ShoreTel eyes APAC opportunity with Connect Cloud launch in Australia

ShoreTel is continuing its expansion as a cloud-based business communications provider by launching its UCaaS solution in Australia as it considers a wider APAC rollout.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Senior Reporter on

ShoreTel has announced launching its Connect Cloud and Connect Cloud Contact Center solutions in Australia as part of a bid to extend its portfolio globally and as a launching pad into workers in the Asia-Pacific region.

ShoreTel's unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) solution combines voice, video, mobile, conferencing, messaging, and contact centre communication services within a cloud-based solution.

According to ShoreTel CEO Don Joos, launching the solution in Australia will drive cloud growth, and therefore business growth, throughout the entire Asia-Pacific region.

"It's not an ending milestone, it's a beginning. This is now starting to fill in the footprint of having a ShoreTel Connect Cloud on a global basis, both for in-market but also multinational customers," Joos told ZDNet.

"The intent is that we're going to continue to expand those capabilities, but we're moving it in a very structured manner because not all markets in their infrastructure are ready for a hosted solution ... different parts of APAC I don't think the infrastructure is 100 percent ready yet, but there's plenty of opportunities.

"I do see headquarters out of Australia with potentially remote workers or offices in different parts of the Asian region; it definitely increases the addressable market for us."

The solution will make use of an Australian datacentre and several points of presence across the nation, Joos said.

A collaboration and productivity tool, Cloud Connect also includes IP phones, operating software, datacentre access, customer service, and integration with ShoreTel for Salesforce. It features both browser-based and mobility apps.

The business communications solutions provider said its cloud-based voice services have seen "rapid partner uptake and strong customer demand" in Australia; APAC VP Frederic Gillant said ShoreTel had already signed seven contracts with partners in Australia for Connect Cloud prior to the solution's launch on Thursday.

According to Gillant, ShoreTel's Australian customers are generally businesses with 100 or more customers.

"Here in Australia we've been blessed by a favourable partner environment in a sense that all our partners have been asking us for a cloud solution for a couple of years," Gillant said, pointing towards partners gained through its acquisition of M5.

"Many of our customers have been adopting cloud in other areas of their IT infrastructure and business; now they also have a low-risk cloud migration path for their ShoreTel telephony and UC[aaS] environments."

One of these initial Australian customers is training and assessment organisation MRWED, which will commence Connect Cloud implementation this month. According to MRWED CIO Jason Ash, ShoreTel's UCaaS solution is being used primarily to improve collaboration with remote workers by using ShoreTel's video, instant messaging, and screen sharing features.

In terms of security, ShoreTel said Connect Cloud has "data integrity, application, and physical safeguards" built in at every layer.

"It's architected with multiple levels of redundancy and load-balancing hardware to anticipate and prevent any single point of failure. Plus, it's backed by strong SLAs to maximize uptime for your business," ShoreTel said.

"Connect Cloud is deployed out of highly secure datacentres, leveraging infrastructure layer, network layer, and application layer security protocols. All communications are end-to-end encrypted with secure real-time transfer protocol (SRTP) and granular access controls built into the solution."

Cloud Connect is already available throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

ShoreTel in August announced a fourth quarter net loss of $700,000 on revenue of $94.6 million.

The company made $158.2 million in product revenue for 2016, $126.7 million in hosted and related services, and $75.4 million in support and services for total revenue of $360.28 million for the full year, up slightly from the $359.67 million recorded a year earlier.

At the time, ShoreTel said it would be forming a committee to evaluate "a range of strategic alternatives" such as a sale, divestments, joint ventures, restructuring, and partnerships. Joos would not be drawn on ShoreTel's future, however.


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