Unified Communications (UC) solutions provider, ShoreTel, has launched ShoreTel Connect in Australia. This single platform and user interface provides business communications from the Cloud, onsite or a hybrid combination of both.
As part of the roll-out of ShoreTel Connect, it has also introduced the ShoreTel Connect Contact Centre, a solution scalable to 1000 users for both ShoreTel Connect Cloud and ShoreTel Connect Onsite. In addition, it’s launched the integration of advanced CRM applications with deployments of ShoreTel Connect Onsite and ShoreTel Connect Cloud.
ShoreTel wants Connect to change how companies communicate with a new collaboration experience that unites groups and adapts to individual preferences.
Capabilities will include personalised call handling and call routing for both office and mobile devices; collaboration tools including instant messaging, audio and Web conferencing, point-to-point video and desktop sharing; and integration with CRM systems like Salesforce, Zendesk, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Desk.com and NetSuite, as well as Dropbox.
ShoreTel global chief marketing officer, Mark Roberts, said with Connect, businesses gain flexibility and customer insights and increase their ability to collaborate with employees inside as well as partners and customers outside the company – all while lowering IT operating costs.
“We’re talking about one platform – whether it’s Cloud or premise-based; it’s just one platform with one experience. It’s the foundation the company is moving towards in the coming years. The reason we’re doing it, is to introduce features to our user base faster and quicker than having a pure product offering,” he said.
Roberts claimed Connect is designed to simplify the way IT deploys, manages, scales, and secures phone systems. As a single platform and user interface, it can be configured multiple ways for the Cloud, onsite and mixed or hybrid options to fit with individual company business models.
There are three deployment models to ShoreTel Connect: Connect Onsite, Connect Cloud, and Connect Hybrid.
“Obviously, we’re very much focused on the onsite solution in Asia-Pacific. Later, as we look to introduce the Cloud solution, that changes. It ensures that what companies select today will grow with them as their needs change in the future,” he claimed.
The onsite offering is currently available in three packages – Essentials that cost $215; Standard that costs $325; and Advanced, costing $540.
ShoreTel A/NZ managing director, Jamie Romanin, said in the near future, the company plans to bring to market the ShoreTel owned and managed Cloud solution.
“We do plan on owning our own infrastructures and datacentre. As for the partners, there are different types of partners in the market and differences in how they want to engage and sell our product.
“Some want to be able to purchase from us and build their own Cloud offering and offer it as a white label service while others resell what we offer direct. There will be a place for both types of offering in the market.”
He added that the different solution types have and will be introduced as a result of changing customer behaviours.
“In the past, we’ve been successful selling on-site communications to our customers but over the past 18 to 24 months, they’re asking for other ways to consume our product, namely communications-as-a-service.
“It will give both our partners and customers choice in the way they consume our products and flexibility by the way they deploy our products – either by the Cloud, onsite or as a hybrid solution. The strategy longer-term is one of customer choice and flexibility,” he added.
The company has also announced it is working on more strategic partnerships in the local government sector, especially in Victoria and Tasmania.