by Tim Lohman

Cooma-Monaro Shire Council sheds Telstra links, saves $20,000

Jul 31, 20092 mins
Technology Industry

Cooma-Monaro Shire Council has shaved close to $20,000 a year off its communications costs with a new unified communications (UC) system.

Supplied by ShoreTel, the system has allowed the council to shed $1600 a month in Telstra voice links and make better use of its own high speed fibre-optic data network.

According to Scott Goudie, ITT Manager at the council, in addition to the costs savings, the move to a UC system was also motivated by the cost of replacing an aging PABX.

“Our PABX had been slated for replacement so it was the perfect opportunity as we were coming up to the 10 year mark,” he said. “Service costs were high and replacement costs were prohibitive – it just wasn’t worth maintaining. We only ever did one upgrade which cost us five grand and we were spending five or six grand on maintenance.”

The new UC system, rolled out over the course of a week to 85 employees at its offices, depot, public library and visitor centre, was selected following a end-user trial and exploration of offerings from vendors such as Samsung, Nortel, Mytel and LG, Goudie said.

“They all pretty much produced similar results, but the ShoreTel system really pushed the reliability angle,” he said. “They also have local support and supply…which worked very well for us, as it helped us support a local company and meant we can get on-site support quickly.”

The council has also integrated its Outlook email application into the UC system as part of the deployment, allowing for email notifications of voicemail and a one-click function to allow playback of the messages from within Outlook.

“The ShorTel software, Professional Call Manager, is a single window interface, easy to use and provides a presence capability letting you initiate calls from a list of who is online and not,” he said.

The council expects a ROI of between four and five years and is now exploring video conferencing, and ways to extend the UC system outside the organisation as a means to lower its STD call costs.