ShoreTel Stakes Claim as the Alternative to Complexity

by Matt Klassen on April 19, 2011

It seems like everyday across North America we’re hearing news of the continued economic recovery, but the reality is that money is still tight and budgets are still being slashed in an effort to get them balanced. This continued financial insecurity has led many companies to realize that they simply don’t have the same resources they once did to spend on their business communication needs, forcing them to look instead for more affordable solutions; and its this new focus that has rocketed ShoreTel to the forefront of the market.

Increasingly public companies in the education and government sectors are turning away from market incumbents like Cisco and Avaya, seeking out other companies that offer significant cost-savings along with a feature-rich unified communications solution, companies like ShoreTel, who clearly relishes its roll as the simple and affordable alternative to the “big boys.”

In fact, over the past two years ShoreTel has seen a 60 percent growth in its public sector clients, a market that now constitutes over 20 percent of ShoreTel’s overall revenues. Couple this with the fact that ShoreTel has been consistently partnering with key Avaya distributors and stealing away Cisco clients, and the California-based VoIP provider is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with.

It was 2008, in the midst of the economic crisis in America, when a small school district in Wisconsin finally said enough was enough with their Cisco business phone system. Not only was the cost of the overall system putting considerable strain on the district’s meagre budget, but add to that yearly support fees and the fact that Cisco refused to offer their customer’s buyout options until 60 days till the end of the lease, it was time for a change.

As the district priced out their options two surprising companies topped the list, Mitel and ShoreTel, the former being a complete unknown in the American market. It was then that the small Wisconsin school district decided to hire ShoreTel to manage its business communication needs, a decision that saved the district a whopping $54,000 over the course of a five year lease while also offering the option of buyout going into the final year of the deal.

While there’s nothing particularly special about this small school district or its choice of communication providers, when its choices are becoming increasingly indicative of those made by public sectors companies, Avaya and Cisco better start paying attention lest they find themselves losing many of their key public sector clients.

For its part, ShoreTel is embracing its roll as the affordable underdog, advertising itself as the alternative to the complexity of other systems; the simple, cost-effective solution that doesn’t skimp on the features or the service. Simply put, ShoreTel allows its customers to do more with less.

It is this anti-complexity message that makes up the foundation of ShoreTel’s marketing drive, a concept that is resonating loud and clear with public sector clients across the continent. While I would wager that ShoreTel’s simplicity-and-affordability message doesn’t have Avaya and Cisco shaking in their boots, I would say that both companies are now realizing that ShoreTel isn’t going away, meaning that I would expect to see a similar marketing pitch from both companies in the near future.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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