Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Go Live - ShoreTel Lessons Learned

So our office in Denver is up and running.   It was a pretty big project for us and I had 3 of my staff as well as myself on site for the first week to ease the transition. The ShoreTel system worked great.  The users love the PC Software (especially the operator) and the voice quality is fine.  The entire office is wired for 1GB POE. Most offices only have 1 live data connection which is shared between the phone and the PC.  Here are a few lessons learned from the ShoreTel perspective:

  • The HP Switch worked great as a backbone switch for this office. I'll be looking to drop the rest of my Cisco switching gear in favor of HP.
  • We went with the new 230G phones (which are black and white) and they worked fine.  I wanted gig at the phone so I'd have gig at the PC and that was a smart decision.
  • Don't concentrate on customizing buttons on the phone as much as customizing the Call Manager software that each user will use.  They will get more mileage out of the software client.
  • We used a Bogen speaker system and amp for overhead paging.  Still having a few issues with that (undoubtedly a wiring issue) but I think it will work well.
  • Music on hold turned out to be a little more expensive then I first thought. They said you could use any old iPod which is technically correct, but the low end ones (shuffle) can't charge and play at the same time. It ended up being cheaper to buy a IAPMp3 from http://ilaudio.com/digital-players.htm. It's about the same cost as an iPod would have been and it comes with 10 free styles of music so there's no copyright issues.  It's simple to set up and highly recommended.
  • We had to deal with 10 digit dialing in Denver.  All calls outside the area code (not outside the local calling area) had to be preceded by a 1.  I bet there's a work around for this be we were unable to find one.
  • The IP 8000 conference phone works great. It's harder to set up in ShoreTel because it's a SIP phone, but it works just fine.
  • Make sure to explain the difference between parking and holding to your users. They are easily confused about these two features because they are so similar.
  • ShoreTel Director comes with a tool to troubleshoot trunks which lets you monitor all calls and digits dialed. This tool was immensely useful and is called the Trunk Test Tool. Oh how I wish we had this tool on our PBX!
  • Bite the bullet and get a spreadsheet of all phones, mac addresses and locations. You'll thank me later.
  • If you've got a small office, have the operator add all the extensions as contacts.  That way they can drag and drop calls with very little effort.

All in all I'm very pleased with the ShoreTel solution.  The fact that I don't need a dedicated "phone guy" to manage this system is a huge benefit as well. I can wait to get all my sites on ShoreTel.

5 comments:

RK said...

On your paging system, did you have multiple Bogen amps and multiple zones?

Rolfsa said...

Nope. Just one amp...one zone.

RK said...

Nuts. I have 6 amps that I'm working with. Thanks though.

RK said...

Are you using the paging port from one of your switches or are you using an analog port. We are currently using the paging port but a vendor has suggested that using analog ports would be a better option.

Rolfsa said...

I believe it's in the analog port, but it's been a few months and it's in another city so I can't easily check. If I remember correctly the paging port was noisey and we had trouble getting amplification to the correct level so we used the analog port.