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Learn about the discontinuation of some Cisco and Mitel products for the SMB market and how ShoreTel is the right choice for business telephony. Nemertes Research provides recent comparative costs and TCO findings.
ShoreTel Emerges as Lowest Cost Vendor for IPT And UC
- ShoreTel had the lowest costs - for both First Year Costs and Overall Costs
- ShoreTel proved most affordable for <350 endpoints
as well as >350 endpoints categories
- ShoreTel was 10% more affordable than the second place vendor
- ShoreTel was over 30% more affordable than the average of the vendors
Download the Report Here
Busy Wisconsin nonprofit implements ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center to cut complexity, reduce costs, and improve employee productivity.
In Wisconsin, the phrase “call before you dig” really means something. In fact, the state has a statute requiring that anyone planning to excavate in any capacity must first contact Diggers Hotline. This one-call center has helped millions of callers obtain information on the location of underground facilities and safe working distances from overhead lines, absolutely free of charge.
Diggers Hotline is a nonprofit organization that was established in 1976 to help ensure continuity of utility and communications services, to prevent damage to underground and overhead facilities, and to increase worker and public safety. The information received during caller interactions is quickly processed and passed along to affected utility companies.
Today, Diggers Hotline handles around half a million call requests each year, any hour of any day, via incoming calls from professional excavators, utilities, and homeowners. Contact center representatives process a “locate ticket” for each incoming dig inquiry. The organization’s goal is to answer at least 80 percent of all calls within 30 seconds, but the team regularly exceeds that objective with service levels in the 90 percentile.
“Our company is based on communications—without it, we wouldn’t have a business. All calls from excavators doing projects in Wisconsin come in through our hotline to the contact center 24 hours a day so reliability and ease of use are critical,” explains Mike Meyer, Manager of IT Services at Diggers Hotline.
Excavating Costly CallCenter Communications
In 2005, in conjunction with a move to a new home office building, Diggers Hotline built its phone technology on a Cisco VoIP system, along with an ASC recorder solution for its contact center needs. Also in the communications environment was an IEX TotalView workforce management system intended to help forecast staffing needs. Diggers Hotline had a support contract for its VoIP system with another vendor that was quite costly.
“We were only relatively happy with the phone system in place, and then it went end-of-life and end-of-service, forcing us to deal with an upgrade or replacement solution. To move forward with Cisco as our vendor, we would first need to purchase all new Linux servers and then upgrade the Cisco software. The support agreement we had in place was very expensive. We realized we could buy a whole new system for around same price, get more features and flexibility, and be better supported,” say Meyer.
Top priorities for a new VoIP platform included reliability, ease of use and simpler administration, and dependable support. Another consideration was that a replacement solution would still need to support hot desking, a technology that allows users to log in at any phone rather than having assigned seats and desktops. Meyer evaluated new solutions from ShoreTel, Avaya, and Cisco. During his research, he came across a third-party solution integrator, Converged Technology Professionals, a ShoreTel Certified Gold Partner and Customer Satisfaction Award winner.
“Diggers Hotline is actually required by Wisconsin State Statute to be operational 24/7. We needed to be able to design, implement, and cut over to a new communications solution without affecting the contact center’s ability to receive calls and manage the ticketing process. ShoreTel offered the reliability and simplicity we were looking for, as well as all the built-in cost efficiencies. Converged Technology Professionals was
more than willing to take on this huge project with only 30 days to implement. The first time we talked to Joe Rittenhouse and Chris Frey at Converged, we knew that they would be able to deliver the project the way we needed. We really got something special with ShoreTel and Converged Technology—great partner and support, great technology and stability, and a great price,” Meyer details.
Digging into Greater Cost Efficiencies and Support
Diggers Hotline selected a ShoreTel Solution that included ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center for lower overall costs and a better customer experience. For highest voice clarity and reliability, ShoreTel IP Phones and ShoreTel Voice Switches are also part of the UC solution.
Designed to accommodate dynamic contact center requirements, Enterprise Contact Center provides a communications platform with built-in business intelligence, universal queuing, enterprise resource matching, and all the tools needed to create a powerful, flexible call center solution. Enterprise Contact Center enables Diggers Hotline call agents to communicate easily and effectively. Supervisors are able to view dashboards, create meaningful reports on the fly, and benefit from unified management capabilities at their fingertips. Presence features, screen pops with customer details, and a unified desktop simplify center operations, even during high call volumes.
ShoreTel’s open standards and highly available distributed platform provide for seamless integration with major business and custom applications, built-in redundancy and virtualization support for greater business continuity. Combined with advanced disaster recovery features in Enterprise Contact Center, the ShoreTel UC system promotes greater uptime, and protection from WAN and system failures.
Converged Technology Professionals coordinated a very successful deployment, integrating ShoreTel with Microsoft Outlook, working with OAISYS for call recording solutions, and ShoreTel Professional Services for the IEX workforce management integration. The OAISYS solution is using a custom script that creates incoming call ticketing identification to be placed into the call recording, which then sends back a link to the ticket management system used by Diggers Hotline.
Putting the new ShoreTel platform into production would require a swift cutover and no issues. “We went from introduction to implementation in 30 days. Diggers Hotline has a 24/7 call center with hot desking login for 100 agents. The agents were standing by when we did the cutover, ready to log back on in a very short time. ShoreTel’s simplicity and architecture really contributed to our success,” explains Chris Frey, the solutions consultant at Converged Technology Professionals.
Benefiting from Significant Cost Savings
Diggers Hotline now operates an exceedingly efficient, agile call center, with brilliantly simple and intuitive collaboration features on the front end, and a highly reliable, scalable architecture at the core. Meyer recognizes that the organization now has a lower total cost of structure, better functionality, and worry-free support.
