About this blog

News and analysis of developments in the enterprise communication industry and market with primary focus on Europe.

The author aims to tap into ideas, insights and thoughts of the readers to get varied perspectives.

Views expressed in this blog are solely the author's opinion and in no way reflect those of his employer.

Monday, April 16, 2007

ShoreTel-The world is Orange

One of the leading IP PBX players in the United States, ShoreTel, has been slowly developing a footprint in Europe. Armed with a strong team, interesting product, and granular pricing-the vendor has already established footprints in UK, Spain, Benelux, Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland.
I saw a demo done by Jerome Joanny, their International Product Manager. Honestly, from what I saw- their solution is very easy to use, simple and user friendly. Although, I didnot test the whole range of features it became obvious that the solution was designed keeping the user in mind. Jeremy showed us their new feature- ring back tone. He said their product development team is working very hard to bring in mobile phone type features and functionalities into the PBX.

ShoreTel solution fits the 100-200 user segment very nicely. Steve Timmerman, VP of Marketing believes that his product is a good fit for a wide segment of the market. Their a-la-carte pricing model allows customers to buy as they grow. With close to 56 partners in EMEA, ShoreTel is aiming to build a momentum. The vendor has successfully leveraged the reach of service providers such as British Telecom in Spain.

One of the USPs of ShoreTel is around customer satisfaction. Although, I haven't delved into the details of how they get it measured, the passion in their team to uphold the levels of customer satisfaction and beat it is quite incredible. In my numerous discussion over the last couple of years, I have consistently seen this message come across. I must say that overtime it has become powerful.

Although they are a strong player in the US, ShoreTel faces the same challenges as most small players in Europe. They are trying to consolidate their resources and gain traction, with customer satisfaction in mind. Ken Bailey their EMEA Marketing Manager pointed out the criticality of channel development. They are predominantly two-tiered except for Germany and their growth rate is dependent on the selection of the best-fit channel. In the last few months, ShoreTel has been active in the Nordics-led by Justine Cross. They have not only recruited two VADs but also have gained some customers.

I think that ShoreTel faces competition from BCM 50/200, Cisco ISR & Call Manager Express, Hipath 4000, Avaya IP office, Ericsson MD Evolution, Alcatel OmniPCX office, Inter-Tel 5000/7000 amongst others. Between them, shipments account for in excess of 2 million lines in the 100-200 user segment in Europe. From top of my head, the market size of 50-250 user segment in Europe is approximately 28 million lines. IP penetration in this segment is in low teens. If we buy ShoreTel's message that their TCO is lower than Cisco, Avaya and Nortel and that their customer satisfaction is the highest, their solution is a good bet. I recommend ShoreTel to greenfield sites and organisations that have a clear IP adoption strategy.

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