When the recent Mitel acquisition of ShoreTel made industry headlines, ShoreTel users began asking questions regarding the implications this would have on their business, including the value of their relationship with their ShoreTel Partner.
In this post, we explain the advantages of working with a Platinum ShoreTel partner, and how such an experienced partner provides greater value to you and your organization.
* Please note that while we may use the ShoreTel name throughout this article, we do so to clarify reference to the ShoreTel products and partner programs that were previously owned under ShoreTel, which are now under the ownership and management of Mitel.
An Experienced Partner Provides Invaluable Consultative Advice and Service
There are different types of IT partners, and all have their unique methods of assisting businesses with their IT and telephony needs. Some partners are more of a jack of all trades, master of none, meaning they know a little about a lot.
They don’t focus on a particular manufacturer. Instead, they like to give lots of vendor options such as Cisco, Avaya, L3, or Ring Central. This means they may not be your go-to source for advanced troubleshooting as it relates to your businesses’ specific appliances and infrastructure.
On the other hand, a small handful of partners like Converged are more hands-on and have so much real-life experience servicing and supporting ShoreTel systems that they are more knowledgeable than tier 1 and tier 2 of Mitel’s support agents supporting other partners.
Customers who choose to switch over to us do so because of our extensive level of experience, expertise, attention to detail and our drive for quality service. When we first work with a customer, we often learn of the hardships they are dealing with regarding their current phone system.
Sometimes it’s the phone system itself that needs to be updated, while other times it’s a poorly designed network infrastructure that simply isn’t configured to achieve optimal results.
As businesses look to incorporate advanced communication applications and technologies for use in the workforce such as IM, Presence, Click to Dial, voicemail to email, not to mention incorporating BYOD policies, the challenges they face are often daunting and the amount of internal resources to choose the right solution can be overwhelming and plagued with unknown consequences.
We Make Sure Your Goals are Met
That’s where our ability to assess customer goals and objectives is invaluable. When we understand what our customer’s goals are, we are then able to provide a strategic path forward that introduces the right solutions for their particular needs, present and future, that produce the end results they want to achieve.
Reduce IT Budget Expenses
For example, if a company wants to reduce IT and telephony costs to meet budget requirements, we may consider the option to move from an on-site premise PBX to a hosted PBX.
This is exactly what we did with CAN/AM, a hockey tournament management company that wasn’t sure the investment required to update their out-dated onsite PBX along with purchasing renewal licenses and hardware was what they wanted to do.
In addition, they had issues with their local connectivity which impacted remote workers and were looking for ways to build a stronger and more stable infrastructure to accommodate remote workers.
In the end, they took our recommendations to move to the cloud and saved tens of thousands of dollars, achieved greater call connectivity and are experiencing budget-friendly predictable monthly billing. We worked with CAN/AM to prepare for the changes prior to the migration and continued to work with them through the implementation process. You can read our CANAM case study here.
Increase Productivity and Efficiency
Likewise, we helped a WI law firm increase productivity for their law associates who were frequently meeting with clients and needed a more efficient way to keep in touch with the main office.
Tasks such as checking voicemail and setting up conference calls were cumbersome and relied on having another person in the office perform these tasks for them. Now associates can check and receive voicemails as an audio file, along with a transcribed message delivered to their email 24x7.
The law firm's associates can also set up new conference calls and meetings as needed on their own with a few clicks of a button rather than waiting for another staff member to configure the meeting using 3rd party applications. You can read the case study here to learn more about their experience.
From local businesses throughout the Midwest to enterprise-level family household brand names such as Brunswick Corporation, Milwaukee Brewers, Sweetwater Sound, The Salvation Army, (plus more), we think our impressive track record continues to speak for itself.
Our ability to reduce and eliminate many of the frustrations customers have with their phone systems is contributed directly to our know-how and above standard quality service that our clients appreciate and value.
An Experienced ShoreTel Partner Reduces IT Frustrations
As the only privately-owned Platinum ShoreTel/Mitel partner in the Midwest, we intricately know ShoreTel solutions and the necessary infrastructure requirements. Having a proper network design ensures a compatible and optimized environment for your unified communications phone solution.
You Benefit from our Expert Knowledge of ShoreTel Systems
We’ve worked with customers whose previous partners simply didn’t know the ins and outs of their ShoreTel system as we do. This resulted in customers thinking it was the ShoreTel system at fault, when in fact it is due a variety of issues i.e. poor project management, poor network readiness, poor understanding of VM architecture, the list goes on and on.
Once our engineers took a look at the system along with their network environment, we implemented the proper changes which eliminated the frustrations the customer was previously experiencing.
Our knowledge, tools and skills which have grown working with ShoreTel to service our customers for over a decade, have put us in a position of pure trustworthy expertise. This is evidenced by our attaining Platinum ShoreTel/Mitel status, the prestigious Circle of Excellence, and other respected awards, not to mention the fact that we have the 2nd most assets deployed of any ShoreTel Partner in the world.
You will have confidence in making the right decision with your phone system regarding configurations, updates, upgrades, the right peripheral hardware and equipment, virtualization options, and overall network optimization.
We also participate on various advisory boards within the industry. This affords us the ability to communicate directly with corporate key executives and offer insight into the experiences our customers (and ourselves) have with their products. We are on the forefront of the telecommunications industry living the ups and down in real-life every day scenarios, and we gladly represent those experiences and feedback at these meetings.
Keeping up to Date with Upgrades and End of Life (EoL) Products
In January 2017, an announcement was made that ShoreGear full-width switches end of life support from ShoreTel (now Mitel) was going to take effect in December 2017. At the same time, announcements were made regarding end of life support for the VPN Concentrator and the ShoreTel 14.2 software with a date of June 2018.
To do what is best in the interest of our customers, we took it on ourselves to notify all our customers that the EoL dates were approaching and what their options were for upgrading.
How We Help our Customers Upgrade to Connect from Version 14.2
We also understood that many customers who used the popular 14.2 software version of ShoreTel may not know this on their own. Would they understand the degree of planning and strategic implementation and conversion that is involved when moving from 14.2 to version 15, also called Connect?
To give some insight into the quality of support we offer, let's address that question.
When a customer is interested in upgrading from 14.2 to Connect, members of our Operations and Support group will work with the customer to perform a pre-upgrade audit.
This helps identify any issues that may require additional attention and planning.
For example, with the Connect upgrade, not all user settings will convert over to the new version. Therefore we must be prepared for manual configurations post-upgrade. We review our findings with the customer and start the planning process ensuring a smooth upgrade with minimal to no disruption to the customer’s business.
If our customers can’t upgrade until after the end of life date, they have the confidence and assurance they will still get the support they need due to our high level of knowledge and familiarity with those products.
Owning and operating a ShoreTel phone system, or any phone system for that matter is more than what meets the eye.
Will your partner be able to handle support questions and inquiries for your 14.2 software when they no longer have the option to turn around and go to Mitel for support since Mitel won’t provide support 14.2 after June of 2018? Will they inform you when your hardware appliances are reaching end of life support and offer suggestions for you?
With CT-Pros, we remove those concerns by being a partner you can trust and rely on at all times.
Whether it’s the IT frustrations, the need for professional consultation, or the encroaching end of life support deadlines, CT-Pros can help you navigate the changing times with assurance and confidence every time.
If you are interested in learning more about our Partner Services, let us know, and we’ll be glad to talk with you. We know you’ll be impressed.