Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency Case Study
ShoreTel UC helps the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency revitalize service to neighborhoods
Growth necessitates new system
With two aging PBX telephone systems and no centralized directory, the organization’s ability to effectively communicate with its stakeholders and staff was hampered.
Need to unify and streamline communications across 16 locations
SHRA operates with approximately 291 employees and is one of the largest landlords in Sacramento, with 3,500 units of affordable housing. Additionally, the agency administers 11,000 rental assistance vouchers every month.
With staff dispersed across 16 locations and using old phone technology, communications across the organization was cumbersome and productivity sometimes suffered. To improve customer service and internal work processes, the agency decided to implement a modern communications infrastructure and VoIP.
“We had an Avaya PBX system supporting half the locations and a Centrex system for the rest. Consequently, there was no effective way to integrate communications or unify the phone directories. We were looking to improve productivity by putting everybody on the same phone system, save time and money, improve customer service, and find a better solution for getting work accomplished,” says Ann Roland, IT manager for SHRA.
Specifically, agency employees wanted to be able to prioritize voicemail messages, quickly connect with whomever they needed to talk to, and have one cohesive phone directory. The IT department required a system that is easy to maintain without increasing staffing levels, and seamlessly integrates with existing and future applications. After extensive research, consulting with ShoreTel reseller AT&T and using the ShoreTel TCO Tool to build a strong business case, the agency selected a ShoreTel UC system.
“Our network infrastructure is mostly Cisco, and while we considered demonstrations from four leading vendors, only ShoreTel was able to meet all of our requirements for cost, support, simplicity, and integration. In the end, ShoreTel offered the very best total cost of ownership—by almost 10 percent—and had a simple, straightforward architecture. Because ShoreTel is on the CMAS state contract, the procurement process was simple and we did not have to delay the move to our new building. ShoreTel was just the right solution for us,” Roland explains.
ShoreTel helps SHRA build community
The agency’s UC solution comprises ShoreTel IP Phones and a ShoreTel Voice Switch at each of the 16 locations, including the new headquarters, to ensure survivability and redundancy. From a software standpoint, the agency IT team selected ShoreTel Communicator.
“Both ShoreTel and AT&T were able to fully understand and respond to the often unique needs of our organization,” explains Roland. “The whole process went very smoothly and we quickly learned how to take full advantage of the powerful features in our ShoreTel system.”
Saving time, money, and paper
The agency has implemented ShoreTel Emergency Notification Application for dispatching emergency calls. Whenever a 911 call is placed from anywhere in 16 locations of the system, this tool automatically generates an email that is sent to designated agency staff. The notification shows up on the screen in bold red with an audible alert, and shows the origin of the call.
As the public housing authority for the City and County of Sacramento, SHRA expends a lot of time processing new applications and annually certifying current residents for subsidized housing. The process of certifying participants in the public housing program entails numerous questions to be answered, including changes to jobs or income, and is performed for each of the 11,000 HCV voucher holders and 3,500 public housing units.
Rather than collecting all of this information in paper format and then scanning into a database, HCV is piloting a process where all the information is faxed into one public Microsoft Outlook folder and immediately transferred into the County’s FileNet document imaging system. These data can then be accessed through the property management application.
“WE WERE LOOKING TO IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY BY PUTTING EVERYBODY ON THE SAME PHONE SYSTEM, SAVE TIME AND MONEY, IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE, AND FIND A BETTER SOLUTION FOR GETTING WORK ACCOMPLISHED.”
Ann Roland, IT Manager
Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment
“ShoreTel will enable us to have seamless fax integration so we eliminate the paper trail in favor of an electric one. Data is captured into our document management system, which eliminates staff from handling the documents, paper document storage, and we have a manageable method for retaining these types of records now,” explains Roland.
“We see the possibility of using similar types of documents via faxes into a document management application for the redevelopment portion of the agency in the future as well.”
ShoreTel facilitates easier ways to work
From seeing voicemail in Microsoft Outlook to using drag-and-drop functionality to transfer calls via the desktop, ShoreTel facilitates easier ways to work. “Since implementing ShoreTel, we have so many choices for getting the work accomplished. The four-digit dialing and ShoreTel Call Manager features accelerate call management. Staff is able to set their own call rules, and can quickly view all voicemail to better prioritize and return important calls. And we’re able to view history to track conversations and stay organized, rather than having to listen to voicemail in the order they were received. It’s as if we’ve been able to breathe new life into our desktops,” adds Roland.
From a cost savings perspective, Roland estimates a 14 percent reduction in training and installation expenses over a competitor’s system, and maintenance is anticipated to be 32 percent less over the next five years, compared with the previous maintenance plan for the Avaya PBX. Because the ShoreTel system is easy to use and manage, the current helpdesk/desktop support staff handles all moves, adds, and changes. With the ShoreTel implementation, the agency also eliminated more than 100 old lines and circuits, for another batch of long-term savings.
“We’ve really enjoyed the ShoreTel experience. All in all, I believe the agency is now well positioned to continue streamlining the processes that make it easier for helping the community,” Roland concludes.
“WE’VE REALLY ENJOYED THE SHORETEL EXPERIENCE. ALL IN ALL, I BELIEVE THE AGENCY IS NOW WELL POSITIONED TO CONTINUE STREAMLINING THE PROCESSES THAT MAKE IT EASIER FOR HELPING THE COMMUNITY.”
The Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA) needed to unify communications, centralize phone directories, and streamline business operations across 16 locations.
A ShoreTel UC system, including ShoreTel IP Phones, ShoreTel Voice Switches, ShoreTel Converged Conferencing Solution, and ShoreTel Communicator, with ShoreTel Professional and Mobile Call Manager access.
- Fax capabilities expedite agency processes
- 32 percent lower maintenance costs over five years
- Eliminated 100 old lines and circuits
- Reduced travel requirements