Unified Communications drives improved collaboration and customer interaction

The SciSys Group is a leading developer of ICT services, e-Business and advanced technology solutions which operates in a broad spectrum of market sectors including space, utilities, defence, government, communication, business services, media and broadcast and transport. SciSys’ clients are predominantly blue chip and public sector organizations. Customers include the Environment Agency, MOD, Thames Water, Astrium, the European Space Agency, the BBC, Deutsche Welle, the Coal Authority and the RNLI.

Need for Change

Their existing telephone system was coming to the end of its useful life as Avaya had long since discontinued and ceased support for it. SciSys took the opportunity to examine its communication requirements and identify the latest technology that would ensure they met their goals. It was clear that a Unified Communications solution would deliver the benefits and features that they required and identified Solar Communications as their preferred technology partner. Solar Communications are independent business communications experts with access to market leading technology from a number of manufacturers. Solar are also able to deliver a full complement of supporting services and products.

Working closely with SciSys, Solar gained a deep understanding of their requirements and goals and worked with them to identify and design the best solution to meet their needs. The ShoreTel Unified Communications Platform was chosen as it was recognised as a market leader in terms of reliability, functionality, ease of use and ease of management. The system was also rated as the most cost effective when considering the Total Cost of Ownership over the lifetime of the solution.

Delivering On The Promise

SciSys is an organisation that is familiar with delivering feature rich, technical solutions. It was important that any system chosen by SciSys reflected this ‘best of breed’ capability and enabled them to communicate with their customers and within the organisation effectively with a choice of communication paths.

The ShoreTel Unified Communications System is VoIP (Voice over IP) based and allowed Scisys to utilise their LAN (Local Area Network) infrastructure for both voice and data traffic. This significantly reduced the cost and complexity of the implementation within SciSys and enabled applications to be more closely integrated to improve customer interaction and increase productivity.

ShoreTel’s innovatively scaleable architecture provided the flexibility that SciSys needed as it expands, allowing them to deploy and relocate the extremely reliable voice switches to wherever telephony services are critical. The ShoreTel solution was also able to provide a system with no single point of failure (99.99999% availability) in the most cost effective way, using their N+1 architecture. This was a key differentiator over competitor N x 2 models.

Ease of use is critical to the success of any voice system implementation, be it for the User or the System Administrator. If features are not easy to use, then efficiency is lost. From a management perspective the system is configured and controlled through an intuitive Web Browser based interface which enables all the features and functions of the system to be easily deployed. Users were able to access key functions through simple telephone based menus which is graphical on the majority of handsets or through a simple interface on their PC.

Key features of the system that brought real, measurable benefits to the users included the ability to generate screen ‘pop-ups’ to identify incoming callers, presence information which indicated if an individual was available at their desk, in a meeting or out of the office, voicemails that could be heard as an email attachment or from a telephone, real-time Instant Messaging (IM) and conferencing capabilities. All of these features improved customer interaction with more calls been satisfactorily concluded on initial contact.

Internal collaboration across Scisys’s three main UK sites has been massively improved, which is extremely important when you have dispersed teams working on high-end technical projects for your customers.

With a number of mobile technical, sales and executive staff the ability to route calls simply to mobile devices or any telephone handset at a SciSys location meant that individuals could be more easily contacted. One number could be distributed for any individual and SciSys could be confident that the individual would be contactable. This again helped improve responsiveness to Customers and internal personnel alike.


SciSys required a system that would scale easily with their business and a partner who could deliver a range of services to support their communication requirements. Solar had a proven track record with ShoreTel, indeed they were the only European Partner to be a member of the ‘ShoreTel Circle of Excellence’ which recognises the top 10 partners in the world with proven expertise and knowledge to deliver solutions to the most complex and demanding network requirements. In addition they have been ‘European Partner of the Year’ three years in a row and had proven technical knowledge and support skills by virtue of their ‘Outstanding Customer Service’ award, receiving a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) in excess of 96%, an outstanding achievement.

Solar engineers worked closely with the various stakeholders within SciSys during all phases of the project including design, testing, rollout, acceptance testing and user training.

Communications For Today And The Future

SciSys have achieved their goal. They now have an integrated communications infrastructure that reflects the skills and capabilities of their organisation. They have the flexibility, control and on-going ability to integrate applications and services to deliver outstanding customer service and interaction.


Existing system was approaching ‘end of life’ and was incapable of delivering the functionality the business required.