“Any IT overhauls can be nerve wracking, but when we can’t afford downtime or cutover issues, the pressure grows. We definitely hired the right partner and we definitely chose the right UC platform for our goals. I was surprised how easy it was to get the ShoreTel system up and running,” discloses Meyer.
The organization has saved on its capital equipment budget, as well as operational expenditures, to lower the total cost of ownership. ShoreTel’s advanced multimedia capabilities and all-in-one contact center solution helps simplify round-the-clock business activities to improve productivity and reduce administrative demands.
“We don’t have the reliability issues or complications of the past, and can even make most of the changes ourselves. And we’ve absolutely seen savings—in annual support costs, in management time, and overall operation of the phone system,” he finishes.
Converged Technology Professionals, a nationally-recognized, award-winning unified communications and mobility solutions provider, today announced it has achieved a Silver Small Business competency, demonstrating its ability to meet Microsoft Corp. customers’ evolving needs in today’s dynamic business environment. To earn a Microsoft silver competency, partners must successfully demonstrate expertise through rigorous exams, culminating in Microsoft certifications. And to ensure the highest quality of services, Microsoft requires customer references for successful implementation and customer satisfaction.
Converged Technology Professionals’ expertise in cloud solutions and telecommunications integration makes them a clear choice for voice, data, or cloud needs. Converged ensures customers receive the best possible experience by delivering expert installation, recurring training opportunities, and world-class customer support.
“It is an honor to receive the Microsoft Sliver Small Business competency. It serves as a testament to our expertise in today’s technology market and demonstrates our knowledge of Microsoft and its products,” said Eric Peterson, President of Operations at Converged Technology Professionals. Our objective has always been to serve our customers as technology advisers for their business demands. The Microsoft competency validates our commitment and capabilities to prospective customers.”
“By achieving a silver competency, organizations have proven their expertise in specific technology areas, placing them among the top 5 percent of Microsoft partners worldwide,” said Phil Sorgen, corporate vice president, Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft Corp. “When customers look for an IT partner to meet their business challenges, choosing a company that has attained Microsoft competencies is a smart move. These are highly qualified professionals with access to Microsoft technical support and product teams.”
Earning the Microsoft Small Business competency demonstrates partner expertise and commitment to deliver solutions tailored to Small Business customer requirements. Given the focus on adoption of Cloud computing by over 50% of SMBs in the near future to drive their business operations, partners that invest in this competency are ready to address the rising customer demand for Microsoft cloud solutions based on Office 365, Windows 8, Windows Small Business Server, Windows Intune and CRM Online.
The Microsoft Partner Network helps partners strengthen their capabilities to showcase leadership in the marketplace on the latest technology, to better serve customers and, with 640,000 Microsoft partners in their ecosystem, to easily connect with one of the most active, diverse networks in the world.
Converged Technology Professionals, Inc. announced today its recognition by ShoreTel, a leading provider of brilliantly simple unified communications (UC) solutions, for their outstanding achievement in customer satisfaction and loyalty. ShoreTel uses the globally recognized Net Promoter Score (NPS®) to evaluate customer experience, encourage improvements, and reinforce customer loyalty. Converged Technology Professionals garnered an NPS score of 94. An NPS score of 50 is considered excellent. At 94, Converged Technology Professionals surpasses what is considered world-class customer care and satisfaction. This marks the sixth consecutive year that Converged has received this award from ShoreTel.
“Your consistent performance in delivering an exceptional all-around customer experience is a tribute to your dedication to our ShoreTel customers. It is partners like you who ensure customers are not only satisfied, but are loyal to ShoreTel and our products and services,” said Don Joos, President and CEO of ShoreTel. A company-wide dedication to excellence in all phases of a new phone system installation is required to earn an NPS score of 94. Reflecting on his experience with Converged, Nathan R. Hibschman, Network Administrator at South Bend Orthopaedics, stated “What an unbelievable change from what we have been used to, again thank you. Please keep sending me potential clients, we have nothing but good things to say.”
From installation to training, Converged ensures that the phone system works as promised and that staff understands the features and functionality that the unified communications system offers. “We consider our customers our partners. We are committed to serving our customers over the lifetime of their investment and approach our relationship as a trusted advisor. Our NPS rating speaks to this,” said Chris Frey, Vice President of Operations at Converged Technology Professionals.
The continued growth and evolution of unified communications presents new opportunities for Converged Technology Professionals. Cloud services have become a viable option for voice and multimedia communications. In January Converged became a ShoreTel Cloud Division Partner and offers ShoreTel Sky, a cloud-based business phone service, as an alternative to premise-based phone systems. Converged will continue to deliver award-winning support by remaining dedicated to its core business principles. “As our industry evolves and adopts new delivery methods for unified communications, Converged will remain firm in our commitment to provide the very best customer service,” said Joe Rittenhouse, President of Business Development at Converged Technology Professionals.
The Customer Satisfaction Award includes Asia, Europe, Australia and North America. It includes the reporting period from October 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014.
Converged Technology Professionals, Inc., announced today the reception of the Premium Reseller Partner Award from SJS Solutions Ltd., a leading provider of contact center optimization software and solutions. Candidates for the Premium Reseller Partner Award were selected from those partners committed to helping their customers create the very best environment for contact center agents.
By integrating ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center (ECC) software with SJS Solutions wallboard offerings, Converged provided advanced multimedia call center solutions and data visualization functionality. The sophisticated real-time management and reporting tools enabled performance analysis of individual call center agents as well as entire departments. Visual metrics coupled with advanced call routing, provided by ShoreTel ECC, proved to be an award winning combination for Converged.
