Thursday, July 22, 2010

ShoreTel And Alinean Launch Online TCO Tool for Unified Communications Business Case

Easy-to-use online calculator analyzes the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of competing unified communications systems to determine true costs and business value

SUNNYVALE, Calif., July 21, 2010 –ShoreTel® (NASDAQ: SHOR), the leading provider of brilliantly simple IP phone systems with fully integrated unified communications (UC), today announced the availability of the ShoreTel Online TCO Tool – powered by Alinean, the leading developer of research, methodologies and software tools to measure and quantify the value of return on investment from business-to-business solutions. This easy-to-use tool is accessible through ShoreTel’s public Web site and is based on the TCO industry standards that Alinean has established, incorporating independent third party research from leading firms.

The ShoreTel TCO Tool leverages the significant resources of Alinean, including its worldwide metrics database. The tool analyzes TCO, including upfront acquisition costs management and support, for ShoreTel, legacy TDM systems and various competing UC vendors.


SHORETEL TCO TOOL: SUMMARY OF KEY FEATURES

Many companies have realized that complexity is now one of the most significant drivers of cost in their business. The ShoreTel TCO Tool demonstrates that eliminating complexity with ShoreTel’s brilliantly simple solutions can reduce their TCO by up to 40 percent or more.

The ShoreTel TCO Tool combines upfront capital costs (including telephony system, network upgrade, hardware replacement and capitalized implementation charges); annual recurring operating expenses (including support services, moves adds and changes, system management, electricity consumption, voice trunk, wide area network and long distance charges); and annual tax savings into a single TCO comparison.

The ShoreTel TCO validates how TCO can be more than four times the upfront cost over a multi-year period.

Once information is entered online, the TCO Tool provides very detailed reports for alternative vendors, including TCO, post-tax cash flow, pay-back period, return on investment, internal rate of return and net present value.

Results from the ShoreTel TCO Tool are supported by ShoreTel’s Lowest TCO Guarantee program, so that if ShoreTel’s TCO Tool and/or additional independent data determine our TCO is higher than a competing solution, ShoreTel will lower its price to beat the competition.

QUOTES

Tom Pisello, Chairman, Alinean, Inc. - “Many IP Telephony buyers continue to make new purchase decisions based predominantly on up-front costs, however, the recurring operating costs for IPT often exceed four times acquisition cost over the life of the system. Research has shown that these operating costs correlate closely with the complexity of implementing, managing and supporting the underlying technology. Conversely, solutions that reduce complexity and simplify management result in lower TCO. The ShoreTel TCO Tool helps customers model this complexity and compare TCO categories, considering both near and long term costs across multiple UC solutions, and providing a vital tool for buyers to make well-informed value-based purchase decisions.”

Mark Arman, vice president of business development, ShoreTel - “Economic pressures and other corporate governance requirements mean that decision making is now most often shared with the CFO and other financial decision makers. When it comes to unified communications, however, these decision makers often know little about the technology and its benefits. More than 500 ShoreTel customers have already met their UC financial decision-making requirements using the ShoreTel TCO Tool. By making it easily accessible through our Web site, we’re confident more organizations will take advantage of the vital insight it provides to support the decision-making process.”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Winning the War on Complexity with TCO - ShoreTel Partners Conference Keynote

Join Tom Pisello, CEO of Alinean and Mark Arman, ShoreTel’s Vice President of Business Development to discuss important changes to IT capital approval processes following the Global Financial Crisis, and the challenges faced by many vendors to communicate their value proposition in this new environment. The presentation will take place at the ShoreTel annual partner conference in San Diego 10.50am to 11.30am Thursday, July 22nd.

Learn how these changes are impacting the industry’s adoption of best of breed vendors such as ShoreTel, how ShoreTel is delivering significant savings to customers that have embraced these new requirements, and how to leverage this success by driving ROI and TCO principles throughout your organization.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

How to Break Free of the Pack? Differentiate for Success

Competition has never been greater for customer mindshare. Sales cycles are extended, more stakeholders are involved in each decision, and more competitors seem to be invited into every deal. So are the leading characteristics for sales and marketing in 2010.

So how can you best differentiate your offerings and break free from the pack?

According to a recent Forrester technology sales enablement study, executives showed the best course was for vendors:

1) To match the right combination of capabilities to their given situation
2) Align offerings to help them realize a business result

These two differentiators accounted for 53% response, more significant than any other differentiating attribute, including the vendors products and services, their branding, or their customer services.

As a marketer, how are you helping demonstrate to customers that solutions are aligned to their given situation / need?

As a sales enablement professional, what tools are you giving to sales people to help them align offerings to deliver results?

As you try to differentiate for success, doing all you can to match the right combination of capabilities to their given situation , and align offerings to help them realize a business result is essential.

One suggestion we have used with customers to help them maximize differentiation is to provide executive assessment tools, , that can assess customer opportunities and align solutions to help solve the most pressing needs / solve specific problems. Online simple versions can be provided on the corporate web site or microsites so customers can do their own basic assessement, and more involved ones for sales professional s and channel partners for interactive consultative engagements to facilitate needs assessments and alignment of solutions to business results.

A great example of such a toolkit is Microsoft's Infrastructure Optimization Assessment(http://www.microsoft.com/optimization/tools/overview.mspx). These assessment tools can be used directly by customers, or in engagements by partners / sales professionals to diagnose the most pressing needs - comparing the companies IT and business tool optimization versus peers. In a resultant 20 page assessment report, all issues are intelligently tied to a prescriptive roadmap of practice improvements, solution recommendations and advice. Using the toolkit, Microsoft is able to transcend the competition, aligning solutions directly to pressing needs, and proving the business value such results can have.


The original Forrester study and commentary can be found at: http://blogs.forrester.com/scott_santucci/10-06-28-do_your_value_propositions_go_eleven