ShoreTel teams up with IBM for SMB; Eyes Avaya in the enterprise

ShoreTel, which provides IP telephony systems, on Monday made two moves designed to hit both ends of the unified communications market.

ShoreTel, which provides IP telephony systems, on Monday made two moves designed to hit both ends of the unified communications market.

The first of those moves is aimed at the small to mid-sized business market. In a deal with IBM, ShoreTel's IP phone system will be bundled in with IBM's Lotus Foundations Reach. IBM's Foundation line is a series of appliances designed to be an IT infrastructure in a box.

Within IBM's Lotus Foundations Reach, ShoreTel will act as the IP telephony pillar. The box includes instant messaging, emailing and calendar capabilities.

Kevin Gavin, vice president of marketing at ShoreTel, said the ability of the company's to run within IBM's Foundations infrastructure saves on additional hardware for the customer.

Separately, ShoreTel is taking the wraps off of ShoreTel 10, the latest version of its unified communications software. ShoreTel 10 includes Bluetooth wayport capabilities; enhance reliability, and better integration with multivendor environments.

Gavin said the plan is to emphasize that final point. In September, Avaya was selected to acquire Nortel's enterprise unit for $900 million. The move gave Avaya more enterprise heft against Cisco. Gavin says that ShoreTel is looking to convince Nortel customers that they can migrate to his company's products instead of moving to Avaya's technology. Avaya closed the Nortel purchase Dec. 18.

"We just want Nortel customers to know that they are not locked into Avaya," said Gavin. ShoreTel's aim is to get a seat at the large enterprise accounts that used to be loyal to Nortel.