Mobile UC: How does ShoreTel’s Mobile UC offering Measure up?

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After watching a summit session at EC2015 called “What Do Enterprises Want in Mobile UC?” I thought I would see how ShoreTel measures up to the list. So the main points from the session were:

  • Do you need a suite of app and interfaces to achieve UC, or can you do it from a single place?
  • Is the user interface intuitive?
  • Features: Voice, Video, Instance Messaging, Presence, Audio Conferencing, Web Conferencing. File Sharing, Fixed Mobile Convergence
  • Social Collaboration, for instance Facebook and IBM Connections
  • Replace the desk phone?
  • Use your own mobile, while keeping the corporate identity?
  • Enable the users to pick the device they are comfortable with, not forcing them to use the only supported model?
  • Analytics – Measure user adoption, trends for future plans.

Another point that was mentioned in the session is that Mobile UC doesn’t have to mean UC on a mobile phone. It is to enable UC for users that are mobile.

Do you need a suite of app and interfaces to achieve UC, or can you do it from a single place?

ShoreTel on a mobile phone / Tablet platform uses 2 Applications, “ShoreTel Mobility Client” for the Core functionality and “ShoreTel Conferencing” for Web Conferencing, if you need to view the presentation.

On Windows and Mac OS, ShoreTel offer a single client called ‘ShoreTel Communicator’ which offers their UC suite and the web conferencing is done on a web page but this is launched from within the client.

ShoreTel also offers a Web Communicator, allowing client free UC functionality, but this has fewer features than the above two options. It is mainly used for call control.

Is the user interface intuitive?

The mobile apps (like all mobile apps) have been designed to be used without a proper user manual. If it wasn’t user intuitive then it wouldn’t be used and the solution would fail. It has been to designed to be provisioned remotely without the user having to know the settings by receiving the setting via a text message. The client, when first opened, has a tiny demo to show its main features and this is typically all the user need to get going.

The desktop client is very intuitive. I have seen an installation go-Iive where the IT manager went from department to department and gathered all the users around a single computer and said “this is how it works” and gave them about a 2 min demo. As far as I am aware the IT manager has not had any issue with their staff using the client and has nearly 100% user adoption.

Also one year at Enterprise Connect I’m sure I have heard that ShoreTel has the largest user adoption of any UC application supplied with a phone system, It has to be intuitive for this to happen. If I can find a citation of this, I will add it later.

Features: Voice, Video, Instant messaging, Presence, audio conferencing, Web conferencing. File Sharing, Fixed mobile convergence

Feature / OS Mobile Windows Mac OS
Voice Calls Yes Yes Yes
Video Calls Yes Yes No
Instant Messaging Yes Yes No
Presence Yes Yes Yes
Audio Conferencing Yes Yes Yes
Web Conferencing Yes Yes Yes
File Sharing   Yes*   Yes*   Yes*
Fixed mobile convergence Yes N/A N/A

*Only via web conferencing, not via IM or other means

Social Collaboration, for instance Facebook and IBM Connections

As far as I am aware there is no Social Collaboration integration functionality. ShoreTel does have integration with other collaboration platforms (that are not so much social) such as IBM Sametime, IBM Notes. MS Lync, Outlook and Google apps. however I was surprised this was not mentioned within the session and Social Collaboration was.

Replace the Desk Phone?

Yes! – From the mobile point of view, ShoreTel have focused on this. This is evident from their ShoreTel Dock.

ShoreTel Dock

 

The ShoreTel Mobility client offers a full set of PBX features via both WiFi and Cellular (call hold, transfer, conference etc.) and with the Dock, it does allow the user have the look and feel of a desk phone while in the office but keep the mobility of their own phone.

From the mobile user perspective this can be achieved via the above with a mobile, or using their laptop as a soft phone. We have deployed a contact centre where none of the agents were given phones – they used their PC and headset. They are now looking to expand the phone system to their remote locations, and they are not looking at providing phones to their agents as they are very happy with the results so far.

Use your own mobile, while keeping the corporate identity.

This is also known as Fixed Mobile Convergence and as seen from the features table above this is achievable. ShoreTel does this very well with their ShoreTel Mobility Router. It enables the mobile to have a dual personality, so very basically: when you are calling your Mum it will display your own mobile number, when you are calling a customer it will show your office phone number.

Enable the users to pick the device they are comfortable with, not forcing them to use the only supported model

ShoreTel find of does this, I can’t give it a full yes, as it currently doesn’t support Windows phone, So if you are one of the very few people who picked to use a Windows phone (please leave a comment why), ShoreTel can’t enable these users to use their own device.

Also looking at this topic as a mobile worker, then we need to consider Mac OS as well, This is supported but with a reduced functionality set as seen in the table above

Analytics – Measure user adoption, trends for future plans.

Typically enterprises can tell how many employees have download the app, but not see if they are using it or how they are using it. ShoreTel offer a range of analytics, these include (but not limited to):

  • Total users / provisioned users / registered.
  • Top X users
  • Cell Vs WiFi minutes
  • Call trends
  • Standard CDR data

These types of analytics can help to decide what needs to be deployed next. For example, if all your mobility users at a remote site are the top cellular users, it may be worth considering installing WiFi.

Conclusion

Overall ShoreTel measures up very well. It meets all the requirements (and more) exposed in the EC session with the exception from the Social collaboration integration. It also provide a huge range of features. ShoreTel does come up short with the operating systems supported. It does not support Windows Phone, however most companies seem not to see a need to develop an app for Windows phone! ShoreTel also has reduced feature set on its Mac client, and as a Mac user, I am looking forward to once this is addressed.

So does ShoreTel measure up against the enterprise UC needs? I would say it does.

For more details on the ShoreTel Mobile UC offering, I would recommend this page: http://www.shoretel.com/solutions/enterprise_mobility 

Any comments or questions, please just use the below.

About the author

Peter Doyle I will pretty much do anything UC! My Google+ Page My Linkedin Page

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