I’ve just returned from ShoreTel’s Partner Conference in San Diego, and while the weather was uncharacteristically gray, the executives were exceedingly bright. ShoreTel continues to capitalize on its SMB momentum with its “Brilliant Simplicity” tagline, emphasizing the ease of deployment of its solution for IT administrators, users, and buyers alike. ShoreTel executives were exuberant about their five straight quarters of revenue growth and committed to investing heavily in R&D and sales, highlighting current products (including the announcement of ShoreTel 11) and future directions for the company. Here are several significant items that ShoreTel stressed:
ShoreTel for IBM Lotus Foundations. Already available on the market for four months, this self-healing UCC appliance is easy to deploy, configure, and maintain. IBM has had problems developing market momentum with other partners — Mitel, NEC, and Nortel — but current CEO John Combs stressed that the value of the solution combined with the strength of ShoreTel’s partners would set it apart. I believe this appliance will be a winner.
ShoreTel Virtualization. Ed Basart, chief technology officer spoke about future ShoreTel deployments having the ability to be centralized or distributed depending on the customer’s unique communication patterns and needs as the software for server and switch components is ported to run on VMware. I think ShoreTel will do well to capitalize on the market interest in virtualization, and that capability will provide a calling card for ShoreTel at potential enterprise accounts as it continues to increase the potential scale of its solution.
NTT is set to buy Dimension Data (DiData) for US$3.2 billion. For decades, customers have lamented their traditional telco service providers’ lack of IT integration depth — today, NTT appears to be putting its money where its customers want. Following in the footsteps of more focused deals like BT’s acquisition of Wire One or AT&T’s acquisition of VeriSign’s Global Security Consulting Business, the acquisition of Dimension Data signals NTT’s intent to be a superpower in worldwide information and communications technology (ICT) solutions delivery. But, make no mistake, it is still only a small acquisition for NTT — as one of only three telcos in the world with more than US$100 billion in revenues, the US$3.2 billion acquisition price will have only incremental effect on the firm’s balance sheet.
Other than the right to say NTT owns a highly respected global ICT integrator, what’s in the deal for NTT?