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One of the earliest established VoIP providers, ShoreTel is a unique company with a global presence. Originally founded in 1996, ShoreTel has paved the way for many other communication companies. They are a byproduct of venture capital funding which has allowed them to develop proprietary devices and software further allowing the company to become a major player in the telecom industry.
Today, the primary focus of ShoreTel is providing commications solutions for businesses of all sizes. Their flagship service is ShoreTel Sky - a hosted VoIP platform packed with 90 different unified communication functions and calling features like auto attendant, rich IVR menus, voicemail transcriptions, call forwarding and plus much more. The company provides every one of these features to their clients as part of what is considered a "premium VoIP" service. In addition to the Sky product, Shoretel also offers an on-premise voice switch that provides a comprehensive unified communications solution.
Devices are specifically designed to harness the power of its cloud platform. The company manages all aspects of its VoIP service so those on the user end do not need to worry about setup and configuration. After signing a contract with ShoreTel, its support team manages everything from deployment to support of the system. It guarantees optimal quality with every feature which can be supported by either remote or onsite assistance.
Though the company is very much closed in terms of device support, a wide variety of popular CRM and ERP applications can integrate into the ShoreTel cloud platform. Those who rely heavily on Salesforce, for example, can link accounts together for a more streamlined communication experience. Major web browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox can utilize plug-ins that make it easier to place calls and store contact information.
Another impressive feature is the private connection utilized by the company. By connecting directly to their resources, peace of mind is provided knowing an additional layer of security is present which many other VoIP providers do not offer. Essentially, the public Internet is circumvented as you are provided with a T1 (and in some cases, an alternate solution) to privately connect to their cloud service.
Shoretel Sky currently supports most of the Cisco 7900 series suite of desktop IP phones in addition to its own Shoretel 400 series models.
If you are seeking a cut and dry pricing model, you will not be able to uncover this information by merely browsing the website. ShoreTel claims that most companies pay roughly $35 dollars per user, but this price can vary. In the spectrum of VoIP services, this is quite high even considering the feature set packaged into its business services.
As the company uses a closed-source model for application development and hardware functionality, you are restricted to using ShoreTel products and some select Cisco devices. This means that utilizing more robust phones becomes a burdening process (in some cases) as it is possible to integrate other devices or systems. An API provided by the company can be utilized for "packaged applications or home-grown" utilities though it is not clear as to whether your business or ShoreTel handle the necessary programming to allow the use of such 3rd party items.
The company has a website that is far more expansive than necessary and does not offer specific information pertaining to the features of their system. Rather, much of the site focuses on the benefits of what is referred to as "premium VoIP" hence failing at defining the exact nature of packaged features. They do not offer any revolutionary products or services as everything ShoreTel offers can be found within many other services. Until you contact a representative from the company, the exact specifications of the service will seem very vague.
ShoreTel is marketed towards business of all sizes but the experience can vary. For companies looking for the most inexpensive solution possible, they will likely not satisfy as their prices are more than other providers. They are suited to providing service to companies looking for a luxurious communication solution.
For businesses that have many resources available and are further willing to pay more than average for a very powerful solution, ShoreTel is ideal. Within the realm of hosted VoIP providers, they are one of the most premium solutions you can find on the market. Sure, you may pay more than other solutions but the quality and level of support provided by the company makes this and perfect for a focused company requiring capable hands to support their communication solution.
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Please contribute to this page by writing a short review of Shoretel and let us know your opinion of either its hosted VoIP (Shoretel Sky) solution, or their on-premise solution. Additionally, if you are an original M5 networks customer we would also like to hear what you think of this service and if you would recommend it to others.
ShoreTel reviews are listed in chronological order.
#2 : Ryan : MAR 7th, 2016
Smooth transition from previous provider to Shoretel and received great support throughout the process. Lots of features in addition to decent monthly savings. So far we are happy with Shoretel and the phone system is exceeding our expectations.
#1 : David : NOV 21st, 2012
When Shoretel took over M5 networks I was a little concerned as you never know whats going to happen in these circumstances. However, their notes of comfort became reality for us so far with continued great customer service and a reliable phone system. The system is very easy to use and configure which is always a bonus. Price wise we saved money by switching to them in the first place (from a PBX set up) but not sure they are the cheapest out there. That maybe the only con I can think of right now. However, I would feel very comfortable recommending them to other businesses based on our experience and their great service and support. We have been very happy with M5 and now Shoretel.
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