By Eric Egolf — May 9th, 2009

CIO Solutions has been installing, configuring, and maintaining ShoreTel since 2002. In that time we have seen the explosive growth of the VoIP industry but more importantly we have seen the benefits that our customers have derived from the ShoreTel Unified Communications System. Our customer base starts as far south as LA and extends through Ventura, Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo. The business value that seems second nature to us after years of experience with Phone Systems is not always appartent to our potential customers. I decided to write this article to highlight what I feel are ShoreTel’s most compelling value propositions .

Business Value
1.) Instant Business Continuity – Adding(in less than 2 hours) a ShoreTel workgroup for Customer Service Department during the Jesusita Fires. This was part of a Disaster Recovery plan. We built a call flow that would queue up calls(while playing an “emergency service might be delayed” message) for customer service and then distributing the calls to customer service agents… on their cell phones. This way the customer service depart could continue to function while the agents were at a location outside the evacuation zones.
2.) Saving time and money with Remote Management – CIO Solutions solves 90% of system configuration and management questions/problems remotely. With a quick phone call we help with holiday schedules, adding or deleting users, auto attedents and call flow programing.
3.) Flexibility without fear of extra costs– Many of our customers would talk about the difficulty with their old systems when it came to moving, adding and changing aspects of their system. Typically the software was propriety or unintuitive at the very least, and moves adds and changes were not only expensive upfront but also risky since they could result in breaking something that was previously working. With ShoreTel customers with no prior phone system management quickly learn to manage the system and seldom need to bring in outside.
4.) Inhouse management by non technical personnel – Often times business’s in Santa Barbara don’t have the technical staff the manage the phone system inhouse. ShoreTel phones allow them to train non-technical personnel with a simple and intuitive user interface. It’s like what iPhone did for cell phone interfaces.
5.) Outsourced management at an affordable price – CIO Solutions has put together a package that gives customers who don’t want to have internal resources responsible for managing the phones the option of having CIO do it.
6.) Enhanced Productivity – Santa Barbara ShoreTel customers are experiencing enhanced productivity by using the computer tools that come native with the ShoreTel System. This comes in different stories for different organization and just like the Microsoft Office Suite there is always one or two features that ever customer gets productivity gains by using. My favorite is the quick dialer, which allows organizations to throw out the roladex.
7.) Business Intelligence – The native reporting capabilities of ShoreTel gives business the insight into their phone operations to make the right decisions. We have seen numerous customers go to a ShoreTel system and quickly learn through reporting that they have way to many lines or who is making and taking the majority of calls.