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School District Hits an Out-of-the-Park Home Run with RingCentral’s Reliability and Professional Services

Needed a phone solution that would work easily on day one, scale easily later.
Cloud-based RingCentral enabled easy office expansion and frictionless growth.
Continuing to benefit from RingCentral’s ease of use and cost-effectiveness.
Company profile
Company profile:
A California Bay Area unified school district that consists of 28 campuses plus the district office. This school district serves more than 17,000 students and employs 1,700+ teachers, administrators, and other staff.
Year founded:
Fewer than 50 employees
Santa Barbara, CA

A reliable communications system is not simply a business necessity for a school. It has become an increasingly important safety requirement. “In a school environment, poor performance of the communications system is unacceptable,” says the school district’s Google and RingCentral administrator.

The RingCentral administrator speaks from her experience. Dropped calls with the previous communications system frustrated teachers, administrators, and staff, and its downtime potentially put safety at risk. Frustrations spilled over onto the IT department. “People were losing faith in us because they were lumping us with the poor performance of the old phone vendor,” the RingCentral administrator says.

The unified school district team had several critical requirements for their new communications system. The first was reliability. For them, that was even more important than price, and simple verbal assurance wouldn’t do. The team wanted to see proof of uptime. Second, the new system had to be compatible with Google since the district had standardized on Google for Education apps, and future plans included an initiative to give every student a Chromebook.

The unified school district had a third requirement that didn’t involve communications functionality directly, but did pose a challenge to potential vendors. The new system would have to be deployed across the entire organization during a six-week summer break.

Solid metrics, G Suite integration, and RingCentral Professional Services™ seal the deal

The unified school district started with a list of 20 unified communications vendors, and quickly whittled it down to five and then to one. “Fairly early on, they choose RingCentral because it had the metrics to prove its uptime,” the RingCentral administrator explained. “Also, since RingCentral is a preferred Google partner, that fit with our current and future plans.”

Understanding the high stakes, RingCentral Professional Services had six people on-site for six weeks to deploy RingCentral and provide training for the administrator and staff. “The RingCentral team was here holding our hands the whole time, helping us learn a lot of information in a very

short time,” says the RingCentral administrator. “We couldn’t have any do-overs again. We needed an out-of-the-park home run, and with RingCentral we got it. I’m very pleased and so are my users.”

The RingCentral administrator saw an immediate change in the number of support tickets she manages. “I was doing hundreds and hundreds of support tickets per week with the previous system,” the RingCentral administrator says. “Now all I do [related to the communications system] is give out and reassign numbers.”

RingCentral increases productivity in multiple ways

In addition to providing the reliable communications functionality the district required, RingCentral is helping everyone work more efficiently. For example, secretaries who manage phone traffic for hundreds of extensions now have RingCentral Auto-Receptionist, a virtual receptionist, to automatically route calls for them. In addition, the RingCentral head-up display (HUD) lets them handle all communications tasks directly from their computer screens. “Secretaries saw a 10% increase in productivity right off the bat,” the RingCentral administrator says. “The head-up display gives them so much more information than their phone screens can.”

Other productivity gains come from RingCentral Meetings™ online conferencing, which the district is using for developing individual education plans (IEPs) for special needs students. IEPs require the collaboration of lawyers, social workers, teachers, and parents. RingCentral Meetings lets them work face-to-face online and share

documents in real time from the convenience of their offices. Similarly, the district holds monthly “Birds of a Feather” meetings for groups of employees—clerks, secretaries, principals, etc.—from all 28 campuses. These meetings can now be held virtually rather than having everyone make their way through Bay Area traffic.

The integration of RingCentral with Google is another productivity booster because it eliminates the need to jump between applications. For example, employees can set up RingCentral Meetings directly from within Google calendar. If they’re working with a Microsoft Word document, they can fax it using RingCentral Fax® without leaving the document.

Overall, RingCentral has transformed the district’s frustrated end users to people who love their communications system. “On a one-to-ten happiness scale, RingCentral is a 20,” says the RingCentral administrator. “I love RingCentral because you really help us solve problems.”

ProductPlan believes RingCentral offers many benefits for small companies and startups

“The RingCentral platform has supported ProductPlan’s growth over the years in a number of ways,” says Semick, “and I think it could benefit many young and small companies. I’ll give you some examples.”

“Ease of use. Setting up a new employee with RingCentral is really as easy as unboxing the phone, plugging it in, and recording a voicemail message. It doesn’t require any specialized technical expertise.”

“Portability. As our staff grew, we had to move to new offices or take over additional space in our existing offices. With RingCentral, the beauty was we could take the phones to our new space and just plug and play. Because RingCentral is cloud-based, we never needed to set up physical phone lines or wait for a telecom provider to activate service for our staff.”

“Time and cost savings. If we had an on-prem PBX or other traditional business phone system, we’d be spending time and money configuring and managing it. And if we instead relied entirely on our cell phones for business communication, that would create inefficiencies in the office in terms of being able to grab a coworker’s ringing phone or easily transferring calls to the right person. Having the RingCentral cloud platform is the perfect solution for a young but fast-growing company like ProductPlan.”

“Easy scalability. As our Account Management and Customer Success teams grow, RingCentral makes it so easy for us to get them up and running. We just add users, order phones, and plug them in. We don’t have an IT team, and when you’re a startup like us, every aspect of your tech infrastructure that you can outsource, simplify, or set up to be self-running makes it much easier to scale quickly. That’s yet another reason I’m so glad we went with RingCentral from day one.” 

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