Stephen Pace, CEO at SJS Solutions, stated, “It is a great pleasure to award Converged with the SJS Solutions Premium Reseller Award. At SJS Solutions we have proven that by deploying, easy to configure, dynamic and engaging wallboard solutions customers very quickly start to enjoy improvements in call handling performance, agent motivation and ultimately customer loyalty. It was clear from the start that Converged understood this and were happy to highlight these benefits to their contact center customers and make our wallboard products a part of every contact center tender. We look forward to working with more Converged contact center clients and hope to repeat the success of recent deployments.”
The award confirms Converged Technology Professionals’ commitment to supporting its call center and contact center customer base. Chris Frey, Vice President of Operations at Converged Technology Professionals, Inc., stated, “We are honored to receive the Premium Reseller Partner Award from SJS. We share a commitment to delivering world class customer care and both cherish the customer loyalty we have earned. We will continue working with SJS to provide solutions that improve our customers’ unified communications experience.”
The Premium Reseller Partner Award includes territories within Asia, Europe, North America, Middle East, and Africa. It includes the reporting period from April 1, 2013 through April 1, 2014.
Converged Technology Professionals’ purchase of WeVault, LLC represents the company’s further commitment to cloud solutions. With more than 100,000 end users supported and an average of 600 new user account signups every month, WeVault is one of the fastest-growing cloud based disaster recovery solutions in the Midwest.
More than half of WeVault’s customers are using the software to backup premise-based ShoreTel installations while others are using it as a tool to compliment disaster recovery planning. Its tremendous popularity, especially among the IT sector, brings a significant community of new clients to the Converged Technology Professionals family. The combination of CT-PROS and WeVault is expected to grow Converged Technology Professionals’ cloud audience by 50 percent in 2014.
WeVault will continue to be independently operated as a separate business. The products, services, and brands will continue to be defined and developed separately with the same commitment to bring solutions that meet the needs of the emerging cloud base.
The acquisition offers unique opportunities for both companies. Through Converged Technology Professionals’ status as a Cloud Enabled Gold Champion Partner, WeVault can deploy ShoreTel Sky, a cloud-based phone system and unified communications solution. In turn, WeVault brings the infrastructure and software to provide cloud backup services to Converged’s growing premise base as well as its emerging cloud business models. Additionally, the two companies will work together to create advertising opportunities that are integrated and combine services that enhance the user experience.
"WeVault has created a niche market and is gaining market share month over month," said Joe Rittenhouse, President of Business Development at Converged Technology Professionals. "On the surface WeVault and CT-PROS are very different business entities, but together they provide complimentary services that benefit the combined customer base. Both Converged and WeVault are all about taking care of the customer and delivering unmatched operational experience. We look forward to seeing our established and emerging brands flourish as a result of this merger.”
Converged Technology Professionals, Inc. made a donation in lieu of gifts to its customers this year to Make-A-Wish Illinois. Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. The donation this year helped a twelve-year old boy named Ben. Ben was recently diagnosed with a blood disorder which resulted in a bone marrow transplant. His wish was to travel to London. Make-A-Wish transported Ben and his family to the airport in a limousine, where they began Ben’s adventure. He toured London in a double-decker bus and saw Big Ben, the Tower of London, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and saw spectacular views of London from atop the London Eye Ferris wheel. Ben’s mom wrote about the trip, “We had such a wonderful time and are so grateful to Make-A-Wish. Thank you! This was awesome for our whole family. Ben really deserved a week about him.”
Chris Frey, Vice President of Operations at Converged Technology Professionals, Inc. stated, “We are very proud of the contribution we made to Make-A-Wish. We are grateful for our customers for giving us the opportunity to support such an inspirational organization. We have a strong commitment to serving our community at CT-Pros and Make-A-Wish grants wishes to the children in our community that need them the most.”
Inspired by the efforts of Make-A-Wish Illinois, Converged Technology Professionals, Inc. gave its employees the option to earn paid time off for time spent volunteering in the community. The program was adopted enthusiastically by their employees and community service and involvement are now thoroughly embedded in the company’s culture.
Chris Frey added, “Everyone should make an effort to help out great organizations like Make-A-Wish. We’ve made it a part of our culture, because it supports a stronger more involved community and workforce. Volunteering, lending a hand to those who need help, are transformative behaviors that cultivate strong moral convictions.”
Converged Technology Professionals, Inc. expands its product offerings to include ShoreTel virtual switches. The ability to virtualize key applications is delivered through this fully complementary addition to ShoreTel’s distributed architecture. It supports customers taking advantage of virtualized infrastructure benefits like server consolidation, increased security, operational flexibility and higher applications availability. Virtual switches are especially useful during planned and unplanned downtime - in order to better-achieve cost savings and business continuity objectives.
Every company experiences unique needs from their communication systems. ShoreTel provides customers the choice to pick the deployment model that best suits their needs--offering the ultimate flexibility via "mix-and-match" implementation options across a distributed architectural platform. Customers can choose to implement ShoreTel purpose-built appliances, virtualized applications, or combinations of both.
“The addition of virtualized switch technology really allows the ShoreTel system great flexibility in deployment and comprehensive solutions for disaster recovery. Instead of deploying appliances as traditionally done, the organization’s investment in virtualization can be leveraged for phone, SIP, and conferencing resources. The built-in capabilities of the hypervisor will allow the system to survive any number of different types of outages. We’re very excited about virtualized switches and delivering our customers more awesome,” said Eric Peterson, President of Operations at Converged Technology Professionals, Inc.
ShoreTel Unified Communications Platform applications, including call control, collaboration and system administration, can be installed on industry-standard x86 servers located in a data center or on-premises. These applications are virtualized enhancements of core-software embedded onto signature ShoreTel Voice Switches and ShoreTel Service Appliance hardware. Unlike other phone system providers who force a choice to deploy your entire system with either hardware-based or virtual appliances, ShoreTel's unique distributed architecture allows for "mix-and-match" implementation--all managed via a single Web-based interface.
