Utilizing the Edge Gateway to Empower Employees
By Chris Mitchell and Brendan Polk
Remote workers are becoming a huge part of the workforce. Here at Inflow, for instance, we have over 40 employees all working remote across a number of different states. One of the key ways we make sure everything runs smoothly is by utilizing all of the technology that’s built into the ShoreTel Connect platform.
That’s why today we’re going to be talking about ShoreTel Connect and how you can empower remote workers utilizing the Edge Gateway.
As an aside, a lot of my webinars (and their subsequent recaps) will be focusing on ShoreTel Connect this year. It’s where most of our customers are interested in going. And if they haven’t already started planning for it, it’s something that’s on their 2018 IT agenda.
The difference between ShoreTel 14 and ShoreTel Connect
Most of our customers are still on ShoreTel 14, 14.1 or 14.2. With these versions, if you have any remote workers you’re either handling them via ShoreTel’s VPN Concentrator or through VPN firewalls or routers at a remote location (an office or a house). While this was, and still is, a usable and supported solution for remote workers, it isn’t without its share of issues.
Problems with ShoreTel 14+:
- Only four softphones were compatible
- You need a VPN to use the desktop client
- Softphones were rarely updated
- The mobility router wasn’t sufficiently secure or effective
ShoreTel released Connect in a bid to solve a lot of these issues amongst others. But when it launched in 2015, it had a lot of bugs and issues that you’d expect from a new piece of software.
It’s only this year that we’ve been moving a lot of our customers over to Connect. With the bugs resolved, Connect provides some fantastic features that make it much better for remote workers and the companies that employ them.
One of these was the Edge Gateway device
The Edge Gateway is a virtual appliance that gets deployed in the DMZ of your network with three public IPs and it comes with a bunch of benefits compared to previous solutions. We’ll cover all of these below.
No need for a VPN
The Edge Gateway allows the new Connect client (which replaced the Communicator client) to work without a VPN. It builds a secure tunnel back to the Edge Gateway from the client, using an SSL certificate to authenticate that connection. That means you can utilize the client anywhere you want without having to make a configuration change.
So if you want to have remote contact center agents, you can utilize the Edge Gateway to give them a secure connection back to the office. You can really give your agents and your remote employees all of the ShoreTel benefits of a physical phone or a softphone and all the clients to run them, without having to run a VPN physical or software VPN on site.
Remote phones and softphones
Edge Gateway allows us to have remote phones. Those remote phones can be any of the new SIP-based 400 series models. They’re not the older MCCPs. These remote phones connect back to that Edge Gateway and make these phones work on the network.
There’s new softphone technology, too. The new softphone was completely updated to current set standards. It gave us a lot more stability and capability on the new softphone. To encourage companies to take advantage, ShoreTel is offering a free softphone license to every employee when a company upgrades from 14.2 to Connect.
They also rolled out a new Mobility update utilizing the Edge Gateway. The Mobility Router now doesn’t have to have its own public IP. It can be inside the network and let the Edge Gateway be the only thing that’s communicating outside of the network.
To increase adoption of the Mobility client, ShoreTel has done the same thing they’ve done with the softphone. All employees can get a Mobility license for free when a company upgrades. If you want to be able to roll out that mobile app to your employees, there’s really no cost.
The first step in an SLA process is figuring out what is the actual goal that you are working on defining? What is the impact or the high‑value target that you set?
Step two is taking that particular metric and looking at, “What’s our SLA right now?” You’ve defined, “We want to improve our speed of answer,” or, “We want to set that particular goal appropriately.”
First things first. What’s your current SLA? How do you have that set right now?
Then you want to move on to your next step, step three. Use that metric. Take a look at, “How are you performing against your current SLA, and then define a more achievable SLA. How do you do that?
Here’s what you’re going to find out. We’ve set our goal at 30 seconds, but on average, we’re picking up our phone in 45 seconds.
The second thing is you want to evaluate, “I’ve got this goal, but is that actually the best goal for my team?” You might look at something like, “How long is it taking before my abandoned callers hang up the phone?”
When you have a caller that waits, and waits, and waits, and hangs up the phone, when do they typically jump off that call? Maybe you find out that that’s at a minute.
That’s where, then, we get into some of the more tactical metrics. That’s where, once you’ve identified that, “OK, we’ve set a goal, and we’ve done this strategically.
“We’ve said, ‘OK, we know that our callers, on average, are willing to wait about a minute for us.
Be sure to check back next week as we expand upon the Edge Gateway and what it can do for your network.