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ShoreTel Helps Hillsborough County Answer the Call on Election Day

Unified Communications Improves Service to Voters, Saves Vital Taxpayer Dollars
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SUNNYVALE, CA, October 30, 2008 - ShoreTel, Inc., (NASDAQ: SHOR), a leading provider of Pure IP Unified Communications (UC) solutions, today announced that Hillsborough County in Florida, working with ShoreTel's Tampa, Florida-based partner DataComm Networks Incorporated, has deployed a ShoreTel UC system at the office of the Supervisor of Elections. The new system, which delivers daily cost and operational benefits, saves the organization significant additional time and money on election days, when call volumes soar by more than 400 percent. With ShoreTel, the Supervisor of Elections has unified the county's communications across multiple sites, improved service to the citizens of Hillsborough County, and saved vital taxpayer dollars.


Old, inflexible PBXs

With three aging PBX systems in its two offices, the organization had high monthly recurring charges for moves, adds and changes, and the separate phone systems had no integration for interoffice communications.

Election-Day Surges

The office typically maintains 30 phones to handle incoming calls throughout the year. On election day, however, the increased volume of calls requires as many as 140 phones to handle call volume. This forced the Supervisor of Elections office to endure the extraordinary cost and time of ordering, installing, testing, and then uninstalling an average of 60 Centrex analog lines at least one-and-a-half months in advance of each election. Despite the time and cost, the new lines often failed to work properly, and during a previous election, overflow calls rolled over into a voicemail box that had not been ordered. This resulted in unanswered calls that frustrated voters.

ShoreTel as the Solution

The organization selected ShoreTel for its phone system based on features, price and the ability to easily handle the occasional high call volumes. Key features and benefits include:

  • A distributed architecture that unifies communications across the organization's multiple locations.
  • Built-in workgroup functionality that makes it easy to route calls on a typical day and set up an election-day call center - including a special call group for Spanish speakers.
  • Workgroup agent call routing capabilities that let receptionists and operators be located anywhere in either office, which helps ensure incoming calls are answered by a real person.
  • Advanced reporting features that let administrators analyze how individual operators handle their calls, allowing the organization to assign the right people to the right tasks.
  • Simple system administration that allows moves, adds and changes to be easily handled internally, without requiring the services of an expensive contractor.

The Supervisor of Elections office purchased 130 ShoreTel handsets, which are preconfigured for the ShoreTel UC system, ensuring quick and easy installation.

Lower Costs

The ShoreTel UC system enabled the organization to cut its $4,000 monthly charge for 30 phones to $1300 per month for up to 120 simultaneous calls. With additional SIP trunks always available, the organization needs only a 24-hour window to ready the phones for an election, and they automatically work seamlessly with the ShoreTel UC system.


The county's ShoreTel UC system was put to the test for the first time during an election in August 2008. Agents processed 1,200 phone calls. The system worked flawlessly, with calls properly routed even during the periods of highest volume. System efficiency made it possible to keep the average wait time to talk around eight seconds. The longest wait time during peak volume was under three minutes.


A recent hurricane caused a sudden spike in calls from voters wanting to know if an election would take place as scheduled. When chief information officer David Parks received an automated alert that a threshold had been reached - the receptionist queue had 10 calls waiting - he called the voter services manager, confirmed he could add several voter services operators to the receptionist workgroup, and added them with a couple of mouse clicks. Some 30 seconds later all 10 calls had been answered, and the office easily handled the calls for the rest of the day.


"Our goal was to run our communications efficiently and cost-effectively, and find a way to adequately manage our election-day call volumes. The ShoreTel Unified Communications system has enabled us to drive down our recurring communications costs, integrate communications across offices, and use monitoring and reporting to improve our productivity. We can also now easily manage our peak volumes simply by turning on SIP trunks, which we pay for only when we use them. Most important, we have improved service to the citizens of Hillsborough County while saving vital tax dollars. This should be the goal of every government agency."

- Buddy Johnson, Supervisor of Elections, Hillsborough County Florida

"Clearly, government agencies across the U.S. and around the world are under increasing pressure to maintain - and even improve - service levels on ever-shrinking budgets. But as the Supervisor of Elections for Hillsborough County has demonstrated, with a ShoreTel UC system, agencies can actually improve their services while reducing costs. Our low total cost of ownership means they can quickly recoup system costs, while running a far leaner and more efficient organization."

- John W. Combs, chairman, president and CEO, ShoreTel

About ShoreTel, Inc.

ShoreTel, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOR) is a provider of business communication solutions whose brilliantly simple unified communications platforms, applications and mobile UC solutions promise a new rhythm of workforce engagement and collaboration. With costly complexity eliminated by design from its award-winning, all-in-one IP phone system, UC and contact center solution, and its industry-leading hosted phone system, workers enjoy a freedom and self-reliance that other providers can’t match. Users have full control to engage and collaborate, no matter the time, place or device, for the lowest cost and demand on IT resources in the industry. ShoreTel is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and has regional offices and partners worldwide. For more information, visit or


ShoreTel, ShoreTel Sky, and the ShoreTel logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of ShoreTel, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.

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