Customers who have already invested in ShoreTel solid-state appliances can add new services via virtualization and the integrity of the single-image administration will be maintained. Customers can choose to deploy the core UC Platform software virtually, yet can also back-up the solution with physical ShoreTel Voice Switches. Customers already invested in data-center virtualization - yet who want to maintain local PSTN connectivity for remote offices - can deploy a mixed system: virtualized at headquarters, with ShoreTel Voice Switches in the field.
ShoreTel partners with VMware to deliver the fully-virtualized ShoreTel experience including Unified Communications Platform, system administration, Unified Messaging, Enterprise Contact Center and ShoreTel Collaboration.
Running ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center in a virtual environment dramatically benefits customers. When deployed on shared hardware resources in a data center, VMware Ready certified Enterprise Contact Center not only provides complete multimedia and outbound capabilities, they also ensure high-levels of application availability with improved operational effectiveness and reduced hardware and energy costs - all thanks to its efficient, effective use of the VMware platform.
Converged Technology Professionals, a long standing reseller within the ShoreTel Champion Partner Program, announced today it is now offering ShoreTel Sky® solutions to its customers, joining the Enabled tier of the Champion Partner Program - Cloud track. ShoreTel® (NASDAQ: SHOR), the leading provider of brilliantly simple™ phone systems and unified communications solutions, recently expanded its innovative Champion Partner Program with a focus on cloud communications.
The Champion Partner Program is designed to enable solution providers with UC expertise to provide leading cloud-based, end-to-end solutions to their customers and prospects.
"ShoreTel recently announced the addition of cloud tiers to the Champion Partner Program that enable our channel partners to take advantage of one of the fastest growing communications segments,” said Heather Bennett, vice president of worldwide channel programs and sales enablement at ShoreTel. “We’re pleased that Converged Technology Professionals is one of the first to expand their portfolio into the cloud. They have a commitment to sales and technical training, infrastructure development, and a focus on customer service."
"As a ShoreTel Sky Enabled Partner, CT-Pros can leverage our extensive experience and expertise in the installation and training of new ShoreTel Sky accounts. Controlling the entire deployment lifecycle ensures that our customers’ transition to ShoreTel Sky is smooth and productive from day one," said Eric Peterson, President of Operations at Converged Technology Professionals, Inc.
Since ShoreTel’s first product shipment in 1998, customer satisfaction has been a top business priority, and ShoreTel partners are required to adhere to it as a primary business value. Customers who purchase ShoreTel solutions rank their product above other manufacturers for technology, ease of use, management, customer service, solution experience, product features, and performance. Converged Technology Professionals is committed to satisfying future customers, helping contribute to ShoreTel’s world-class satisfaction scores.
Existing and new partners can now take advantage of fast growing cloud communications segment
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- ShoreTel ® SHOR +0.02% , the leading provider of brilliantly simple™ phone systems and unified communications solutions, today expanded its innovative Champion Partner Program with a focus on cloud communications. ShoreTel is the first UC provider to offer channel partners a simple, customizable and lucrative program for growing and differentiating their cloud communications business and to enable partners to accommodate the growing demand by end-users for cloud services.
The Champion Partner Programis designed to foster a qualified channel of UC leaders with unique expertise in providing businesses with ShoreTel's end-to-end communications products and services. The program now includes cloud partner tiers that enable existing and future ShoreTel channel partners to take advantage of one of the fastest growing communications segments.
"As part of the ongoing integration of our internal cloud and on-premises teams, we're now enabling the channel to sell the full ShoreTel portfolio," said David Petts, senior vice president of worldwide sales at ShoreTel. "More than 600 Champion partners will have access to sell ShoreTel Sky supported by ShoreTel sales experts upon adding cloud tiers to their selling portfolio. In addition, we're recruiting new partners into the ranks. With the cloud track in place, partners can earn high commissions for the life of the customer, while businesses receive the solution that best meets their needs."
Developed with channel partner input, the cloud track of ShoreTel's Champion Partner Programprovide all the tools channel partners need to increase their profitability and revenues by growing their cloud business. These include in-depth training and tutorials on:
- how to sell cloud solutions
- how to create cloud demand
- how to define cloud sales compensation models
- how to customize the end-to-end solution that maps to an individual buyer's journey and business.
"ShoreTel has been Datamart's partner for 13 years. We have always found them to have an excellent track record for reliability and outstanding customer service," said Scott St. Clair, CEO of Datamart. "Recently our customers have begun asking for a state-of-the art, cloud-based communications solution that can also support unified communications and advanced application integration. I am excited to be broadening our partnership with ShoreTel to provide their best-in-class technology for both on-premises and cloud. As a result of their unique and innovative portfolio, we are now able to customize solutions to best meet our customers' individual requirements, ensuring their continued satisfaction while we build and differentiate our business."
"End users are becoming increasingly comfortable with adding cloud-based services to meet the demands of their business," said Joe Rittenhouse, president of business development at Converged Technology Professionals. "New, innovative enablement programs from ShoreTel now allow us to fuse professional services with ShoreTel Sky cloud-based offerings in flexible ways and enter into discussions around cloud-based applications with end users and prospects. These channel programs demonstrate how ShoreTel's new leadership and strategy has transformed the organization's momentum as well as the way they interact with us as partners. I'm very excited with what the future holds for our partnership with ShoreTel."
The new cloud tiers represent flexible ways of partnering with ShoreTel, uniquely compensating partners in proportion to their performance and level of commitment. They select the tier and compensation plan that best aligns with their business model:
For U.S. resellers interested in selling ShoreTel cloud services, please click here for more information.
ShoreTel displaces Avaya for unified communications solution for 8,000 workers worldwide
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Jan. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- ShoreTel® SHOR -0.26% , the leading provider of brilliantly simple phone systems and unified communications solutions, announced that Brunswick Corporation BC +2.54% has chosen ShoreTel to displace legacy Avaya/Nortel systems at more than 200 sites around the globe with more than 8,000 users. About one-third of the sites are live now with more deploying each month, and when complete, Brunswick will be one of ShoreTel's largest customers.
