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Case Studies

San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo




San Antonio Zoo Empowers Mobile Staff with UCaaS Solutions

Welcoming more than a million visitors a year, the San Antonio Zoo is committed to securing a future for wildlife. The zoo contributes to the vibrant local economy, educating and inspiring visitors of all ages. Operating over 56 acres, the San Antonio Zoo is staffed by 450 employees, most of whom are highly mobile.

The San Antonio Zoo makes early education a priority, having recently constructed a new on-site education facility. The Will Smith Zoo School is the largest nature-based preschool in the country, where the lion’s share of the students’ days are spent learning outside, including lunch and—weather permitting—
even naps.

The construction of the new state-of-the-art Will Smith Zoo School was an opportunity for the zoo to address its communications and collaboration needs and switch to more flexible and cost-effective cloud solutions. The zoo’s difficulties obtaining additional analog lines, and billing issues for what they already had, impacted the organization’s ability to grow and to keep its mobile staff connected. Furthermore, the zoo faces challenges inherent to not-for-profit organizations: Many of the technology solutions it was using, including meetings and video conferencing platforms, were free tools, with corresponding limitations.

Mobility and user-friendly features stood out from other platforms.

While the construction of the zoo school was the impetus for the zoo to evaluate UCaaS solutions, the ease of use and performance of RingCentral Phone™ and RingCentral Meetings™ quickly won over Brian Carter, VP of Marketing. The zoo’s Sales team members are out of the office nearly as much as they are in, and a mobile solution enabling them to take and make phone calls on the go was a real necessity. Especially as a non-profit, the zoo can’t afford for its sales team to miss any donor calls.

Carter was looking for a great set of tools that could have his team accessible to clients wherever they went and allow them to collaborate across platforms. He finds that RingCentral lies at the crossroads of two of his greatest passions: technology and tools that increase business efficiency. “I’m really pleased with what I’ve been able to use with RingCentral so far. You have a real champion in me,” he says.

The zoo had been using a VoIP platform, itself a replacement of a PBX, but there were a lot of issues with the rollout, “never mind the features and performance,” says Armando Escobedo, IT Manager. Now, to enable employees’ mobile connectivity, they set their phone presence to Away, routing those calls to direct inward dialing numbers (DIDs) on RingCentral Phone on their mobile devices. This enables staff members across the zoo to receive direct calls without missing a beat. “I really like all the phones having their own DID numbers; that opens up a lot of opportunity for us. The people at the hospital can receive direct calls from the labs, external vets, and X-ray techs they interface with daily,” says Escobedo. The animal hospital and business office are also users of RingCentral’s internet fax solution, so Escobedo doesn’t have to hunt down a third-party fax service, and users can send and receive faxes directly from their computers.

In particular, Escobedo values the ease of rollout and administration of RingCentral’s solutions. “When we went through the training and saw how much more modern and intuitive the administration side was, that’s when I started changing my mind,” he says. Escobedo sees the lower cost per user as built-in value of RingCentral: The phones arrive preconfigured, which saves IT staff time and hassle, and each unit comes with associated apps, options, and accessories included. “And with RingCentral, we have a consolidated bill, whereas the former vendor charged us for every add on,“ says Escobedo.

Non-profit sees value in RingCentral enterprise-grade solutions.

When it came to meetings and video conferencing technology, the zoo found itself hamstrung by less-than-robust technology. “As a non-profit, we don’t have the right tools because we either can’t afford them or can’t afford the time to find them,” says Carter. Previous free web conferencing tools just couldn’t offer an enterprise-level quality solution. Such tools were glitchy and cumbersome, requiring users to keep track of dial-in numbers. Carter also found that the freeware solutions were not intuitive for most end users to do things like share screens and files during a conference call, whereas RingCentral is. Now Carter enjoys the power and flexibility of having RingCentral Meetings on his phone and even receiving meeting alerts on his Apple Watch. He can join, start, and send out meeting invitations while away from his desk. Meetings “makes some of the things that used to be headaches about setting up meetings and taking phone calls go away,” says Carter. An added benefit—in contrast to some of the tools they’d used in the past, Meetings has elevated the zoo’s professional appearance: “Something that feels trusted and secure goes a long way to making us feel professional,” says Carter.

Company profile

San Antonio Zoo, operated
by the San Antonio
Zoological Society, is a
non-profit organization
committed to securing a
future for wildlife.


Year founded:
1914


Website:
sazoo.org


Headquarters:
San Antonio, TX


Size:
450 employees


“When we went through the training and saw how much more modern and intuitive the administration side was, that’s when I started changing my mind.”

— Armando Escobedo, IT Manager

“I’m really pleased with what I’ve been able to use with RingCentral so far. You have a real champion in me.”

— Brian Carter, VP of Marketing

“Something that feels trusted and secure goes a long way to making us feel professional.”

— Brian Carter, VP of Marketing

“Having one place that has all the tools we need more or less and that integrates with things we are currently using like Box is helpful for us.”

— Brian Carter, VP of Marketing