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Transcend United has had success with ShoreTel particularly in the midmarket where it also sells Avaya's UC products, and also with ShoreTel Mobility, which Transcend's Hirsh said ShoreTel has rolled out more aggressively through partners after initially launching it with a direct sales push. Transcend also has pilots out for Sky, the rebranded M5 platform, Hirsh said, and what he'd like to see now is a clearer picture from ShoreTel on how the various platforms will converge and how the channel should approach that.
"Give a road map," he said. "I've got customers, some with 50 sites, manufacturing plants, for example, or retail locations with a few users, or people in their home office. It's spread in all sorts of different work groups so what is the solution from ShoreTel that can work across all of those modalities? That's where ShoreTel has a strong opportunity especially in the midmarket, because they're offering a robust hosted platform and a robust on-premise platform."'
For all the questions that remain about how ShoreTel will do that, solution providers said the company's done a good job communicating with partners this year and getting updates on the cloud integration out at the right pace.
"A day after the acquisition was announced, [ShoreTel CMO] Kevin Gavin got on the phone with the higher-level partners and told us that ShoreTel had done their due diligence, and that the integration and time line was to be determined," Verteks' Gulling said. "They've been open about that this was going to be a slower process and dealing as best they can with the expected impatience from the partners."
Added Gulling: "[ShoreTel CEO] Peter Blackmore said that product quality was going to be the No. 1 priority, and he's shown that they do think that way."
"The thing I am liking -- and it's happening more quickly than I thought it would -- is this discussion of a common road map," said Sheila McGee-Smith, principal analyst with McGee-Smith Analytics. "In the contact center piece, for example, you still have two very distinct offers for the two businesses, hosted and on-premise. But, it sounds like this is coming together more quickly than a lot of people expected."