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September 7, 2012
ShoreTel (NASDAQ: SHOR) has officially rebranded its cloud solutions portfolio to ShoreTel Sky, some seven months after buying M5 Networks for $160 million, a deal that enabled the communications provider to offer on-premise and hosted unified communications (UC) services. For customers, it meant not having to house their phone systems in a closet and for channel partners, the deal presented a data center-focused UC solution to sell.
Dan Hoffman, newly minted ShoreTel Sky president and former M5 chief who apparently has a good sense of humor, wrote in a blog post that the name change was bittersweet. “I’ve spent the last 12 years focused on all things M5, so it is just a little bit sad. The good part is that I won’t have to keep making up answers to the question, ‘how did you get the name M5?’ He then proceeded to include an audio clip from an old Star Trek episode about a runaway central computer (think Hal from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey). Funny stuff.
In searching for a suitable name for the former M5, Hoffman said “ShoreTel Cloud” emerged as the default favorite but “Sky hit us all at the same time [because] it represents something beyond the clouds with limitless possibilities. It’s bright, short, alliterates with ShoreTel and it was available. The word cloud aptly describes our technology. The word Sky describes our potential,” he wrote.
Then, seemingly, he couldn’t resist: “The truth is, [the name] M5 meant nothing at start,” Hoffman said, noting that “it will take some time to build the stories and the meaning around ShoreTel Sky.” The unit already has opened up a new portal (portal.shoretelsky.com) for customers, and, he said, “I’m looking forward to getting ShoreTel Sky up in the air.”
Since the acquisition, ShoreTel’s cloud-based bookings have climbed more than 40 percent year-over-year as measured in the June 2012 quarter, according to the company. And, in a study by Synergy Research Group, ShoreTel showed up as the fastest growing vendor in the U.S. enterprise IP telephony market in Q1 2012, posting a 20 percent share gain from the prior quarterly to hold slightly less than 8 percent of the segment, besting Avaya and Mitel in the process.
ShoreTel is developing an architecture that allows the applications to be accessed on-premise or in the cloud. ShoreTel Mobility was the first application that was originally premise-based but is now also available in the cloud from ShoreTel Sky. The company recently released the ShoreTel Sky Communicator, a collaboration service that includes instant messaging, voice and video chat, screen-sharing and file transfer. In June, it extended the UC features and functionality of the M5 cloud-based solution to mobile devices under its ShoreTel Mobility tag.
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