Behind The Scenes: How ShoreTel Keeps The Boston Celtics Running10:00 AM EST Fri. Nov. 30, 2012
The Boston Celtics went head to head with the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday, Nov. 28, in a heated, action-packed game that ended 95 to 83 in Brooklyn's favor. It was the 15th game of Boston's 2012 season, and, despite the eventual upset, Boston fans stuck it out with the Celtics until that final whistle blew.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes of it all is ShoreTel, whose unified communications (UC) solutions serve as the backbone to the Boston Celtics' season. ShoreTel, along with its solution provider partner Harbor Networks, gave CRN a glimpse into how their voice and UC platforms keep the Celtics' offices and executive team up and running.
Here's an inside look at ShoreTel's technologies, the Celtics' offices and Wednesday's big game.
The Celtics' corporate offices, which are located next to the TD Garden on Boston's Causeway Street, are decked out in old photographs paying tribute to the team's rich, 66-year history. Many of the walls, like the one pictured here, are covered entirely with framed photos, conjuring up memories of the team's legendary players, coaches and big wins.
The Celtics' headquarters have several meeting rooms open to the team's owners and executives. Pictured here is the conference room commonly used by the Celtics' Board of Directors.
The Celtics' are co-owned by Steve Pagliuca, managing director of Bain Capital, and Wyc Grousbeck, advisor at Highland Capital Partners. Grousbeck is also the Celtics' CEO.
The Celtics' boardroom walls are adorned with jerseys from the team's most legendary players, including Kevin McHale, Larry Bird and Robert Parish.
Among the historic memorabilia featured in the Celtics' offices was this old team logo, dated from the 1950s.
The logo has since been updated, of course, but Lucky the Leprechaun is still front and center.
Tucked away for safe keeping in one of the offices was the Celtics' 2008 championship trophy, an award the team won after crushing the Los Angeles Lakers 131-92 in game six of the NBA finals. It was the Celtics' 17th NBA title.
A Celtics' spokesperson said the trophy is kept in a black duffel bag for safe carrying in and out of the offices and the TD Garden.
Jay Wessel (pictured) is the Celtics' vice president of technology, responsible for overseeing the IT infrastructure that supports the team's offices and headquarters. Wessel, alongside with Framingham, Mass.-based solution provider Harbor Networks, upgraded the office's legacy Avaya system to ShoreTel's in August.
Wessel said the biggest advantage of using ShoreTel's UC solutions is that they're simple, particularly with the ShoreWare Director Web-based management console.
"This is the ShoreWare Director which is the one tool that manages all the features of the system," Wessel explained. "So we add users, add groups, change voicemail flows. ... It's all in this one app that runs on the ShoreWare server, and it's been very easy to maintain."
Wessel demonstrated how ShoreTel's unified communications solutions are used inside the Celtics' headquarters. He noted how nightly data dumps of the system can yield detailed reports, showing how many phone calls were placed during the day, which sales person placed them and the duration of each call.
The Celtics adopted ShoreTel's on-premise UC solutions, rather than its cloud-based ones, but Wessel didn't rule out the possibility of moving their voice systems to the cloud eventually.
"I think that some of [our infrastructure], if not all of it, could end up there," Wessel said of the cloud, emphasizing that he wants to explore options for cloud-based backup and recovery solutions.
Wessel gave CRN a peak at the Celtics' server room, explaining that all sales calls, even those filtered through Ticketmaster and the additional Celtics' offices located in Waltham, Mass., flow through here. When ticket bar codes are scanned upon entry to the TD Garden, those validity requests are also sent to these servers.
"When you come to the game, ... they are going to bar code that ticket, go back to Ticketmaster, and Ticketmaster is going to check through here," Wessel said.
The Celtics aren't the only NBA team ShoreTel touts as a customer. In addition to the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards, the Brooklyn Nets -- the Celtics' opponent for the evening -- also rely on ShoreTel for their voice and UC needs.
The Nets' Senior Director of Information Technology Mireille Verna, pictured here with Dan Hoffman, president of ShoreTel's cloud division, said the Nets use ShoreTel's cloud-based UC system -- also known as ShoreTel Sky -- and that the reliability has been rock-solid. The most recent testament to this, she said, was how well ShoreTel's solutions withstood the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.
"[The Brooklyn office] was intact," Verna said. "I attribute that to planning, to the stability of the system. ... We were pleasantly surprised it didn't go down. One less thing to worry about."
ShoreTel partner Harbor Networks helped the Celtics get up and running with ShoreTel's VoIP and UC solutions this summer. Pictured from left to right are Harbor Networks' Vice President of Technology Jeremy Vignaux, President Greg Bertschmann and Senior Product Manager Paul Pacheco.
In an interview with CRN, Bertschmann said the Celtics were Harbor Networks' first professional sports team customer. "It was a cool thing for us to get this account," Bertschmann said, smiling. "This was our first [team account], and all our guys were like 'can we work the Celtics deal?'"
Bertschmann, a long-time Celtics fan, said point guard Rajon Rondo is his favorite player.
Boston's TD Garden was packed Wednesday night, with fans rooting hard for the Celtics to pull a win. It didn't quite happen that way, but their spirits never waned.
Re-built in 1995, the TD Garden hosts 19,600 seats and is also home to 2011 NHL Champions the Boston Bruins.
Celtics' point guard Rajon Rondo (pictured here) has become a favorite among Boston fans during his six years with the team. Known for his quick feet and fiery demeanor, Rondo has averaged 12.9 points per game throughout the 2012 season, making him the C's third-highest scorer after Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Rondo questions a ref's call against the Celtics during the first quarter.
With just seconds left in the first half, Rondo's frustrations grew, and Nets forward Kris Humphries took the brunt of it. A fight broke out after Humphries fouled the Celtics' Kevin Garnett, and Rondo swept in to Garnett's defense. The tussle quickly escalated into a full-out, team-on-team brawl.
Punches were thrown, arms were scratched, and Rondo, Humphries and the Nets' Gerald Wallace were ejected from the game. Rondo was eventually suspended for two more.
The Garden roared with disappointment after Rondo was given the boot, but it's hard to say fans were surprised. He was suspended twice last season -- once for throwing a ball at a ref.
Celtics Coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers (pictured here) gives his team a stern look from the sidelines, as the C's offense continued to flounder.
The Celtics' Kevin Gartnett awaits a ref's call while the crowd looks on.
Celtics' starters Paul Pierce (pictured right) and Brandon Bass (pictured left) stand for a minute to catch their breath, as the Nets continue to pull ahead.
Fondly known by Boston fans as "The Truth," Pierce has been with the team 14 years and was part of the "The Big Three" with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen who helped nab that championship trophy in 2008.