incoming revenue. Flexibility and functionality were Uptime’s main priorities in a new system, but the ability to integrate the system with existing applications such as the Microsoft CRM and Microsoft Exchange email systems was also imperative, as overhauling the entire IT infrastructure would be too costly.
“Our business depends on us being at the cutting edge of IT,” says Van’t Net. “Without a communications system that reflects today’s advanced technology, we can’t do our jobs properly and our customers don’t receive the best service possible.”
When it came time to choosing a solution, Uptime was looking for a cost-effective VoIP system that is scalable and built for future growth. The company compared different VoIP vendors in Belgium, but ShoreTel was the only one to provide a demo kit before full installation. Uptime and ShoreTel conducted a small-scale rollout using the demo kit to familiarize staff with the equipment and to let them experience the real benefits of a ShoreTel UC solution. ShoreTel also completed a Network Readiness Assessment, which uses active application traffic to monitor the live network and assess how it will react when IP telephony is introduced.
“We wanted to be sure that ShoreTel could provide all the capabilities and services that our organization needed,” explains Van’t Net. “The Network Readiness test was impressive as it determined whether our existing network could handle a leading-edge system. After the test run, we knew ShoreTel was the right vendor for our business.”
The ShoreTel system ensures that Uptime has no downtime
Uptime Technologies selected ShoreTel’s UC system because of its flexibility and reliability. The company is taking advantage of other features in the ShoreTel product range, such as the Office Anywhere feature in ShoreTel Communicator, which allows the sales staff to connect to the office through any phone device from any location, and Auto-Attendant, which filters calls to the right people and eliminates the bottleneck of one person managing incoming calls. The creation of workgroups enables Uptime to manage call queues and roll workgroups over to ensure calls are not missed, greatly improving productivity and service.
With a team of four, ShoreTel deployed its UC system across the company. The system was installed separately in each of the six office buildings and two call centers, which required a total of 350 ShoreTel IP Phones.
The ShoreTel UC system integrated seamlessly with the existing Microsoft Exchange Server, minimizing the need for a rip-and-replace on the core system, and letting employees set up phone calls as easily as a single mouse click. Once the engineers were up to speed as well, online support was easily accessible at any time.
“THE NETWORK READINESS TEST WAS IMPRESSIVE AS IT DETERMINED WHETHER OUR EXISTING NETWORK COULD HANDLE A LEADINGEDGE SYSTEM. AFTER THE TEST RUN, WE KNEW SHORETEL WAS THE RIGHT VENDOR FOR OUR BUSINESS.”
Henk Van’t Net, Chief Executive Officer
“The deployment was very thorough—from the readiness checks, which made sure we’d have zero issues when deployed, to the office-by-office setup,” says Joeri Liekens, technical engineer at Uptime. “We were able to leave our old system in place, which meant we had no downtime.”
In addition, ShoreTel was on hand throughout the initial deployment to provide detailed tutorial sessions with 15 staff members, taking everyone through the basics of the new phone system and physically trying out the different features. All employees were able to change any settings, such as routing calls when in or out of the office or reassigning extensions according to daily work needs.
ShoreTel Makes Life Easier Every Day
Since the official install of the ShoreTel UC system, Uptime has realized major benefits, which have improved its business processes on many levels.
The wait-traffic of incoming calls from customers to the sales team virtually disappeared with ShoreTel’s Auto-Attendant feature, as it made it much easier for everyone to manage incoming calls. “The call flow is now faster than ever before,” says Van’t Net. “The ShoreTel system has reduced call costs and support by 27 percent.”
The Office Anywhere capability allows the sales staff to connect to the office through any phone device at any location and connect to their Microsoft Outlook calendars to manage appointments or access voicemail. “We’ve strengthened our competitive advantage with ShoreTel,” says Van’t Net. “Our teams have the means now to make more calls and therefore increase our overall income.”
Since the installation, Uptime has grown by 37 percent. Uptime was able to respond quickly to that growth by easily installing more phones and caller IDs, without having any downtime in customer service. In addition, being able to monitor the network in-house, or through ShoreTel’s support services, has relieved an IT management burden for Uptime.
In the future, Uptime plans to start testing Microsoft OCS, IBM Lotus Notes, and IBM Lotus Same Time client integrations with the ShoreTel system. Due to its success with ShoreTel, Uptime is now offering the ShoreTel UC system to its customers.
“The demand for a quality VoIP solution was increasing among our customers,” Van’t Net concludes. “Now that we’re using ShoreTel inhouse, we can provide it to our customers and vouch for the difference it’s made in our business.”
“THE CALL FLOW IS NOW FASTER THAN EVER BEFORE. THE SHORETEL SYSTEM HAS REDUCED CALL COSTS AND SUPPORT BY 27 PERCENT.”
As the company grew in size and resources, Uptime needed a modern, reliable communications system that scales quickly to cope with rapid growth, simplifies system management, and offers users flexible features that are easy to learn.
ShoreTel’s Unified Communications (UC) system offers employees easy-to-use features such as ShoreTel IP Phones, ShoreTel Communicator, Office Anywhere, Auto-Attendant, and Converged Conferencing.
- Streamlined call management
- Central system management
- Integration with existing applications
- Scalable to meet future growth