Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough Case Study
Law firm uses ShoreTel’s UC System to integrate with its business applications and increase productivity
The verdict: Firm needs a system upgrade
Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough is a full-service law firm with more than 85 lawyers. It was using a Harris PBX-based telephone system and learned that Harris was no longer going to support the system.
Making a case for an IP Unified Communications system
Although the firm learned that Harris was no longer going to support the specific system it was using, David Clark, Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough’s IT director, had been planning for Voice over IP (VoIP) and Unified Communications (UC) anyway, and was looking at new systems for the future.
That Harris was no longer going to support them with their phone system only meant the timeline would move up and the law firm could begin capitalizing on the benefits of IP telephony sooner.
“I had specified that I wanted VoIP because we needed a workstation client and the stability you get with VoIP,” says Clark. “We’d already prepared the company for IP telephony with Power over Ethernet switches a year before this, so we were ready with the infrastructure. Now it was just a matter of choosing the phone system.”
Clark and his colleagues looked at systems from Avaya, Cisco, InterTel, Mitel, Nortel, and ShoreTel®. Cisco was eliminated due to its high cost, while Avaya was removed from the competition because too much of the solution was based on software, and some of the software was from a third-party vendor. InterTel’s solution was not mature enough at the time, and Mitel and Nortel did not offer all the features the organization needed.
Clark liked that ShoreTel’s IP Unified Communications system had been built from the ground up, and that it met all of the law firm’s top criteria: reliability, scalability, ease of use and management, and robust functionality, such as the ability to store notes with calls for future reference.
“There are a lot of things about the ShoreTel system that impressed us, especially ShoreWare® Personal Call Manager,” says Clark. “We’ve also integrated ShoreTel with our timekeeping and billing systems so we can accurately represent phone charges with the right client records.”
ShoreTel UC is the right choice for enhanced productivity
ShoreTel UC systems are easy to use, simple to manage, flexible, and reliable. With the ShoreTel system in place, integrated directly with Microsoft® Outlook, all Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough employees are now on the same phone and voicemail system, using four-digit dialing to reach co-workers, dialing co-workers by name, and enjoying contact screen pop and calendar integration.
ShoreWare Personal Call Manager enables employees to manage all of their communications, such as voicemail, email, and faxes, centrally on their desktop.
Personal Call Manager’s Find Me capability allows the law firm employees to program their phones so that calls ring on their cell phones or another phone (home, hotel, etc.) when they are out of the office.
In addition, before transferring the caller any further, the call-transfer screen displays who is available and who is not, avoiding the possibility of sending callers to an extension that is busy. “The receptionist uses a wireless headset and manages all her calls from her computer,” explains Clark. “She doesn’t even have to touch the phone with the ShoreTel system. ShoreTel has simplified everything for her.”
It is also easier for the receptionist and attorneys to initiate their own conference calls, which is a big improvement over the previous solution. “Setting up a conference call is no longer difficult like it used to be,” says Clark. “It wasn’t unusual for mistakes to be made while setting up a call and a user would have to start all over if they reached a participant’s voicemail.”
“I HAD SPECIFIED THAT I WANTED VOIP BECAUSE WE NEEDED A WORKSTATION CLIENT AND THE STABILITY YOU GET WITH VOIP. NOW IT WAS JUST A MATTER OF CHOOSING THE PHONE SYSTEM”
David Clark, IT Director
Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough
ShoreTel’s Workgroup capability enables the law firm to dedicate a specific tele-phone number to a workgroup. The organization currently has three workgroups set up: one for information systems, one for word processing, and one for facilities management. Calls into each workgroup are routed to the next available agent. Productivity is enhanced, and callers get more consistent and thorough care.
Finally, ShoreTel’s hunt groups capability ensures all calls are answered by a live person rather than voicemail. There is also a hunt group set up for fax machines, which ensures a fax machine always picks up and that faxes waiting to be sent always successfully go through, which is crucial in an attorney’s office.
Integrated tools for better business
Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough has integrated the ShoreTel system with its long distance billing system and its timekeeping system. This means that if an attorney makes a long-distance call on behalf of a client, the attorney can enter the client’s account number and the charges—both the toll charges and the time spent by the attorney—are reflected in the invoice for the client.
Another tool the law firm’s attorneys find valuable is the history recording feature within the Personal Call Manager screen pop. It’s easy to add a note to a stored call so appropriate references are documented. In the legal industry, this recordkeeping capability is priceless.
“In Personal Call Manager, you can right-click on a call and insert a note, which can be just a note about a conversation topic or you can actually type in specific comments,” says Clark. “Our attorneys love this feature about the ShoreTel system. It’s the most important aspect of the phone system.”
Distributed architecture for reliability
A key feature of the ShoreTel UC system is its distributed architecture design, which makes it ideal for multi-site organizations that span multiple locations, like Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough. ShoreTel’s Call Control software is distributed to every voice switch, which eliminates any single point of failure.
“I love the ShoreTel system—it’s scalable and solid enough that any organization can use it,” concludes Clark. “Attorneys can work from home and the features go with them, which is a big benefit since we have some attorneys who live more than a hundred miles from an office. The history-keeping capability is huge, and it’s unique to ShoreTel. We love it. We can use the history notes to help us prepare reports, and ShoreTel helps us with our billing and timekeeping records. You can’t ask for much more out of a communications system.”
“THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS ABOUT THE SHORETEL SYSTEM THAT IMPRESSED US, ESPECIALLY SHOREWARE® PERSONAL CALL MANAGER. WE’VE ALSO INTEGRATED SHORETEL WITH OUR TIMEKEEPING AND BILLING SYSTEMS SO WE CAN ACCURATELY REPRESENT PHONE CHARGES WITH THE RIGHT CLIENT RECORDS.”
Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough’s PBX-based phone system was no longer being supported by its vendor, but the law firm was considering a new Unified Communications solution anyway to capitalize on the cost savings, reliability, ease of management, and robust features.
ShoreTel provided the firm with a comprehensive Pure IP Unified Communications (UC) solution, including ShoreGear voice switches and ShorePhone IP telephones.
- Easy integration with business systems
- Business continuity
- Ad hoc conference calling
- Audio annotations to calls