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ShoreTel and Aerosmith Both Rated Leaders at the Gartner ITxpo Symposium

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If you’re going to Orlando, it’s usually to Walt Disney World or Epcot Center or Hollywood Studios to go on the Aerosmith rollercoaster ride. But not for me. It’s the annual Gartner ITxpo Symposium, in Orlando, Fla., which draws CIOs from around the world to hear from the industry analysts and meet solutions providers like ShoreTel on the show floor.  It was remarkable last week to hear Bern Elliott, one of Gartner’s more senior distinguished analysts, present the Magic Quadrant findings for UC as a Service and other subjects.  When asked from an audience member of his view of ShoreTel, he highlighted how ShoreTel’s customer satisfaction ratings makes him recommend ShoreTel especially to large distributed organizations. Not to mention how we are also deemed a leader in their most recent UCaaS Magic Quadrant.

Our booth was packed with customers, especially from Avaya who were not in attendance at the show this year, to learn about our solutions, including the ShoreTel Dock prominently displayed.  I showed how I can use my iPhone or iPad to place or receive calls just as if I was back in Sunnyvale, Calif.  And use the ShoreTel Dock by simply sliding it in, and having access to the speakerphone and handset and more.  Every attendee was really impressed with how this is available now for both the premise and cloud ShoreTel Sky UCaaS service.   And it works for Avaya too, which sets the stage for migrating to ShoreTel over time.   We are now the second leading provider of solutions in the 50- to 500-line-size in the U.S., and it’s only because our best sales people are our customers.

The highlight of the show?  A woman from one of our larger enterprises wanted to learn how to monitor the network performance of their national network.  Even though I wasn’t formally trained on ShoreTel 14, I opened the Diagnostics and Monitoring module of ShoreTel Director with the system that I set up myself at the show, and demonstrated how you can monitor every network element in the system.  You can find out there is packet loss and also the calculated MOS score for quality between network elements.  After scribbling down notes at laser speed, she said that was exactly what she wanted, and will be upgrading from ShoreTel 12 to 14 based on what she heard.  And then the punch line.  She asked what engineering school I went to. I guess that would be ShoreTel University, because I’ve never taken a single engineering class in my life, never even taken a ShoreTel training class, not even a class on how to set up or manage a system.  But it’s not really rocket science.  You just use your intuition and general understanding and common sense, and drill down into what you would expect the information to be presented, and there it is.  And if you get stuck, a help module is there.  She asked some things I couldn’t answer, but sometimes it’s better to tell someone you don’t know, but you know where you can get the answer after the show.

So cool to see a customers like Growmark, one of the largest seed companies in the world, who uses ShoreTel, offer to invite a prospective customer to their site to show them how they use it. That happens so often.  I’ve never seen that in my career as much as what I’ve seen at ShoreTel.  I put quite a few on my Facebook page.

Ok, the truth be known, going on the Aerosmith ride at the Hollywood Studios on the Gartner evening night out private reception in the park is definitely fun for an up and coming rock star like me, for which Aerosmith wins my vote for the leading ride in my book any day.  But talking computer nerd speak to a fellow computer nerd at the show was in some ways even more fun. Why do I go to these shows?  Because I don’t want to miss a thing.  Stephen Tyler would like that.