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ShoreTel's Unified Communications Solutions Enable Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas to Assist More Children

ShoreTel helps agency establish more mentoring relationships more quickly while reducing costs
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SUNNYVALE, CA, January 21, 2008 - ShoreTel, Inc., (NASDAQ: SHOR), a leading provider of Pure IP Unified Communications solutions, today detailed the benefits of a ShoreTel IP unified communications (UC) system deployed by Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas. The ShoreTel UC system has transformed the agency's communications system by connecting regional offices, presenting a unified face to the community, driving down communications costs and improving service delivery. Streamlined business processes and new call management features have helped Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas increase the number of mentoring relationships by more than 34 percent over a two-year period, while cutting almost in half the average wait time to find a successful match. Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas is the largest U.S. mentoring organization that provides children with support, guidance, friendship and fun by matching them to adult role models.

The organization had delivered its services via a professional staff working out of regional offices that relied on an outdated phone system that was not integrated. There was no single number that callers could use to reach anyone in the agency, office lines were often busy, and the agency incurred long-distance charges when calling across area codes. In addition, staff and consultants were reluctant to use home or personal cell phones to keep in touch with the families and volunteers they served because of privacy concerns, which limited their availability and increased response time.

When the agency developed a new technology plan, it investigated IP unified communications solutions, including those from Avaya and Cisco, but the agency found that it could obtain a better product with a lower total cost of ownership with ShoreTel's unified communications solution.

"ShoreTel offered the distributed architecture and call management features we needed to connect our offices, present a single face to the outside world, and let our staff, consultants and volunteers work together far more effectively," said Sean Ryan, director of information services for Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas. "Over the last few years, our agency has grown into the largest mentoring agency in the country, and ShoreTel, as part of our complete technology overhaul, played a key role in that growth."

The ShoreTel deployment has improved the agency's business processes by creating an integrated, central telephone system that lets all staff access the same phone and voicemail system, using 4-digit dialing to reach any staff member at any location and dialing co-workers by name. The system's ease of configuration and use is an added benefit. For example, it takes seconds for an administrator to add a new user to the system, and any employee can quickly set up a conference call at no additional cost. Tasks as simple as taking or connecting a call are far more efficient, resulting in better customer service and improved community and donor relationships. The ShoreTel's routing capabilities also allow the organization to minimize costs by avoiding or reducing toll and long distance charges.

The effect on the agency's service delivery was powerful. With ShoreTel's Office Anywhere feature, staff and consultants can now dial from any home or cell phone but still pass along the caller ID of the agency. This protects the privacy of the staff and helps them be more responsive. When people in the community see the call is from Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas, not a stranger, they are more likely to take the call. Office Anywhere has also helped the agency increase the number of at-home workers, resulting in a savings on office space of several thousand dollars per year, which translates into more money for supporting at-risk children.

The cost and call management benefits of the ShoreTel UC system have contributed to the following improvements at Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas:

  • The agency was able to increase the number of mentoring relationships from 4,493 in 2004 to 6,054 in 2006 (35 percent).
  • The average wait time for a match was cut from 130 days to 76 days (42 percent).
  • The length of mentoring relationships increased from 21.6 months to 24.2 months.
  • The agency was able to reduce three 30,000 sq. ft. offices to three 14,000 sq. ft. offices.
  • The number of at-home workers has increased from 20 to 50.
  • The service cost per child has dropped from $1,298 to $1,190.
  • Interviewers increased the average number of interviews they could conduct in a week from five to 20.

Added Ryan, "The bottom line is that we have the ability to improve our business processes, be consistent across all of our locations and deliver the best quality service to our clients."

"The deployment of ShoreTel at Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas demonstrates the power of unified communications to dramatically improve the way organizations interact with the people they serve," said Steve Timmerman, vice president of marketing at ShoreTel. "ShoreTel is delighted to contribute to the efforts of Big Brothers Big Sisters in making a positive impact on the lives of at-risk children."

About ShoreTel, Inc.

ShoreTel, Inc., (NASDAQ: SHOR) is a leading provider of Pure IP unified communications systems. ShoreTel enables companies of any size to seamlessly integrate all communications-voice, data, messaging-with their business processes. Independent of device or location, ShoreTel's distributed software architecture eliminates the traditional costs, complexity and reliability issues typically associated with other solutions. ShoreTel continues to deliver the highest levels of customer satisfaction, ease of use and manageability while driving down the overall total cost of ownership. ShoreTel is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, and has regional offices in the United Kingdom, Sydney, Australia and Munich, Germany. For more information, visit or call 1-877-80SHORE.

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