Melbourne Football Club moves to UC system

Phone system no longer reliant on batteries, ROI already achieved

The IT manager of Melbourne Football Club had a big task ahead of him when he assumed the role a year and a half ago, as the phone system relied on double A batteries and the voicemail setup was ineffective to the point that staff members used their mobile phones for work calls instead.

Richard Arnott spoke to Computerworld Australia about the upgrade to ShoreTel's unified communications system, which took place not long after he took up the position of IT manger.

“It was stored in a safe and was held up by double A batteries - it was pretty scary," he said.

"So my first day here, I got a call to say that the voicemail had gone down.

“We had problems with voicemail reliability and the first thing I noticed was that people couldn’t use the features available.

“The usability of the system was near impossible - people were using their mobile phones to call people down the hall."

Arnott said the impetus to upgrade the club’s LG Aria phone systems came after a variety of other projects were completed.

“The timing of this project was on the boil for a little while, but we had a number of other projects happening at the same time,” he said.

Once the time came to go to market, Arnott looked at a number of vendors including Cisco; eventually settling on Shoretel’s unified communications system for its low cost and all-in-one nature.

“The club was looking at just a phone system and not a unified communications system, and it was my job to take on those discussions and try to change the way they think about IT and communications,” Arnott said.

Arnott said he was astounded at how simple the rollout was, and that the use of the device reflected this.

“I was astounded that on day one it was plugged in and ready to go without having to go through the training,” he said.

“People could actually see the application and see where it was going to benefit them.

"A previous rollout I’ve done elsewhere, we’ve rolled out a system and I’ve had to run around from A to B to get people to use it.”

Despite not being able to measure the exact cost savings of the rollout, Arnott said the unified communications platform has already achieved its ROI.

“We didn’t have any measurement prior to the changeover ... the efficiency and uptime were two things we weren't able to measure prior to the rollout,” he said.

“As far as I’m concerned, we’ve probably already reached an ROI just because we haven’t had to call in any engineers, we haven’t had any loss productivity, and the cost of the business of losing voicemails does have the potential to have an impact.”

Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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