City of Beaverton

Bringing Government to One Communications Platform


The Municipality of the City of Beaverton required a flexible, affordable, and risk managed phone system spanning multiple buildings and hundreds of users as the city renovates its infrastructure. This is NocTel's solution for the City of Beaverton's needs.

Making calls with NocTel since 2018

A quick tour through any of the several publicly accessible municipal buildings and facilities will make it clear the City of Beaverton invests great pride and care. Like the buildings that have undergone improvement, renovation, or even new construction; the various systems that help City of Beaverton function in practice also require similar attention in time. For the City of Beaverton, the associated licensing and service costs in addition to the time effort to configure and maintain the legacy solution were becoming a point of inefficiency.

City of Beaverton’s Situation

For a city bearing a population of nearly 100,000 residents and hundreds of municipal staff, any replacement phone system must be able to slipstream in to prevent unavailability of critical city services and departments. Any feasible replacement would require a method of coexistence with the legacy system to prevent migrating departments from being unreachable internally within the city as direct calls and transfers between are common. Similarly, for critical municipal infrastructure such as finance and emergency dispatch, service outage could spiral into a local crisis.

While City of Beaverton can be considered a single overarching organization, its many departments often times constitute smaller near independent entities in of themselves. This presents a unique challenge for IT administering the municipal government’s phone system in implementing and maintaining strong organizational consistency while allowing for unique schedules and call flows. So while one department may require its own handling of calls to numbers and individuals’ extensions, another may do or wish to do something quite different.

Licensing and maintenance fees aside, the time effort associated with managing phone system entities such as extension routing, number assignment, speed dials, etc. increased the overall cost of operating the legacy phone system.

Despite the effort and cost of operation, transitioning to a different provider presented a challenge in that the city’s government services could not afford to be unavailable publicly and internally. The right provider needed to be able to address this hurdle to provide a smooth transition.

NocTel’s Solution for City of Beaverton

In meeting with City of Beaverton’s ISD department and surveying the network, NocTel proposed to make use of intermediary hardware between the NocTel Talk cloud-hosted phone system and the legacy phone system. This approach allowed the city to transition staff, departments, and buildings in comfortable phases while allowing calls made on either co-existing phone system to be made in either direction. Internally and externally this appeared seamless when placing and receiving calls.

After an initial controlled acceptance period with select users and departments, City of Beaverton presented a use case for contact center-like operations in certain departments that are largely outward facing in addition to NocTel Talk services for the city at large. NocTel advised and demonstrated the Flow cloud-hosted contact center service to stakeholders leading to the adoption of NocTel Flow for the proposed departments along with reporting provided by NocTel Insight.

As City of Beaverton migrated departments in a phased schedule, NocTel worked to ensure a presence in installation of devices, training of end users, and address of concerns in transition by stakeholders and end users. These actions helped prevent periods of outage in transition and ensured end users felt confident about the new phone system and services.

With NocTel’s web-based services, City of Beaverton departments are able to locate records and recordings with ease as well as product beautiful, fast reporting for both normal phone system usage and billing department performance metrics. Being web-based, configuration changes such as operating schedule or greeting messaging are also managed remotely as situations demand, such as inclement weather making certain departments or buildings inoperable or on a delayed schedule.

While not originally proposed as a desirable item or requirement, upon NocTel’s announcement and subsequent release of the the NocTel Go mobile app for iOS and Android, City of Beaverton saw the inclusion of mobile extensions on the phone system as a useful means to keep employees connected and reachable. This would reduce the need to manage or keep track of employee assigned mobile numbers as mobile employees, such as IT staff and management, could leverage a single consistent extension number to ring their work mobile device and/or desk handset. Being extensions on the phone system this allows City staff to dial an extension number and not fuss over looking up or memorizing a mobile number saving time avoiding a game of “telephone tag”.

NocTel’s expertise with migrating from our old phone system to their service was invaluable especially since we had to run both systems together during the migration.

Rob Woodhull, Systems Administrator

City of Beaverton’s Results

Prior to adoption of services with NocTel, managing the legacy phone system was a cumbersome and time consuming task requiring far too many steps in different contexts to implement. The simplicity configuring phone numbers, extensions, and routing allowed IT technicians to quickly onboard, exit, and adjust routing behavior for city employees. This also allowed IT to grant end users the ability to manage their own extension and its behavior while maintaining an audit trail to help remediate if bad configuration were applied by the user. Change history on entities such as phone numbers, extensions, and hunt groups also factored in when support tickets were issued to quickly resolve.

Billing departments within the city whose daily operations consist primarily of phone handling and back office tasks did not have a clear means of tracking performance. Before the implementation of NocTel Flow and reporting with NocTel Insight, such departments were operating off hunt groups ringing each applicable employee’s desk phone. In larger spaces this often led to confusion as to who would or could answer any given call. This lack of awareness of presence caused a degree of caller frustration as departments would appear unresponsive or unavailable.

With NocTel Flow, billing department staff are able to receive and place calls pertaining to their department while also maintaining separate office use direct extensions. Applicable staff are able to manage when they are able to take calls from the public regarding services, and are also able to know before answering calls what kind of inquiry is being presented and what language the caller should expect to converse in. By managing availability status for such calls, this allows staff to handle back office tasks undisturbed. Additionally, NocTel Flow allows supervisory/managerial users to visibly see what employees are currently doing to make real-time decisions, such as advising staff to defer back office tasks to handle more calls as the number of waiting individuals increases.

Reporting with the legacy phone system in both regular operation and in specialized billing department operations were rudimentary at best. Since the legacy operations were done with a hunt group, there was no clear definition of what other activities staff were doing beyond the answering of phones and call lengths. NocTel Insight providing standardized metric reporting on NocTel Flow activities gave management a window into not just the raw data, but also aggregation of metrics of interest such as average talk time, shortest and longest calls, staff activities, and call volumes with flexible filtering and drill up and down capability. With numerous export options, management could perform additional internal analysis on metrics or include them in their own report outs such as Powerpoint decks.

NocTel Go on mobile employee devices provided a consistent means to reach such employees on a direct extension number without the employee disclosing the phone number of the mobile device itself. When call forwards are used to send a caller who may be trying to reach an employee on their desk phone, if configured incorrectly can cause the forwarded caller to reach the voicemail of the mobile device. This can be undesirable - particularly as all contact with government employees are public record. When a call reaches the employee’s NocTel Go extension, the voicemail resides on the phone system where it is more easily managed as public record.

During migration, the use of intermediary hardware to segue NocTel with the legacy phone system helped ensure zero downtime and seamless co-existence. Employees and departments who had migrated to NocTel Talk could still dial the direct extensions of others who were still on the legacy system and vice versa. This allowed the city to migrate at its own pace to mitigate risk.

As a System Administrator the ability to make changes from a tablet or even a smartphone has made my change request turnaround times go down.

Rob Woodhull, Systems Administrator

Summary of Service Benefits with NocTel

In choosing NocTel as the voice services provider, City of Beaverton has experienced the following benefits and improvements:

  • Rapid support response for assistance, issues, and requests
  • Cooperation and advice regarding network configuration for co-existence of phone systems and optimal operation of NocTel Talk services
  • Seamless integration between legacy phone system and NocTel Talk system while in transition
  • Web-based configuration allows for on the fly changes as situations demand and at large changes to multiple devices
  • Web-based reporting on NocTel services providing useful information relating to the use of services as well as performance metrics for contact center application
  • Hands on assistance during installation, instructor led training for end users
  • Mobile extensions with NocTel Go make mobile employees reliably reachable whether at their desk or in the field