Digital transformation doesn't happen overnight
When Mitel acquired ShoreTel in 2017, they inherited not only a great premise solution but also a market-leading true multi-instance cloud solution. These solutions also shared a software platform, which made them unique in the market as they were the only solutions to allow customers to run a hybrid cloud solution with the same user experience. Additionally, Mitel had to take on board over 35,000 ShoreTel Premise customers and over 600 ShoreTel partners who provide technical support for those customers.
Despite Mitel’s noble goal of creating an interconnected cloud communication environment as part of the Business Digital Transformation trend, a large portion of the ShoreTel Premise customers remain comfortable with their existing phone solution and its roadmap. They just require continued access to new applications and features, while still receiving the same impeccable ShoreTel support from their partners.
The current situation with ShoreTel support partners
Although bigger partners with wider solution portfolios can sustain themselves during the acquisition, not all ShoreTel partners will survive it. There is no official data showing the ShoreTel Support net thinning out, but in the last eight months, we at LANtelligence have seen signs of it. For example, there’s been a noticeable increase in ShoreTel Support requests from new customers. What happened with ShoreTel Support Partners?
Here is what we heard through the grapevine:
- Many ShoreTel Support partners, whose businesses were solely dedicated to providing ShoreTel Premise solutions to small-to-medium ShoreTel Premise customers, are struggling to change with the market.
- Direct Enterprise Support has struggled with all the changes, and customers have started looking for a better support experience with partners that bring a larger skill set and expertise to the support partnership.
- Partners, whose limited in-house engineering resources make it difficult to provide support beyond tier 1 tickets, have started to focus on different UCaaS brands.
- Many older partners do not plan to make the future digital transition.
There is a small group of legacy ShoreTel Partners who still maintain their expertise in ShoreTel Support for older versions of ShoreTel software as well as the newest ShoreTel Connect ONSITE and CLOUD (a.k.a. MiCloud Connect). These companies have a long history of partnerships with ShoreTel, having evolved along with ShoreTel all the way through the merger with Mitel. LANtelligence is one of these companies.
ShoreTel was one of the fastest-developing UCaaS providers in the industry and drove their technological evolution in a direction which allowed all ShoreTel Premise customers to comfortably migrate to the cloud or a hybrid solution. They announced the End of Sales and End of Life of the 14.2 platform back in January 2017, giving their customers 18 months to prepare. Nine months later, Mitel acquired ShoreTel and announced ShoreTel Connect to be one of their flagship platforms moving forward.
Just as with any massive change, this acquisition resulted in significant shifts in staffing, development strategy, partner relations and support. The long-lasting routine was disturbed by this drastic change, and it took over six months to bring it back to order. This was enough for some of ShoreTel Partners to change their business route.
Mitel embraces ShoreTel premise customers
When they acquired Shoretel, Mitel realized that they had other important business besides building the best modern cloud communications platform. They had to take care of many ShoreTel Premise customers who still seek support for their perfectly functional systems.
On April 5, 2018, Mitel announced an extension of ShoreTel 14.2 software for another 20 months, giving customers more time to plan out their future solution requirements. The related hardware requirements stayed in place as the newer applications would require more processing power than the 10+ year old hardware could provide. What’s more, newer releases of the Connect software support virtualization of almost all applications, giving customers flexibility moving forward. Mitel has provided ShoreTel Premise customers more time to prepare and migrate their communication system to the next level.
Only experienced and diverse long-term ShoreTel partners can support customers on this journey. As one of those partners, LANtelligence has a dedicated team of ShoreTel engineers who perform regular system health checks and meet all ongoing support requirements. This includes pro-active engagement with customers on the latest features and applications that can improve their organizations.
See the brochure below for more details on ShoreTel Support coverage for Premise customers.