Brunswick selected ShoreTel's unified communications and Enterprise Contact Center solutions to enable employees to work more efficiently from anywhere in the world. The company is also deploying ShoreTel Mobility in the U.S. and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), which it predicts will help cut Brunswick's mobile phone roaming costs in half.
Brunswick , a $3.75-billion company, is a market leader in the marine, fitness, and bowling and billiards industries. Brunswick is the parent company for brands including Mercury Marine, Brunswick Boat Group, Life Fitness and Brunswick Bowling & Billiards. Its products are sold in North America, South America, United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and the company employs 15,000 people worldwide.
"Whether it's supporting new business processes or scaling up to incorporate different geographic locations, ShoreTel's unified communications platform has given us ease of deployment and flexibility," said Mike Tegtmeyer, director of enterprise network services at Brunswick. "Above all, it has a clear return on investment for our business, where it will pay for itself within 2.5 years at some of our sites."
Brunswick's vision was to move to a single global communication system using IP telephony and unified communications in order to improve employee experience and differentiate customer service. Working with ShoreTel reseller Converged Technology Professionals and CE+T , Brunswick ultimately selected ShoreTel because of its flexible, scalable system with built-in N+1 redundancy , which protects business continuity in the event of a crisis, along with lowest total cost of ownership. The ShoreTel business phone system drastically reduces international call costs by routing them over the network, and increases corporate savings by avoiding the potential for redundant systems at separate locations.
"We understand Brunswick's need to implement an adaptable platform that will support the company in a fast-moving market," said David Petts, senior vice president of worldwide sales at ShoreTel. "Because our system deploys, scales, and grows with ease, Brunswick now has the peace of mind that its single, unified platform is easily expanded across as many sites, or even countries, as needed."
The early results of the new system have been impressive. "The IP telephony and UC platform have allowed our employees to save an average of 25 minutes per day by facilitating communication for employees working from home or abroad," said Andre Busch, IT service delivery manager at Brunswick Marine in EMEA. "As the business is spread across Europe, U.S., and Asia/Pacific, unified communications were crucial for the development of efficient communications among the regions."
byKristin Bent on December 18, 2013, 8:53 am EST
ShoreTel partners are praising the unified communications (UC) vendor for its recently revamped partner program and a new series of business development workshops designed to help solution providers embrace hosted UC solutions and the recurring revenue model that comes with selling them.
ShoreTel's new partner workshop series comes as the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company puts the finishing touches on its newly designed Champion Partner Program. The program changes, which go into effect Jan. 1, are designed, according to ShoreTel, to make the Champion program easier for partners to navigate, simplify how they earn discounts, and sweeten ShoreTel's MDF and deal registration opportunities.
ShoreTel partners say the redesigned program, coupled with the new partner workshop series, suggest ShoreTel is investing more in the channel today than it has in years.
"It's not business as usual," said Joe Rittenhouse, president of Business Development at Converged Technology Professionals, a Chicago-based ShoreTel Gold partner. "There has been a lot of change in the [ShoreTel] partner program, a lot of change in the forward motion of the company, and a lot of change in the executive leadership. Some people were scared about that change, but that change was needed to bring on the new ventures they have ahead of them."
Recent changes to the ShoreTel executive team include the appointment of Don Joos, ShoreTel's former senior vice president of business operations, as the company's new president and CEO. Joos in August replaced former ShoreTel CEO Peter Blackmore, who announced plans to retire.
Meanwhile, ShoreTel in July reorganized its sales structure to create, for the first time, sales teams dedicated to partner business management and sales support.
ShoreTel also said Heather Bennett, vice president of Worldwide Channel Programs and Sales Enablement, along with Sam Koury, vice president of Americas Channels, have been tasked with taking over the responsibilities of Joe Vitalone, vice president of channel management at ShoreTel, who left ShoreTel in March for Mitel.
Rittenhouse said his ShoreTel business has grown 200 percent year-over-year for the past four years, much of that fueled from ShoreTel's mobility and call center technologies, but, more recently, from sales of ShoreTel Sky, the company's hosted VoIP offering.
"We will finish the year again as another record year in sales, with total revenues upward of about $13 million a year," Rittenhouse said.
Travis Dillard, president of Inflow Communications, a Portland, Ore.-based ShoreTel partner, agreed that ShoreTel has gone through what he called a "transformation" over the past year, and said that, from a partner perspective, that transformation has been "fantastic."
"Their traditional model was to sign up as many VARs as you can to sell the product, and it was a race to the bottom in terms of margin quality," Dillard said. "But now, they have gotten rid of this kind of old-school way of thinking with the new partner program. And these workshops are just one of many things they have implemented to really help us."
According to David Petts, senior vice president of Worldwide Sales at ShoreTel, the new workshops and channel program do, in fact, reflect a shift in ShoreTel's channel strategy from a partner recruitment blitz to better enabling the roughly 900 solution provider partners it already has.
"We essentially turned off that treadmill of recruitment and have been focusing on developing and working deeper and deeper and more closely with the partners we have," Petts told CRN.
There are two workshops in the ShoreTel partner workshop series. The first, which is available now, focuses primarily on business development best practices for solution providers. It's a two-day workshop that takes a deep dive into channel trends and the evolving solution provider business model. It also lets partners use a profiling tool that helps them understand how their businesses stack up against competitors and industry KPIs, along with how well-positioned they are for long-term or sustainable growth.
The course is delivered by ShoreTel and an independent consultant, but ShoreTel said the material is completely vendor-agnostic.
