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ShoreTel Among the 'Visionaries' in 2015 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications

August 21, 2015

Unified Communications (UC) brings the many different communications platforms organizations use together and makes it effortlessly available. For UC providers, integrating the technology available in the market with innovative services is what differentiates them from their competitors. While finding which ones are investing in these innovation can be difficult, Gartner has simplified the process with the release of the 2015 "Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications for Midsize Enterprises, North America." And ShoreTel, provider of simplified phone systems and UC solutions, was positioned in the "Visionaries" quadrant.

As described by Gartner, UC has to improve user productivity and to enhance business processes as related to communications and collaboration. Because businesses today rely on collaboration using a wide range of communications solutions, service providers that facilitate this process have been recognized. This includes the control, management and integration of equipment, software and services. If the right system is in place, it should improve how individuals, groups and companies interact and perform.

Gartner recognized ShoreTel for its Connect platform, a single platform and user experience for cloud, onsite and hybrid deployments. It also highlighted the high customer satisfaction rate the solution received because of its ease of use, intuitive user and management interfaces, and a simple, transparent pricing and licensing structures.

ShoreTel UC integrates the tools businesses need for effective communications, this includes voice, email,  instant messaging, presence, calendaring, audio and video conferencing, and desktop sharing into one package that can be easily deployed.

Eleven UC solution providers were evaluated for "Completeness of vision," which include market understanding, marketing strategy, sales strategy, offering strategy, business model, vertical/industry strategy, geographic strategy, and innovation. The criteria for their ability to execute was based on product/service, overall viability, market responsiveness/record, operations, sales execution/pricing, marketing execution and customer experience.

The UC offerings were divided into six broad communications product areas: telephony, conferencing, messaging, presence and IM, clients, and communications-enabled applications. However the success of the UC product and user satisfaction was based on six characteristics.

User experience (UX): the quality, intuitiveness and effectiveness of the overall UX across all devices will heavily influence the effectiveness of the solution, and its adoption rate, usage and, ultimately, enterprise productivity.

Mobility: user expectations of how UC solutions leverage mobility continue to escalate. Gartner recommends that enterprises consider adopting a mobility-first strategy, where UC applications are designed first around the mobile UX and then extended for PCs.

Interoperability: enterprises wish to avoid "closed gardens" and vendor lock-in, while enabling intercompany B2B, business-to-partner (B2P) and business-to-consumer (B2C) federation.

Cloud and hybrid: integration of on-premises UC with cloud and hybrid UC services continues to play an increasingly important role as these options mature.

Broad solution appeal: successful UC solutions must be attractive to a broad and diverse audience of decision influencers. Influencers span the traditional IT audiences, as well as, more recently, consumer-oriented departmental and internal project groups.

Developer network: as communications becomes verticalized, integrated with business applications and moved to mobile devices, the role of developer partners will become increasingly critical.

"We've always been known for finding a better way for business people to communicate with brilliantly simple solutions that are intuitive to use and adapt to the way people want to work. ShoreTel is helping customers determine how and when to move communications to the cloud and is pioneering hybrid options along the way," said Mark Roberts, CMO of ShoreTel.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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