Brown and Caldwell Case Study
Seamless integration, innovative features, and low maintenance made ShoreTel the best choice for Brown and Caldwell.
Conferencing scalability beyond WebEx capacity was key
Brown and Caldwell is one of the largest engineering firms focused on the U.S. environmental market. With 1,500 employees and 46 offices, the organization needed video collaboration that was highly scalable and required little ongoing support.
Building a better communication solution based on extensive criteria
After reviewing Microsoft Lync, Mitel, and Cisco solutions, ShoreTel was the only company that met Brown and Caldwell’s, and its partner CDW’s, extensive criteria.
Although Microsoft Lync might have seemed like a logical choice, since Brown and Caldwell already owned the basic licensing, implementing a Microsoft voice solution presented a substantial undertaking. The amount of equipment that would be necessary, and the level of support resources needed to maintain the solution, came with a big price tag and a large long-term financial commitment.
The Brown and Caldwell team set up an evaluation tool with 60 items that it felt covered its core requirements. These were broken into five key areas: functional, support and in-house management, interface with existing network applications, vendor attributes, and cost. Then the team used the tool to interview and compare the five top vendors that offered the solutions the company needed. ShoreTel came out on top.
As a virtual company, with projects being generated across offices, Brown and Caldwell considered ShoreTel conferencing one of the central features of the system. By overcoming the WebEx 200 user limitation, now all 1500 employees have full access to the conference bridge, and it is used extensively from all types of endpoints, including mobile or hardlines.
ShoreTel delivers SA-400 conferencing with an ROI of more than $300,000 in OPEX alone
Another aspect that differentiated ShoreTel from its competitors was the ability to cost-effectively support a small site. The compact footprint and low power consumption of ShoreGear appliances made it easy to execute a site turn-up.
Other technical factors resulted in significant cost savings. IT used ShoreTel to install a redundant XO SIP service with two circuits, split between the Walnut Creek and Phoenix datacenters that connected to the core – and these two circuits support all of their external calls. “Prior to the ShoreTel deployment, we had one or two PRI circuits in each of the offices. This reduction alone saved us well over $100,000 per year in carrier charges. In addition, we had a $30,000+ monthly spend with WebEx and Verizon Conferencing that dissolved when we implemented the ST conferencing solution,” says Matt Derrigo, CIO of Brown and Caldwell.
ShoreTel direct implementation services were employed for the initial installation and the first two branch offices. After completing more than 30% of the site, Brown and Caldwell procured the application needed to run pre-installation assessments and have its own system online. These services enabled them to smoothly roll out the balance of the enterprise deployment using ShoreTel best practices. The company also used ShoreTel Professional services to write a custom AD integration application to Sync AD with the ShoreTel directory.
Plug-and-play makes IT happy. Call clarity and four-digit dial please users
According to Brown and Caldwell IT, the ShoreTel system required fewer resources for maintenance and support than any of the other vendors. Only one person is assigned to support and maintain users. “It’s so simple for us to deploy – the phones just plug right into the enterprise solution. It’s really straightforward,” comments Derrigo.
“WORKGROUPS HAVE BEEN INFINITELY HELPFUL WITH ROUTING TRAFFIC. IN THE PAST, IT WAS VERY RARE THAT A CUSTOMER WOULD CALL IN AND IMMEDIATELY GET THE PERSON THEY NEEDED TO SPEAK TO.”
Michael Kernochan, IT Coordinator
Aside from easy-to-use conferencing, employees now can dial two people together, connect them with a four-digit dial, and experience excellent audio quality. “The voice quality came across with such clarity, you’d think that the person was in your office, but it was actually somebody’s voice coming through a speakerphone,” says Derrigo. “And the microphone capability is also really quite remarkable.”
Future plans include Cloud for disaster recovery and business continuity
As Brown and Caldwell expand and scale, and when it can integrate its premise solution with the Cloud, IT plans to look for opportunities to employ a hybrid approach until it is comfortable with a full transition. “My philosophy is that as long as we don’t sacrifice our integration, the Cloud is certainly the place for us in the future. We would have to look at and evaluate what features and functionality would be lost by moving to a Cloud, and if it’s none, we’ve got our answer,” remarks Derrigo.
Disaster recovery and business continuity are among other reasons Brown and Caldwell is considering some form of Cloud. “Business continuity is very important to us. When we architected our solution, we needed to feel very confident that when somebody picked up that phone, they got a dial tone, and it didn’t matter if we had a network outage,” says Derrigo. “They could survive, continue to dial out if there was an emergency, and get connected.”
“ShoreTel is a good fit for us. We’ve been incredibly pleased with its scalability at our size, and we’re feeling confident that ShoreTel can continue to grow with us as we grow our own business,” remarks Derrigo.
“Our relationship with our channel partner CDW has always been a very good one. They always offer us a tremendous amount of additional support. For example, they were able to help us navigate the waters and get our network finetuned to work with AT&T, our network provider, and configure our internal network solution,” says Derrigo. “They were also key in our selection and negotiations with our trunk provider Axel Communications. We expect to continue our relationship for a long time to come.”
“IN MY CAREER SO FAR, THE SHORETEL PHONE SYSTEM IS EASILY THE BEST I’VE SEEN. ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT OF MOVES, ADDS, AND CHANGES IS A BREEZE – ALL POSSIBLE FROM A SINGLE GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE.”
For a large, innovative engineering firm, the ability to collaborate and connect is directly related to its business success. Without frequent collaboration with stakeholders across the country, productivity suffers and costs escalate.
Despite previously investing in Microsoft products, Brown and Caldwell deployed the ShoreTel SA-400 server appliance and more than 2,000 ShoreTel IP 230 phones. ShoreTel was able to seamlessly integrate and replace Microsoft Office Communicator.
- Seamless integration with existing infrastructure
- Lower CAPEX, OPEX, and TCO due to fewer equipment and support needs
- Highly scalable video conferencing solution
- ROI of more than $300,000 annually
- Comprehensive suite of UC features