The second workshop, which will be rolled out in late January, focuses specifically on best practices for moving to the cloud and a recurring revenue model. The topics covered include broader market dynamics around cloud, building a cloud business practice without disrupting the traditionally hardware- and software-driven solution provider model, and adapting to an annuity-based financial structure.
ShoreTel said that roughly 150 of its partners currently sell its hosted VoIP platform ShoreTel Sky, but that almost all partners recognize the urgency of moving to the cloud.
Converged Technology Professionals' Rittenhouse said his company definitely felt that urgency, and, thankfully, recognized the importance of embracing the cloud "before it was too late."
"For many years, we were selling across the hosted space, and it was pretty easy to face defeat. But it didn't come to the negotiation table that much, where [customers] were seriously looking at a cloud-based application," Rittenhouse said. "But versus now, it's probably one in every three opportunities that somebody is looking for the cloud."
After each course, partners can participate in what ShoreTel calls "Peer Group Formations," a one-hour live web session with all workshop participants intended to keep the conversation running. ShoreTel said each workshop has a cap of eight participants, and that it makes sure those eight partners are "noncompetitive."
All workshops are hosted in ShoreTel's Austin, Texas, location. The fee is $2,100 per partner, but ShoreTel said partners can use their MDFs to cover 50 percent of that cost.
Converged Technology Professionals, Inc., an award winning ShoreTel partner, presents Mark Johnson the 2013 President’s Club award for this year’s top sales representative. Mark Johnson’s sales for 2013 exceeded 2 million dollars, representing a milestone achievement in his 4 year tenure at CT-Pros. As a part of his induction into the President’s Club, Mark received a five star all-expenses paid vacation from Eric Peterson, President of Operations, and Joe Rittenhouse, President of Business Development.
Rick Boyd, Vice President of Client Sales at ShoreTel, offered the following: “CT-Pros continues to grow our mutual business. The Key to having a great sales and service organization is the people that make it happen every day. Mark Johnson is one of those people that delivers said sales and service. He is a selling professional that knocked it out the park this year at CT-Pros with the ShoreTel Unified Communication solution. Mark is being awarded for his effort with the President’s Club status from CT-Pros. It is my honor to congratulate Mark for another great year.”
Upon accepting the award Mark Johnson stated, “Converged has given me the freedom to work in a sales environment that plays to my strengths. I love having the ability to meet new people and companies, develop relationships and deliver on my promises to prospects and clients. When you love your job it’s easier to succeed in a tough business. Our success is due in large part to our engineering team’s ability to deliver every time!”
Joe Rittenhouse added, “Mark’s sales efforts this year have been outstanding. His dedication to winning new business for Converged has been a key component in our continued growth. We are privileged to have him on our team and look forward to continued success in 2014.”
Converged Technology Professionals, Inc. announced the acquisition of an office in Indianapolis, Indiana. As the only ShoreTel Gold Champion Partner in Indiana, Converged Technology Professionals is poised to extend its award winning customer service to businesses throughout Indianapolis. The additional facility adds offices, conference rooms, and training facilities.
Joe Rittenhouse, President of Business Development stated, “The addition of our Indianapolis office represents our continued commitment to developing customer-focused relationships in the Midwest. Being the only ShoreTel Gold Champion SKY and Premise Partner and Major Account Enterprise Partner gives us a strategic advantage in Indiana. The distinctions let prospective and existing ShoreTel customers know that they can expect world-class customer support and enterprise expertise when dealing with CT-Pros.”
Converged Technology Professionals’ dedicated operations and engineering staff are well equipped to effectively handle new commitments from increased business in Indiana. With 200% growth over last year and doubling of staff, CT-Pros is accustomed to balancing business demands while maintaining a customer-focused posture. Last month Converged Technology Professionals was awarded ShoreTel’s Outstanding Achievement in Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty for a period from April 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013. Eric Peterson, President of Technology, stated, “Our award winning support is directly attributable to the outstanding team members that comprise our operations and engineering staff. We set the bar for excellence in project management, engineering, and training. Award winning for us means winning for our customers.”
Previous successes implementing two of ShoreTel’s largest premise based installations in Indiana include Brunswick Corporation and Street Links. Mike Tegtmeyer, Director Enterprise Network Services at Brunswick Corporation, stated, "In my 20+ years in IT, I have been very fortunate to find a few partners that truly look out for my company's best interest and at the same time my staff and I. Converged Technology Professionals is one of these companies. Without their passion to do what is best for the customer, Brunswick's ShoreTel implementation would not be as stable and as far along as it is today. I would highly recommend Converged Technology Professionals to any size company to partner up with for their ShoreTel implementation."
Gary Fuller, Director of Marketing, added, "Indianapolis is a market we understand strategically. Given our previous success with enterprise level clients, the expansion into Indiana with additional sales and engineering staff was inevitable. CT-Pros’ dedication to ensuring that customers receive outstanding support, quick ROI, and increased productivity will be alluring to many clients."
Converged Technology Professionals, Inc. today announced the reception of the award in Outstanding Achievement in Customer Satisfaction and loyalty by ShoreTel,
the leading provider of brilliantly simple unified communications systems including business phone systems, applications and mobile UC solutions.
This marks the third consecutive year that Converged Technology Professionals has received this distinction.
Don Joos, President and CEO of ShoreTel, stated that this "…score exceeds what is considered world-class level of professionalism and customer care in the industry.
Converged Technology Professionals’ consistent performance in delivering an exceptional all-around customer experience is a tribute to their dedication to customers.
It is partners like Converged Technology Professionals that insure customers are not only satisfied, but delighted with ShoreTel products and services."
Joe Rittenhouse, President of Business Development, said "Being recognized by ShoreTel for our achievement is a great honor. Our team of dedicated professionals
brings a level of commitment to our customers that is unrivaled. We deliver on our promises. Our customers know they can count on us for the very best products,
service, and support."
