SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Sheila McGee-Smith
Sheila McGee-Smith, who founded McGee-Smith Analytics in 2001, is a leading communications industry analyst and strategic consultant focused on the...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Sheila McGee-Smith | August 20, 2015 |

 
   

ShoreTel Broadens Cloud Contact Center Story

ShoreTel Broadens Cloud Contact Center Story Company pushes well beyond inbound voice with new cloud offering, ShoreTel Connect Contact Center.

Company pushes well beyond inbound voice with new cloud offering, ShoreTel Connect Contact Center.

Being the contact center geek that I am, my news alerts focus on the latest and greatest customer experience items. On the morning of Aug. 18, I tweeted "@DonJoos CEO of @ShoreTel rang the @NASDAQ bell because of #ContactCenter!" and provided a link to the company's press release on the new ShoreTel Connect Contact Center solution. At least an hour had passed before I realized ShoreTel had issued another release, announcing the availability of ShoreTel Connect, the company's anticipated communications solution with onsite, cloud, and hybrid deployment models.

While the NASDAQ marketing event was likely driven by the broader ShoreTel Connect news, the contact center story is pretty exciting as well.

As Ed Wright, director of product management at ShoreTel, shared with me when we spoke, "If we took the Connect announcement out of the picture, and I just said that ShoreTel is moving from having a voice-only cloud contact center solution to offering multichannel on a single pane of glass, that alone would be a big announcement." Agreed.

The table, below, tells the story. Before this week's announcement, if a ShoreTel customer wanted a cloud contact center solution, it got it through ShoreTel Sky, a platform based on Callfinity technology ShoreTel gained through the 2012 acquisition of M5 Networks, which had earlier bought Callfinity. The Sky Contact Center only supports inbound voice routing. Now, as you can see in the table, all of the capabilities available with the ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center are available for onsite and cloud deployment.

portable

The change in feature set should help ShoreTel better meet the needs of larger companies wanting to move to the cloud. Today the average number of agents supported with ShoreTel's premises-based contact center is 50. In the cloud, with a much simpler solution, that number has been 20 to 25 agents, Wright noted.

The change in cloud functionality will alter how ShoreTel competes for contact center business in some areas, but not others, Wright said.

ShoreTel still anticipates competing against Avaya and Cisco for premises deployments, as always. But the new opportunity comes in the cloud, he said, where companies like 8x8 and RingCentral have been the "liveliest" UC-as-a-service (UCaaS) competitors and, as described on No Jitter, have been working hard in 2015 to improve their contact center offerings. Indeed, ShoreTel Connect Contact Center will certainly compete more effectively with these UCaaS competitors and their upgraded contact center solutions.

ShoreTel sees the primary target for ShoreTel Connect Contact Center as companies that are interested in UCaaS and in need of a powerful contact center, Wright emphasized. But he also said he believes it is conceivable that a 30-, 40-, or 50-agent contact center with an old but serviceable PBX will look to ShoreTel as it considers cloud alternatives. Today such a prospect might look at inContact or Five9, but the advantage that ShoreTel can offer is cloud contact center today and seamless integration to UCaaS when the company is ready.

With ShoreTel, hybrid deployment of contact center remains more of a future than a delivered capability. Today, for example, a Connect Onsite customer with 40 agents is not able to add five email agents via Connect Cloud. In ShoreTel Connect "1.0," ShoreTel CTO Pankaj Malhotra explained, a customer contact center either has to be completely premises-based or in the cloud.

The design philosophy for future releases is to make applications themselves more hybrid, but ShoreTel has not yet released a specific roadmap or timeline.

Follow Sheila McGee-Smith on Twitter and Google+!
@McGeeSmith
Sheila McGee-Smith on Google+





COMMENTS



August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.