Under new ownership - what will ShoreTel Partner Support look like in 2019, in 2020, and beyond? In the wake of Mitel's acquisition of ShoreTel, the support channels have certainly shifted. But have they shifted for the better? This article will uncover why this shift has occurred, where we are headed as a ShoreTel (now Mitel) community, and what to focus on when evaluating who to partner with for ShoreTel Support.
ShoreTel Support, Then and Now...
When ShoreTel began its journey in 1996 (at that time DBA Shoreline Teleworks), they set out to revolutionize the business phone system industry by capitalizing on the growing interest in VoIP communications. The idea was to create a system from a "fresh sheet of paper" built for VoIP and to provide a service and support model unlike anything the tech world had ever seen. They achieved the later by allowing partners, like Matrix Networks, to provide support in tandem with ShoreTel - the model proved successful for many years...
Fast forward 22 years... If you are a current partner of Mitel, this is the point where you probably take a deep breath and chuckle a bit to yourself. It is no secret that it has been a rough ride since ShoreTel (Now Mitel) began its push to be acquired in summer of 2016. But we won't get into that here...
Enter Mitel. In September of 2017 Mitel acquired ShoreTel. At the time, no one knew what to expect, but a year after the transition Mitel has proven to be quite possibly best outcome of ShoreTel being sold. By investing heavily in support infrastructure and doubling down on R&D, something that was severely lacking in the years/months leading up to ShoreTel's sale, Mitel has slowly turned the ship around. At this point, ShoreTel customers and the partner community can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that Mitel purchased ShoreTel, not to devour a competitor, but to enhance and capitalize on excellent cloud phone technology (along with a sizable base of customers that made Mitel the world's largest UCaaS provider overnight). Now the question is: how do we get the support train back on the tracks so that ShoreTel customers once again receive pre-2016 service and support?
But what makes a great ShoreTel Support Partner?
1) Find a Partner with Experienced ShoreTel Technicians
Simply aligning with a ShoreTel Partner who got you the best price for ShoreTel Partner Support is the absolute worst decision you can make. A good ShoreTel Partner has invested in the technical expertise to to support clients of all shapes and size. Managing custom system integrations, Work and Hunt Group expertise, and a deep understanding of how E911 services integrate with your ShoreTel are just a few of the necessary specializations that even the most basic ShoreTel Partner should have.
For example: at Matrix Networks, we have 3 Tiers of ShoreTel support, all Tier 1 techs are certified ShoreTel installers and system administrators, our Tier 2 techs are certified ShoreTel system engineers with advanced certifications on data networks and our Tier 3 techs are specialists with certs on the advanced applications like Enterprise Contact Center, Mobility, and Hybrid deployments. Escalation occurs without your request, because we know how important it is to get the timely answers you need. All of our technicians are well versed in network protocols and are either working towards or have received a minimum CCNA certification. This network experience ensures that the project is viewed holistically and that we are able to assist our clients in not only having success with the ShoreTel UC solutions but the network it relies on.
2) Customer Advocates is Key
Project management and customer advocacy are critical components to the long-term success of your ShoreTel phone system. Aligning yourself with a "partner" who has not invested in the internal support infrastructure to provide you with a single point of contact for all your ShoreTel needs is not a partner worth having.
At Matrix Networks, we take this one step further. Our certified Project Managers continue to support our ShoreTel clients in our Customer Advocate role. This gives our clients an experience that is different from our competitors: an expert on your environment on the phone, when you need them, to help you optimize your system and take control. Our Customer Advocates are here to educate, provide assistance in design, and address your day to day needs for ShoreTel Support. Too many companies give the responsibility of caring for their clients to someone without sufficient experience. Our model addresses this and ensures a quality experience in every interaction, from sales to support to training.
3) Find a Partner who has Invested in Industry-Leading Network Monitoring Tools
News flash - there are many tools available on today's market to help with the health, growth, and stability of your ShoreTel Phone System. However, they come with a cost and many "ShoreTel Support Partners" out there are not willing to invest in the necessary tools to provide an optimal support experience. For instance, our team monitors your system with network and performance tools 24/7. Our goal is to be addressing an issue with your phone system before you realize a problem even exists. And these are not proprietary tools. BrightMetrics analytics tools are hugely powerful for analyzing the performance of your staff and the ShoreTel phone system itself, giving us data to make quick decisions and head issues off at the path. We use fully compliant, simple tools that allow for accountability and visibility when accessing your network, ensuring you are protected long term. If your server fails, our backup and restore process ensures that your voicemail downtime is minimized and stress is eliminated. Having great people is only one part of the puzzle, the most important, but the tools they use allow our team to provide a level of service our clients clamor for.
Why Partner with Matrix Networks for ShoreTel Support?
Matrix Networks has been a ShoreTel partner since 2007. As an award winning, ShoreTel Gold Partner, our goal is to go beyond traditional "customer service" and provide a client WOW with every interaction. Matrix Networks has invested heavily in tools that allow for next level support, reporting, and analytics that you won't find with many other options for ShoreTel Support. Additionally, Matrix has entire team of dedicated ShoreTel Pro-Techs, Project Managers, and Client Advocates to support your growth and service your existing system. If you are in need of a new partner for ShoreTel Support, we would love to provide the excellent experience you deserve.
Author: Ryan Graven