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ShoreTel: The Communications Platform has a New Role to Play




March 18, 2014


By Rich Tehrani, CEO, Group Editor-in-Chief, TMC

(This piece originally appeared on Rich Tehrani’s (News - Alert) Communications and Technology blog.)

I just had a chance to meet with Mark Roberts, CMO of ShoreTel, to a get a handle on what the company has been up to lately. He has been at Polycom (News - Alert) and Mitel in the past and is just embarking on his fourth month in his new role but seems very excited to be where he is.

This is in part because he believes the ShoreTel (News - Alert) roadmap is the correct one to navigate the ever-evolving communications market.

We started the conversation by discussing how companies with cloud communications solutions are valued far higher than those with customer premise-only solutions. In fact, the more cloud, the higher the valuation.

Of course ShoreTel has been ahead of this curve, purchasing M5, one of the leading cloud players in the space, almost two years ago.

Mark Roberts (News - Alert), ShoreTel CMO

Naturally, cloud is a recurring theme when talking about ShoreTel. This and TCO are two topics the company constantly touts; former CMO Kevin Gavin (News - Alert) waxed poetic about it in many of our past meetings. On the TCO front, in fact, Nemertes Research came out with a study today showing ShoreTel has the lowest TCO out of all the major telecom players on the market. It’s another point Roberts was happy to tout.

Getting back to cloud, Roberts doesn’t see cloud as being something all his customers implement immediately. He said, "We don't see it as a flash cut, people moving from the prem to the cloud, but we do see a huge growth opportunity for the cloud and are configuring ourselves to take advantage of that.

“In order to leverage the fact that the cloud is a cost-effective way to get a solution in the hands of the customer but companies aren't going to throw away their existing solutions, they are developing more cloud-based solutions which work with their premise hardware,” Roberts said. “Think of this as new apps and features/functions.”

From there he discussed ShoreTel’s new 400 series phones, which allow customers to have same phone, features and functions regardless of whether they use the cloud or prem. Roberts said the channel was especially happy about not only the phone but the story -- one company can help them solve their communications needs from the prem to cloud.

From there we discussed how the communications platform has a new role to play -- it will enable you to get higher value from the myriad apps your corporation relies on. And as this happens, we can only expect the value of your communications solutions to increase. In fact, ShoreTel is hoping this ecosystem of communications systems and apps makes their solutions that much stickier.




Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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