What's ShoreTel Connect? And why should you upgrade? From managing your phone system and unified communications and collaboration on-site, in the cloud or via a hybrid solution, your organization is faced with a host of options. Learn about an emerging platform enabling IT to design communications systems to increase business productivity via the infrastructure that makes the most sense for their organization.
Today businesses have more options than ever to provide enhanced communications and collaboration tools, build and manage unified communications networks, and even pay for them. What if your organization could provide intuitive services to enhance employee communication, via the infrastructure and payment methods that would make the most sense for you now, and grow over time?
That is essentially what ShoreTel seeks to do with its Connect platform. Built on a single software code base, ShoreTel Connect offers businesses greater flexibility in unified communications with the ability to design communications system(s) for on-premise, managed service from the cloud or hybrid. Employees get access to the same intuitive Connect interface, to communicate via the methods and features that work best for them--from IM, to remotely joining conference calls from the road, call recording, peer-to-peer video chat, desktop sharing and more.
Both ShoreTel and ProTelesis were built about 20 years ago, with ShoreTel founded on the premise of finding “a better way” for businesses to interact. First with IP phone systems and now today’s wide range of unified communications and communications platform as a service (CPaaS) solutions, ShoreTel is focused on removing complexity from communications.
Why should you consider its latest advancement? Read on for more.
A Single System Addresses All Your Needs
While many businesses still rely on on-premises unified communications (UC) systems—with 52.4% of IP telephony and 48.1% of UC deployments still based on site
--movement is toward cloud based solutions and hybrid deployments. The best UC architecture varies based on needs, however, and a true evaluation requires looking at all options to understand which will provide the organization the most benefit.
Built on a single software code base, ShoreTel Connect offers organizations greater flexibility in unified communications with the ability to design communications system(s) for on-premises, managed service from the cloud or hybrid. Businesses can also choose how to expense communications systems–as a monthly subscription operating cost or licensed product capital expense amortized over time. Whether the business is looking to an IP phone system, UC, the ability to add a new contact center, SIP trunking or Communications Platform as a Service (CPAAS) for building voice and SMS apps without requiring backend infrastructure, ShoreTel Connect can offer a single source for communications needs. ShoreTel Connect’s single code base also makes employee phone adds, changes and updates simple. With parity of features maintained across deployment, organizations can decide when, if and how they migrate to the cloud. They can safely choose a cloud solution from the start or transition to one as needs change with no risk to their original investment.
Employees (whether remote or in the office) can simultaneously use Connect’s intuitive interface to collaborate and communicate via the methods that work best for them--IM, to call, online meeting and video web desktop – which can be escalated with the touch of a button. The technology also offers integrations with other business applications for even greater productivity.
Robust Features for The Way Business Communicates Today
There are also many new features
in ShoreTel Connect. From even better calendar integration to enhanced video chat; Find Me, Follow Me; office anywhere and numerous others. Mac users also now get the same native functionality and features PC users have become accustomed to with ShoreTel. And employees working from home can now run their desktop client externally without the use of a VPN for even greater ease of use.
But, perhaps the biggest business benefit in Connect may be that with ShoreTel’s browser-based enterprise contact center (ECC), contact center deployment is easier than ever, making a call center a good option in any situation where the business wants to do inbound, outbound, email queueing, online chat or track metrics to get even more value. Consider an IT department answering calls to help employees with computer and printer issues, needing to report on call volume, speed of calls, etc. The organization can now add this, and other call centers to better address business needs. The ease of setup opens up a host of possibilities. And with ShoreTel, call centers are licensed based on concurrency, so if you have a ‘follow the sun model’ and a single ECC with multiple contact centers managed from the same system, you still only pay for one license and get three shifts.
And ShoreTel ECCs are built with the same resiliency the company is known for, with the ability to distribute contact center servers to go from contact center to ShoreTel workgroups, and workgroups to punt groups, depending on environment, to ensure calls are always delivered.
ShoreTel Connect’s administrative interface is overhauled as well with the ability to work in any browser. And advanced packet capture features can help IT to pinpoint on the spot, down to the phone/handset level, what’s impacting voice – is the problem the phone system, or more likely, the network its plugged into?
Sure, features are essential, but perhaps even more important is an intuitive interface that ensures they can be leveraged. Where other UC software providers are more focused on functionality and less on how users will interact with them, ShoreTel takes a different approach to make features accessible, easier to adopt and offer a better experience overall, much like interacting with Apple and other leaders in application design.
ShoreTel Connect’s intuitive, easier to manage interface also minimizes time and upkeep for administrators, inevitably enabling management costs to drop. Where, in many companies managing the phone system is a full time responsibility, ShoreTel Connect greatly simplifies the task. And at larger companies where a dedicated team might be required, fewer IT administrators are needed with ShoreTel. For instance, where five IT resources may be required to manage a system from a competing manufacturer at a large company, only one may be required for ShoreTel.
ShoreTel Connect pricing is comparable to other leading manufacturers, and on top of that organizations also get a system that scales—from 1 to 20,000 employees; a single site to hundreds; features that may not be required from day one but can be enabled at no extra charge down the road; an ecosystem of third party tools as organizational needs expand; flexible SIP trunks and more—backed by a leader with 20 years of experience.
For many organizations, upgrading to ShoreTel Connect is the last time (for the foreseeable future) that they need to buy a phone system, allowing them to think long-term. While ShoreTel promises competitive pricing and a fast ROI, total cost of ownership (TCO) may be just as important. And based on cost models and data from close to 300 companies with cloud and on-premises, Nemertes says ShoreTel has the lowest TCO in the industry from its five-year assessment.
“In ShoreTel’s case, the savings are sizable...We found that ShoreTel’s implementation costs are about the same or more than competitors, but research participants who used ShoreTel devoted fewer IT staff members to managing the solution and relationship than did those using competitors. Additionally, ShoreTel’s actual subscription costs were lower than competitors,” says the group.
Want to know more about upgrading? If you already have ShoreTel and an active support contract, upgrading to ShoreTel Connect is free and labor may be included; we’ll even assign a project manager, at ProTelesis, to make sure your transition is smooth.
If you currently have another system and are looking to make a change, we can fill you in on savings with the ‘Avaya Trade Up to ShoreTel program’ and other options for competitive systems or help you with installation and project management for a complete, turnkey solution and smooth transition from your existing to your new ShoreTel Connect UC system in only 30-45 days. Contact us today
either way to get ShoreTel Connect.
 How to Keep UCC Costs Down as Complexity Grows, Nemertes Research, 2016
 How to Keep UCC Costs Down as Complexity Grows, Nemertes Research, 2016