The Unified team just returned from the 2011 ShoreTel partner conference where, among having the honor of receiving several customer service and top partner awards, we were able to take a look into the near future of VoIP technology. ShoreTel’s new CEO Peter Blackmore (formerly of HP and Compaq), made it clear in his on-stage remarks that ShoreTel is focusing more dollars and more manpower on R&D with an emphasis on innovation. In fact, ShoreTel is investing 22% of its revenue back into R&D in the upcoming fiscal year.
For a growth company, this an impressive direction, and something that ShoreTel is in a unique position to do. Blackmore explained that while other VoIP companies are distracted by mounting debt (Avaya IPO deep dive: Competition, debt are big worries) and employee layoffs (Cisco May Slash Up to 10,000 Jobs), ShoreTel is solidly growing and able to focus on customer satisfaction and product development. And industry insiders are taking notice (ShoreTel Continues Its Steady Climb).
Blackmore also discussed what is and will continue to drive ShoreTel’s growth in the VoIP space. He listed mobility – driven by the consumer, not by technology – as a major factor. In Blackmore’s words, “Mobility allows work to be something you do versus somewhere you go.” This could not be more true in how we are seeing our Unified Technologies’ customers work in today’s corporate environment. With an estimated 80% of corporate employees now using smartphones for their work and a growing number using tablet notebooks, mobile workers are now becoming the norm, as opposed to the exception.
ShoreTel has clearly recognized the new reality that is the mobile workforce and thus, their products reflect this. The “brilliantly simple” features of their phone systems allow the mobile worker to have complete control of their communications (voice, messaging, etc.) anywhere, at any time. And in an age where “mobile-first” and “mobile-only” are concepts that are changing how businesses ‘do’ business, we are proud to be associated with a leader in the industry.