The Customer Satisfaction Award includes Asia, Europe, Australia and North America. It includes the reporting period from April 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013.
ShoreTel measures customer experience using the globally recognized Net Promoter Score (NPS®) to drive improvements in customer loyalty, ensure profitable growth
and recognize its top performing partners.
Notice of Incompatibility with Apple iOS 7 Update for all users of ShoreTel Mobility 7.0 Client for iOS
The ShoreTel Mobility 7.0 for iOS client will not function on a mobile device where iOS 7 is installed.
Resolution: Upgrade and reprovision to the ShoreTel Mobility 7.1 for iOS client either before or after upgrading to iOS 7.
- Note: The availability of the ShoreTel Mobility client for iOS 7 is targeted for September18, 2013, the same release
date for iOS 7. Due to the release of iOS 7 and Apple’s app review process, the actual availability of the ShoreTel Mobility client may be delayed.
- To ensure compatibility, ShoreTel recommends users wait to upgrade to iOS 7 after upgrading to ShoreTel Mobility 7.1.
Chicago, IL, July 17:
Converged Technology Professionals announced the hiring of Gary Fuller as Director of Marketing. Gary Fuller’s extensive marketing, multimedia,
and development experience will be used to advance organizational marketing objectives for revenue, profit, customer retention and satisfaction.
Joe Rittenhouse explained, "Our rapid growth has necessitated the acquisition of additional talent within our organization. Gary brings cuttingedge
knowledge of design and technology to our team. His efforts will further showcase our presence as an industry leader and communicate our unique
One area of immediate application will be his expertise with digital media, including training videos and product overviews. Gary holds
a Master of Science degree from DePaul University in Digital Cinema. In a previous role as Multimedia Director, Gary produced courseware that
successfully communicated product knowledge and reduced training overhead significantly. Converged Technology Professionals intends to enhance
its customer experience by leveraging Gary’s ability to craft easy-to-follow, on-demand product tutorials. Additionally, his hands-on experience
in web development enables Converged Technology Professionals to evolve their web presence and expand into social media outlets.
Eric Peterson, President of Technology, added, "The breadth of Gary’s knowledge spans many disciplines. As an agile, customer-driven business
his presence allows us to reach into additional markets while maintaining the level of excellence our customers have come to expect. His production
experience coupled with his proven track record make him an excellent addition to our team."
Gary Fuller is based out of CT-Pros' Crystal Lake office and will oversee both domestic and international marketing efforts.
Chicago, IL, April 25: Converged Technology Professionals announced today its recognition by ShoreTel as a Gold Major Account Enterprise Partner. This prestigious award for enterprise installations signifies Converged Technology Professionals’ prowess in technical resources and capabilities. Converged Technology Professionals joins an elite group of partners numbering fewer than ten nationwide. This sought-after designation comes a week after receiving the Outstanding Achievement in Customer Satisfaction award from ShoreTel.
Mike Tegtmeyer, Director Enterprise Network Services at Brunswick Corporation, stated, "In my 20+ years in IT, I have been very fortunate to find a few partners that truly look out for my company's best interest and at the same time my staff and I. Converged Technology Professionals is one of these companies! Without their passion to do what is best for the customer, Brunswick's ShoreTel implementation would not be as stable and as far along as it is today. I would highly recommend Converged Technology Professionals to any size company to partner up with for their ShoreTel implementation."
Joe Rittenhouse, President of Business Development at Converged Technology Professionals, offered the following: "Technology is evolving at an amazing pace and the way business is done is dramatically changing, especially at the enterprise level. Being able to continually execute and grow within the enterprise business space is a challenge for technology solutions providers like us. Our success is built around a consultative approach, and this has allowed us to implement highly successful, customer-driven solutions for cloud, mobile convergence, and unified communications. This classification speaks to the level of talent that makes up Converged Technology Professionals. We are very honored to receive this recognition from ShoreTel."
ShoreTel designates Gold Major Account Enterprise Partners based on established criteria in both customer satisfaction and partner revenue as well as successes in winning new enterprise accounts. A limited number of partners worldwide have attained this esteemed title.
April 16, 2013: Converged Technology Professionals announced the reception of
the coveted award in outstanding achievement in customer satisfaction by ShoreTel. Converged
Technology Professionals’ exceptional score reflects an industry recognized world class level of
professionalism and customer care in all aspects of the customer experience.
For the last two consecutive years, Converged Technology Professionals received the Top Partner in
Customer Satisfaction and Gold Status Certification award from ShoreTel. This latest award marks
an unwavering commitment to the company’s customer-centric business practices.
Don Joos, Senior Vice President of Business Operations at ShoreTel, stated that "By delivering an
exceptional customer experience, it is partners like [Converged Technology Professionals] that insure
our customers are not only satisfied, but delighted with ShoreTel products and Services."
Eric Peterson, President of Technology, acknowledged that "It is a great honor to be recognized for
our team’s dedication to customer care. Our staff works tirelessly to deliver quality products and
services that enhance our customers’ communication experiences. This award is a testament to our
commitment to delivering outstanding customer satisfaction each and every day."
The award includes the reporting period from October 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013. Additionally,
the customer experience surveys used in the conferring process were administered by an impartial
Leading ShoreTel Partner Hires Vice President of Sales
October 9, 2012: Converged Technology Professionals announced the hiring of Frank Piscopo to lead the national sales division. Frank Piscopo served as the ShoreTel National Major Account Representative at Black Box prior to joining Converged. Piscopo’s extensive sales leadership experience will enable Converged to continue to provide the company’s customer-driven approach during a period of tremendous growth. Joe Rittenhouse, President of Business Development, offered the following, “Frank’s tremendous success in enterprise sales simply reinforces our sales and organizations momentum. He has extensive knowledge of sale leadership and brings with him a wealth of experience in general management plus U.S. and international executive sales." Piscopo is based out of Converged’s Chicago office and will oversee both domestic and international territories.
