Those of you at ShoreTel’s partner conference earlier this month learned the inside scoop about our business strategy and roadmap for the years ahead. While we talked a lot about our future plans for cloud and mobility, we also honed our focus on what it means to be “Brilliantly Simple.” This is so much more than a tagline for ShoreTel – it’s who we are and what we offer. It’s how we approach the experience we deliver to our customers and partners and it’s also what will propel us ahead as our industry continues to change at warp speed.
We shall see more change in our industry in the next 24 months than any other time since the initial introduction of voice over IP; it is that dramatic.
Allow me to explain what I see happening in the UC industry. In the business world there are three things that ultimately drive change:
1) New technology.
2) New business models.
3) Outside influences – specifically, end-user expectations around how they prefer to accomplish individual tasks.
We are at an inflection point. To a certain degree, the unified communications industry is still in its infancy. And as I look forward, it is clear that cloud-based UC solutions are an increasingly viable solution for many customers. I see a world emerging where customers will have the option of not only choosing between premise- or cloud-based Unified Communications solutions but also the ability to choose both in an integrated solution leveraging the combined advantages of cloud and premise.
Moving forward, we want to make sure that we’re providing the ultimate in choice to our customers. With our top-rated premise solution as well as our hosted ShoreTel Sky solution, we are looking to innovate in the space between these solutions and offer the best of both. We are the only business communications provider who is perfectly positioned to put UC apps in the cloud and make them available to premise-based customers.
To seize this opportunity, we are building a hybrid architecture approach, called ShoreTel Connect, which will bring cloud apps and services to on-premise customers. Applications such as ShoreTel Mobility, voice mail transcription or email-based fax services, will be available as cloud services. This is the future of true hybrid solutions.
As with everything we do, ShoreTel Connect sprung from the need to give customers a choice in deployment models along with growth and expansion options. If a business prefers to remain with an on-premise solution, ShoreTel Connect will offer a path that allows the enterprise to enable specific cloud-based applications or services that will augment their existing premise-based solution. The two different delivery models are no longer an either/or equation. The customer can achieve the best of both.
ShoreTel’s focus is on meeting the needs of all user types; IT users, end-users and the business at large. Traditionally tech-focused solution providers have been guilty of providing solutions that ”check the boxes” to meet the required feature set but are too complicated and fail the ultimate test of user adoption. At ShoreTel, we are obsessively focused on customer satisfaction and team productivity, and, as a result, we are driven to lead in the three key areas that define business success and in the unified communications industry:
1) End-user focus. Ignore this at your own peril.
2) Mobility. Work is no longer a location; it’s an activity.
3) Cloud/SaaS model. Some analysts are saying the cloud market will nearly equal the premise market by 2015 – in three years time.
You will see in the year ahead that ShoreTel is increasingly committed to each of these areas. Productivity needs a new generation of collaboration toolsets. Users are demanding systems that are simple and intuitive. There is a role for premise; it is not going to go away. There is an increasingly large role for cloud and ShoreTel is leading the way by offering ultimate choice in premise and cloud solutions, so the user is assured a brilliantly simple experience – always.