UMass Memorial Community Healthlink

unified communications customer case study

Business Size: 1,000
Industry: Healthcare


UMASS Memorial Community Healthlink (CHL) is a nonprofit organization that helps adults, children, and families recover from the effects of mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness. Given the critical nature of their work, CHL requires dependable voice and data services—across ten locations, for more than 1,000 employees.

Up until recently however, the organization was relying on traditional PRI services and a large number of analog phone lines, making communications disjointed and inefficient. An expensive MPLS network was in place to connect the larger CHL sites but there was no backup coverage and Internet security was minimal. The phone system was obsolete and the manufacturer was out of business, leaving CHL exposed if any major system components failed. And as a non-profit agency, budgets were limited to address all of the issues.

Key Challenge:

CHL needed a complete overhaul – a smarter and simpler communications platform that could empower their teams and better support the community at large. With emergency units operating around the clock, they needed a network with multiple redundancy and failover capabilities. They needed a centrally managed system with an intuitive management interface for their administrators and wanted a more dedicated, responsive provider to call if problems should arise.

Given that downtime simply wasn’t an option, cutover services had to be flawlessly coordinated between all sites. Finally, they needed to make these changes work within their nonprofit budget.


The Barry team first built a new voice and data network using fiber services from Comcast, Charter and Verizon to replace the legacy MPLS network. They deployed a ShoreTel Unified Communications system with a distributed architecture for survivability, but with a single database and management interface for all locations.

All published phone numbers were ported to Barry’s proprietary ipConnect service package. This allowed for consolidation of legacy PRI and analog trunk services into an aggregated and managed SIP trunk solution with failover capabilities. A VPN network over broadband circuits was established for failover of all voice and data traffic.

To combat security issues, Barry implemented SonicWall Unified Threat Management firewalls at all locations, and established data center presence for mission critical components. Barry also created a monitoring system that immediately reports any failures within the network or systems.


Today, CHL is connecting with constituents better (and more securely) than ever before. The ShoreTel unified communications system has eliminated downtime due to circuit problems, and staff members are praising the overhaul—not just for the end results, but for the seamless process as well.

“I cannot say enough about Casey and Jake,” expressed Tammy Haney, Operations Coordinator.  “The fabulous people [at Barry Communications] work extremely hard. I really appreciate it.”

As promised, the entire solution—including the new phone system—was implemented within CHL’s existing budget structure.