May 29, 2012: Converged Technology Professionals announced the acquisition of an office in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. The additional facility adds 3,500 square feet for offices, conference rooms, training facilities, a technical lab, and dispatch area. The training facilities will offer a place for customers to gain product knowledge and receive hands-on education with ShoreTel’s user-friendly phone solutions. Joe Rittenhouse, President of Business Development, views the facility as both a commitment to developing customer satisfaction and to the local territory. "Our new facilities will enable us to educate our customers with greater frequency than ever before. Our ShoreTel training facilities will get customers up-to-speed quickly, resulting in greater return on investment for the businesses they represent."
Converged Technology Professionals prides itself on being customer-focused and promises their sharp growth will not impact their award winning service record. Converged Technology Professionals is the recipient of the prestigious Number One World Wide Customer Satisfaction award by ShoreTel. The unmatched service record resulting in ShoreTel’s recognition came during a period of tremendous company growth, giving credence to their ability to be effective service providers despite explosive growth.
ShoreTel and its partners share the same goals including the industry’s highest levels of customer satisfaction, ease-of-use for the UC solutions they provide, and low total cost of ownership for customers. ShoreTel’s partners are highly trained and specialize in delivering ShoreTel’s brilliantly simple solution, coupled with expertise in other disciplines such as LAN, WAN, call center, voice and data application integration, as well as training and support. ShoreTel’s channel is filled with many great achievers of high levels of Customer Satisfaction but only the top 10 percent of ShoreTel resellers receive this recognition.
"Converged Technology Professionals exceptional net promoter score reflects an industry-recognized world-class level of professionalism and customer care in all aspects of the customer experience. It is partners like Converged Technology Professionals that ensure customers are not only satisfied but delighted with ShoreTel products and services," said Don Joos, vice president of global services for ShoreTel.
Diggers Hotline Displaces Cisco for ShoreTel Contact Center’s Reliability, Simplicity and Cost Savings
Busy Wisconsin nonprofit implements ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center to cut complexity, reduce costs, and improve employee productivity. Read more: http://www.shoretel.com/resource_center/success_stories/Diggers_Hotline.html or click to download
Converged Offers Free ShoreTel Training
Converged will be offering free ShoreTel training seminars on March 8, 2012 in Milwaukee, and on March 9, 2012 in Madison. Converged's award winning team will cover common end-user and administrator topics to help you expand your knowledge on ShoreTel.
Read more: http://www.ct-pros.com/media/news/ConvergedShoreTelTrainingMarch2012.pdf
Local tech company wins prestigious award from ShoreTel Inc. (June 2011)
Converged Technology Professionals, based in Crystal Lake, with offices in Chicago, as well as Madison and Waukesha, Wis., announces its recognition by ShoreTel, the leading provider of brilliantly simple IP phone systems with fully integrated unified communications (UC) as a top partner in Customer Satisfaction, as well as Gold Status Certification.
The Customer Satisfaction Award includes Asia, Europe, Australia and North America. A third party organization surveyed every installed account from July 2010 through June 2011 and Converged Technology Professionals received more than 10 responses with a 100 percent customer service score to be awarded the top spot.
“We are thrilled to congratulate Converged Technology Professionals,” said Tom Hamilton, senior director of Channel Marketing for ShoreTel. “Our partners continue to be a vital piece to the company's success and Converged Technology Professionals exemplifies our total commitment to customer service and satisfaction. We are pleased to recognize their accomplishments and acknowledge how they have helped ShoreTel excel as the leading global provider of IP-based business communication solutions.”
Converged is awarded Gold Partner Status by ShoreTel Inc. (June 2011)
The Gold Status Certification is highest achievement status offered by ShoreTel. It is achieved by meeting a minimum of $1 million dollars in sales during the previous fiscal year. It also requires that Converged Technology Professionals is current with all sales and technical certifications, manage a specialty voice practice, and maintain demonstration capability. The company is one of only a few Gold Certified Partners in the states of Illinois and Wisconsin.
Read more: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110818/submitted/110819809/#ixzz1Vt3Ex1OX
Flexible SIP Solution Helps Power Equipment Direct Ride Wave of Record Sales (September 2011)
In the summer of 2011, during the wake of Hurricane Irene, Power Equipment Direct, an online retailer, experienced a dramatic increase in the number of calls from consumers looking to order power equipment to deal with the Hurri-cane and its expected aftermath.
As a result of the increased call volume, Power Equipment Direct’s sales lines were flooded with calls as demand for their products had exceeded the 150 call path capacity they were currently allotted. If Power Equipment Direct didn’t find a way to increase call capacity immediately, this huge opportunity to meet the sales demand would quickly pass them by.
Read more: http://www.ct-pros.com/media/casestudy/casestudy-ped.pdf
Madison Kipp selects Converged and ShoreTel! (February 2011)
“Our partner Converged did a great job throughout the installation process and has continued to do a great job in supporting us after the install. We definitely made the right choice in selecting them as a partner.”
Manager of Information Systems
Shoretel - Helping SMBs close the technology gap
Gartner Inc.'s MarketScope for Unified Communications for the SMB Market, North America, dated July 25, 2011, evaluated a dozen such solutions, giving each vendor a rating (along a range from "Caution" to "Promising", to "Positive", to "Strong Positive"). ShoreTel received a "Strong Positive", the report's highest available rating.
Read more: http://www.ct-pros.com/media/casestudy/gartner_report2011.pdff
ShoreTel Receives Nemertes PilotHouse Award
The Nemertes Research annual PilotHouse Awards provide insight on the performance of technology vendors, according to feedback from IT decision-makers who use their products or services.
Read more: http://www.ct-pros.com/media/casestudy/nemertes_report2011.pdf
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