Unified communications vendor, ShoreTel has ramped up its investment in the Australian market, launching Hosted Voice and opening a new Melbourne office.
Using ShoreTel’s 400 series phones, Hosted Voice is a fully managed IP telephony hosted solution featuring voicemail, unified messaging, click to dial, mobility and audio conferencing services. There are also optional extras involved such as contact centre, call recording and toll-free numbers.
Based on a per month per user subscription basis, ShoreTel’s Hosted Voice datacentres are located in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.
The launch of Hosted Voice in Australia, marks ShoreTel’s complete integration of M5 Networks Australia, which it purchased in November, arming them with a hosted voice solution in the region.
ShoreTel CEO, Don Joos, was in town for the launch and opening of its new Melbourne office, which will house technical and sales resources.
“We’re continuing to invest in the Australian market and we've seen nice growth in market,” Joos told ARN.”I’m also here to meet face-to-face with partners, customers and get feedback.”
Joos explained when the opportunity to acquire M5 Networks in Australia became clear, it opened up opportunities to accelerate its hosted offerings in the market. It brought across 18 staff, and in the past year, ShoreTel has grown that to about 25.
“We’ll also continue to broaden and expand the Hosted Voice solution. This is a good phase for us to get out to market, but we’re not done, and there’s several pieces to go,” he said. “The channel is ready for this offering and in the longer term, it will attract more partners to us.
“Our channel strategy will evolve as our hosted offering evolves. Our channel model will expand beyond VARs, and include system integrators as they get to build and develop with our solution.”
ShoreTel Asia Pacific vice president Frederic Gillant, said it already has 70 to 80 signed partners across A/NZ, with 30 to 40 of them being active.
“There’s a strong partner community in Australia. With M5, we’re also adding 30 to 40 partners across to our community,” he said.
Gillant explained it merged M5 within its partner program, which was predominantly based on a referral model in comparison to ShoreTel product reselling model.
“We merged the partner program to cater for both these options,” he said.
Gillant said ShoreTel resellers have been asking for a hosted offering for the past couple of years.
"We must not underestimate the difficulty for a partner, who is used to selling on-site to move to the Cloud and vice versa. It's a different culture, and different way of selling," he said. "We've seen a huge demand from both sides of partners, to move into the other direction."
ShoreTel has two partner tiers (Approved and Enabled) within its Champion Partner Program to sell its Hosted Voice, partners are required to complete training and certification to be eligible to join the program.