As independent consultants we don’t generally focus our news articles on specific vendors, however we were lucky enough to be invited to attend the 2016 ShoreTelOne Global Partner Conference in December. They hosted a group of Analysts and Consultants that, in addition to the standard keynote speeches and breakout sessions, were lucky enough to have an interactive session with five of their Leadership Team. They were very open about the changes they have made and the plans they have for the company.
One key differentiator from most global vendors that came across that should benefit NZ organisations is ShoreTel’s strength and focus on mid-market, medium enterprise solutions. This should make their solutions a good fit for the NZ market.
ShoreTel is a developer of business communications solutions, including corporate IP telephony, UC, mobility and contact centre applications. Its solutions were created in the IP world with a strong understanding of legacy telephony solutions. ShoreTel entered the IP telephony market in 1996 and has grown to become a worldwide leader in IP-based business communications solutions with 20 years of experience and innovation and revenues over US$360 Million in the last financial year to June 2016.
ShoreTel now has a single product offering, ShoreTel Connect, across Cloud, On-site and Hybrid and is not only offering Unified Communications and Contact Centre as a service (UCaaS and CCaaS) but their new Cloud platform offers Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS). This new CPaaS, ShoreTel Summit, allow clients and application developers to build voice into their own processes and applications and will deliver a completely new eco-system.
Don Joos says ShoreTel is about making interactions simple ‘brilliantly simple’. The business is transitioning through three phases of the company’s evolution. They have completed the ‘Foundation’ phase, building a communications business started in the IP world; completed the ‘Migration’ phase, changing the business to be a fast moving software business (Agile Development) and set up for Cloud; and have now started the ‘Acceleration’ phase, to expand and grow globally. This has included
- Developing ShoreTel Connect (a single Cloud, On-site and Hybrid solution)
- Faster development and product releases to react to customers and the market
- Connect Cloud –monthly
- Connect OnSite – quarterly
- Expanding ShoreTel Connect Cloud and Summit solutions outside the US into UK/Europe and ANZ
- Increase partner scale
- Increase mid-market and size of organisations taking up Cloud services
- Premise to Cloud migration, but allowing customers to decide. Committed to on site and hybrid solutions
- Key acquisition of Corvisa in Dec 2015 as a platform for hosted UC solution to accelerateShoreTel’s move to Cloud
- Acquisition of M5 networks hosted voice solution, initially in the US in 2012 with additional purchase of M5 in Australia in Nov 2015
At the 2016 ShoreTelOne Global Partner Conference they made four new announcements
- ShoreTel Connect Cloud, their vendor Cloud offering, is now live in the UK/Europe and will be live in ANZ by June 2017 creating three global hubs for their global network
- Partnership with StarLeaf to deliver one click videoconferencing for multiple users with ShoreTel Connect Cloud
- New teamwork mobile application
- Google G Suite integration, to add to the portfolio of integration plug-ins including Microsoft 365 and Salesforce
For 2017 and onwards ShoreTel will focus on 5 key areas
- Become globally relevant
- Optimise for mobile workstyle
- Make it easy for the customer
- Create a platform business model
- Enable UC interactions in an IOT world
Don Joos, and the executive team, look to ‘Toggle’ between near and long term. This means they will be continually focusing from one to the other, not blurring across both.
One of these key strategies we in NZ should take note of is to be ‘globally relevant’ as this strategy specifically includes Australia and NZ. Globally we are smaller than some markets but analyst statistics show we are open to UCaaS. The current ShoreTel ANZ hosted solution platform is 315% above last year. This growth is mainly in Australia but is available in NZ and will be upgraded to ShoreTel Connect Cloud by June 2017 as part of their Global Cloud network.
If they can continue this momentum globally, and specifically in ANZ, then ShoreTel is clearly a vendor worth keeping an eye on in 2017 and beyond!