Friday, October 03, 2008


So we are moving to VOIP in our Denver office.  This will be a new area for us as we are  a long time Siemen's PBX customer.  After much consideration we've decided to go with ShoreTel


The decision was based on price, performance and ease of use.  Once again Cisco lost out on two of those issues...price and ease of use.  The performance metric was difficult to get a handle on (I'm not sure I ever did) because you'd almost have to do a bake off to tell the difference.  In the end, ease of use was the real motivation to go with ShoreTel.  We don't have a full time telcom person so I need my network admins to be able to configure and support the gear.  Cisco once again is just too complicated to deal with.  I'll let you know how it goes but so far I'm really excited.

Note to my open source homies: I did think about SwitchVox and given more time I may have decided to go with them.  However, in the interest of time (we go live 01/01/2009) and given the fact that there will be no IT support people in our Denver office I wanted a known, tested system.  So basically I whimped out.  Sometimes you gotta pick you battles.


James Bland said...

Wow, This is the first time I've heard of anyone going with Shoretel after looking at Switchvox. Asterisk is open source and is way more tested than Shoretel ever could. Imagine a community in the millions testing and contributing. My Company has pulled several installations of Shoretel in favor of Switchvox. In fact if you need used Shoretel gear I have Several T1 modules, Switches, and hundreds of phones of various models.

Additionally Shoretel isn't a real VOIP solution. The minute you want to try and hook up to a SIP trunk you'll realize this. Most to all of their devices uses a proprietary version of MGCP. Proprietary meaning you can't take advantage of all the great solutions what work with VOIP, specifically SIP compliant devices.

Formally I installed Shoretel for a lot of companies, government, and education. But after dealing with many problems as well as licensing issues with Shoretel I just couldn't do a dis-service to my clients by installing their system anymore.

Hopefully you haven't signed anything with Shoretel. Please give me a call if you want anymore information to help you make a informed decision.

James Bland
NowMy Net Works, LLC.
800 397-9864

Greg said...

This is a surprising choice. We did the same evaluation actually. We looked at Cisco, Shoretel, Zultys, and Switchvox. Zultys was the incumbent and was displaced by Switchvox for the easy of use and management. We had multiple offices and multiple remote users. I am not a reseller, but seriously if it isn't too late, I would re-examine the choice and pull Switchvox into the mix. If it meets all of your business requirements, I wouldn't let concerns of an "untested" system stand in your way. Frankly Switchvox has been among the best technology decisions I have made in my 15+ year career in technology.

.e4 Technologies said...

WOW- One can only guess that this decision was the direct result of a sales person dropping the ball.

I cannot see any other reason to select Shoretel over Switchvox.

Mike White
Switchvox Fan
.e4 Technologies

Dave Michels said...

I agree with James. Shoretel over Switchvox makes no sense. Particularly since Rolfsa said

"The decision was based on price, performance and ease of use."

There is no way the Shoretel was less expensive (initial or TCO) or easier to use. Performance is a bit more vague on PBXs but I don't see how that could favor Shoretel either.

Factor in:
1) Proprietary silly looking Shoretel phones vs. Polycom, Snom, or Aastra, etc. open phones.
2) Poor SIP Support.
3) Poor application support... last time I checked Shoretel wasn't offering things like Integration with Google or out of the box.
4) Poor third party support. How many vendors are scrambling to work with Shoretel's proprietary protocols.... vs. Switchvox. Just in the past week or so Switchvox announced partnerships with Skype and Broadsoft.

Check with Buffalo Communications in Denver.

Rolfsa said...

Love the comments guys...I wasn't sure anyone was even reading my blog! Addmittedly, SwitchVox wasn't even seen as an option until late in the game. We were under the gun and I have been looking at Cisco vs. ShoreTel for quite awhile but I had limited information on Swithvox and didn't have the opportunity to full test a Switchvox solution. However, looking at local support I ran into issues looking for more then 3 support providers in the local areas of each of our 5 office. As there are no IT support staff directly in our Denver office it was important to me to have a few local "go-to" people to support the phone system. That was ultimately the deciding factor. Additionally, I get a lot of my research and information for ILTA which is a Legal specific group of users. Not one Legal Firm has yet used Switchvox or for that matter Asterisk as their Firm's production phone system. Some element of comfortablity comes from peers and their experiences. Based on my short time line, I went with ShoreTel which was a known quantity.

Jeremy said...

I'm curious to know how you feel about this decision almost a year later. We are going through the same process right now and are considering Cisco, Shoretel and Switchvox.

Shoretel seems like a very nice system. I am impressed with the distributed architecture and ease of use. But, I am concerned about the lack of SIP support, especially SIP Trunking. To get all of the bells and whistles, we would also have to purchase alot of options. In addition, Shoretel would give us the reliability and dependability of a 'proprietary' solution. They would be responsible for making everything work, which removes some of the stress or worry.

Switchvox, on the other hand, would give us an incredible feature set without being required to purchase a bunch of upgrades or additional licenses. We are a small business, only about 40 users, and not a large IT staff.

Any thoughts?

Dave Michels said...

Shoretel is an excellent product, it is well thought out and they have made some very impressive gains over the past year.

There is no universal answer to what is the best system. It largely depends on your priorities and they don't appear very clear. You keep indicating that price is the primary concern - but then you go with a fairly expensive solution - citing for example that there needs to be three dealers in town?

If you are buying a Jag, you might want three garages in town. If you are buying a Honda, one will do.

Switchvox too has made some significant steps over the year. Switchvox SMB4 was a huge upgrade. Their initial cost is low particularly since all features are included and their ongoing costs (software assurance, training, managing) are very low. SMB4 also offers a very strong solution for multi-sites.

I suggest you figure out your priorities.

Rolfsa said...

We are completely happy with the Shoretel system. It's easy to administer, has performed flawlessly since installation and there's been no surprises hidden in the costs. I never said price was the only issue, I said it was one of the main issues but you need to look past the initial capital purchase. My 5 year TCO was well within the margins I needed with ShoreTel. Additionally, when compared to other Commercial solutions (like Avaya, Cisco, etc...) it is quite a bit cheaper when you look at all the costs not just the initial purchase. I built up a pretty decent cost benefit model that I used for the project. I suggest you do the same. SIP trunking wasn't at the top of my list of requirements but you might want to check out SureTrunk by Etherspeak. They offer a good SIP trunking system for ShoreTel that's proven to work.

I far as my priorities, well that's all under control. See I list my internal customers priorities, then my managements priorities and then my own. By melding them together and getting people to agree on a common solution we ended up with a great system thank you. No I don't list all the details on everything I covered the project in my blog...just the highlights.

Anonymous said...

If you want to check out Switchvox in Denver, talk to Buffalo Communications.

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Win goal said...

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ShoreTel Dealer
Crestron Dealer

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