ShoreTel Puts More Cloud Services Revenues In Partners' Hands With PartnerStart Program

For the first time, unified communications (UC) provider ShoreTel is letting partners take more ownership and earn more revenue when installing ShoreTel Connect Cloud services.

By turning over cloud-based installations to solution providers, ShoreTel partners will be able to differentiate their services and provide better customer support from the very beginning of the sales process, according to Don Gulling, president of Verteks Consulting, Inc., an Ocala, Fla.-based solution provider and ShoreTel Gold partner.

"ShoreTel is letting us increase our value to customers by offering additional services," he said. "ShoreTel is doubling down on partners by even taking money out of their own pockets and letting their partners make that money."

[Related: Red Sox IT Leader Talks Digitizing Fenway Park, MLB's Cybersecurity Push And The Role Solution Providers Play]

Sponsored post

Prior to the PartnerStart program, Partners had to hand off customers to ShoreTel, which would handle the installation of cloud-based services. Partners didn't have any control over the timing or project management of installations for ShoreTel's cloud-based services, Gulling said.

Harbor Networks, a telecommunications solution provider and ShoreTel Platinum partner has been handling premises-based ShoreTel UC installations for its end customers. Now, the Framingham, Mass.-based partner will be able to handle cloud-based installations, too, said Greg Bertschmann, President and CEO of Harbor Networks.

"We do all of this work for onsite installations, so it's right in line with what we already have experience doing and what customers expect from us," Bertschmann said.

ShoreTel offers premises-based, cloud and hybrid UC deployment models. Through PartnerStart, solution providers will be able to handle installation for all three models, he said.

"We as the partner can manage the whole process now," Bertschmann said. "The experience for end users of cloud services is going to be so much better, and we're really excited about it."

PartnerStart solution providers will serve as the end customer's single point of contact during installation, and a main point of contact during the life of their ShoreTel contract for their cloud services.

Through its latest partner program, ShoreTel is proving its commitment to the channel and demonstrating the importance of its partners, Verteks Consulting's Gulling said.

That's because putting partners in charge of the install, and allowing partners to bill for it, means that ShoreTel is giving up that revenue that it once collected for cloud-based UC installations and turning it over to its channel partners, he said.

"Partners are much more in control with [PartnerStart], and now we can differentiate ourselves among other ShoreTel Partners because we can include whatever we want to include, like onsite training, and just be able to take better care of the customer," he added.

The PartnerStart program requires certification, and each qualified partner will be assigned a ShoreTel project manager as its main point of contact, if needed, ShoreTel said in a statement about PartnerStart released on Tuesday.