ShoreTel was founded in 1996 and is a pioneer in cloud-based phone systems. ShoreTel is a national VoIP provider servicing more than 10,000 companies with an enterprise-class phone system. The story goes that in 1996, founders Edwin J Basart and Mike Harrigan asked “can’t there be a better way” to provide phone service? Under the name Shoreline, they released their first products in 1998, and within a few years, they were expanding into contact centers. ShoreTel’s key mission is to provide phone systems and applications with an experience that is customizable to all business’ needs.
In 2010, they acquired mobility provider Agito Networks, and in 2012 they purchased M5 Networks. M5 Networks was rebranded as ShoreTel Sky, and now ShoreTel offered both on-premise and cloud-based phone services.
Customers of ShoreTel enjoy optimal reliability and quality of calls on a private, dedicated connection — without ever having to rely on a third party solution. Look to ShoreTel’s innovative cloud based solutions to stay connected and productive even when your team is apart. ShoreTel has over 900 VARs, VADs, and other channel partners. They have regional headquarters in United Kingdom, Germany, India, and Australia.
Editor’s Bottom Line:
In a business environment where many businesses can’t decide whether to go for an on-premise solution or throw out everything and use a cloud-based system, ShoreTel gives the choice of either, or both, letting the customer move seamlessly from an outdated PBX to the most modern IP telephony available today. Many business owners are intimidated by the costs associated with a new phone system, which makes it reassuring for potential customers that ShoreTel has been recognized numerous times for having the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO). Similarly, they alleviate concerns about reliability by having a redundant architecture; their reported uptime is 99.999%.
Using the most complex technology to make using it simple, subscribers are able to move a conversation from text-based to audio or video, then expand even further to desktop sharing and online meetings with multiple participants.
For better or worse, ShoreTel locks customers in to using their native hardware (i.e., phones). ShoreTel oversees every path the data will move through, from the phones themselves to the location where the phones switch to other providers’ network.
ShoreTel Mobility is one of the first VoIP products that work with the Apple Watch.
The on-site solutions are best for any organization that intends to stand the test of time. This can mean long-standing profitable businesses, but also important government institutions that are location-based (e.g., schools, executive offices).
The cloud-based solutions are for any organization that is looking to start seeing savings immediately.
Both solutions have most of the same world-class features that will let businesses spend more time connecting with clients, make it easy to collaborate with colleagues, and waste less time.
Most Popular Plan: ShoreTel Connect
ShoreTel’s cloud-based business VoIP solution is both hosted and managed. The way in which ShoreTel differs from other providers, is their commissioning of experts to walk you through the best solution for your particular business, every step of the way. Additionally, ShoreTel relegates expert training professionals to offer new customers both remote web-based training for new users, in addition to on-site help (if desired). Clients greatly appreciate and rely on ShoreTel’s high performance standards, which are backed up and transparent on their ‘Trust’ site – a real-time, public report of their system status.
Monthly fees are up and around $40 per month/user, though there are two components to their fees, in private network per location/per phone. This results in variance in price, with optional add-ons such as contact center, hosted call recording, and more. In terms of inclusions with their service, not to mention personalized and efficient customer service – industry professionals would expect that clients would pay more. There are no setup, activation, shipping, or cancellation fees, with implementation of their systems (of standard size) taking approximately 30-45 days. ShoreTel wants to make sure that you’re satisfied, covering all bases, staging rollouts (from installation to training) in a strategic and orderly fashion; appointing a ShoreTel Project manager to exclusively work with you throughout this process.
ShoreTel offers these free features and more (over 90 in total) with their service: Call Rules, Caller ID Rules, Privacy Rules, Directory, Presence, Auto Attendant, Enhanced Voicemail, “Hot Desk” Call Transfer, Call Park, Coaching Solutions, Time Specific Call Routing, Call Monitoring, E911, Address Book, Skills-Based Call Routing, Find Me/Follow Me, Cloud Integration, CRM/ERP (e.g. Salesforce.com, Netsuite, Sage, etc.) Click-2-Dial, Applicant Tracking
ShoreTel Unified Communications Suite, which includes:
- ShoreTel Communicator: Offered at no extra charge, clients of ShoreTel receive the Communicator, a desktop application that provides IM, screen sharing, presence and video chat. Workers may also transfer files, among other abilities.
- ShoreTel Mobility: Keep a handle on your phone system even if you are away from your desk, using ShoreTel Mobility. The mobile VoIP client allows for extension dialing, transfer, conferencing, call parking, directory query, and ability to by leverage your personal device and an available network (Wi-Fi/3G/4G or cellular).
- ShoreTel Scribe VoiceMail to E-mail Transcription (available at an extra charge): Voice messages are sent to an email inbox of your choice.
In general terms, it’s information integration and consolidation, turning your phone system into a powerful entity, capable or collecting metrics, documenting orders, and providing real-time analytics. This only scrapes the surface, with ShoreTel Sky integrating Salesforce.com, Netsuite, SageCRM, along with applicant trackers in Bullhorn, JobDiva, Maxhire, operating successfully with browsers and productivity tools like Firefox, Chrome, and Microsoft Outlook.
Awards & Recognitions:
- Heather Tenuto, the Vice President of Worldwide Channel Programs and Sales, was recognized by The Channel Company, and named to the list of CRN 2015 Channel Chiefs.
- Winner, Customer Magazine 2014 Contact Center Technology AwardWinners.
- Winner, 2014 Gold Stevie Award for Technology Product of the Year in both Australia and Singapore categories, plus New Business Product of the Year in All Other Nations category.
- Winner, 2008-2015 Nemertes Research Best IP Telephony Provider.
- Clients include AT&T Park (home of the San Francisco Giants) and The City of Oakland, CA
Customer Support Hours and Locations:
- US- UK- and AU/NZ-based customer support 24/7
- US: 1 844 746-7383; Europe, Middle East, Africa: +44 (0) 808 134 9920; Australia, New Zealand & Asia Pacific: +61 1 800 258 533