Bicycle or Unicycle: Partners Make The Perfect Back Wheel In Today’s Communications Landscape
For me, summer always means following the Tour de France. It’s probably the most grueling cycling race in the world. And this year the riders will face a string of 200+ kilometer stages and punishing hill climbs that will take them through 28 high mountain passes.
It’s an incredible race. And, in my book, everyone that crosses the finish line is a champion. But, imagine if the competitors were forced to switch from their state-of-the-art road bikes to equally high-tech, but much trickier to ride unicycles? They’d be lucky to finish the first stage, let alone get all the way to Paris!
The fact is that a bicycle with two wheels is a better transportation solution than a unicycle with just one. The two wheels have important but completely different jobs – the front steers and the back provides the power. And the result is the most efficient self-powered mode of transport ever invented.
Why am I talking about bicycles on a blog? Well, partly because I love bikes and the freedom they give their riders. But mainly because I believe that companies are also more efficient when they approach things from a partner perspective rather than trying to go it solo.
Working through channel partners can free up an organisation to focus on its core business, while the channel concentrates on understanding the customer and offering the right set of solutions or services.
That’s fundamentally why ShoreTel has adopted and intends to continue following a partner model. Like bicycle wheels, both sides of a partner model have very specific roles. And together they can accomplish much more than alone.
Best of Both Worlds
Our structure actually makes a partner model ever more attractive – for ShoreTel, our partners and for customers.
ShoreTel’s cloud offering means that everything is plug-and-play and billed on a monthly basis. We are also very easy to work with from a partner perspective. Unlike a lot of technology companies, ShoreTel partners don’t need to invest heavily in technical training for a huge staff of certified field engineers. And they certainly don’t need to be concerned with complex integration with a customer’s existing solutions – when needed, it simply works.
That’s not to say our partners aren’t important or have nothing to do. Far from it. If ShoreTel is the front wheel on the bike and doing the steering, our partners are the back wheel that provides the power.
They are on the front line every day. Working face-to-face with customers. Understanding what makes cloud-based unified communications tick, and explaining how enterprises can drive value from it. As well as identifying potential customers for ShoreTel, they provide in-depth advice and counsel to businesses that are looking to make their operations more efficient, agile and competitive.
It's All Relative
Developing that level of expertise doesn’t happen overnight. So ShoreTel invests a lot of time and energy nurturing the partner relationships we have built over the years. And we are looking for new ones to join the race to roll unified communications out to a market that is forecast to reach US$7.0 billion by 2019, according to research by Synergy, Inc.
In the long run, ShoreTel will remain 100% committed to a channel strategy. It’s the smart play because it keeps customers happy and frees the organisation to focus on what it does best – delivering superior services, and perhaps most importantly, coming up with new ideas and innovation.
After all, when he was asked about where his theory of relativity came from, Albert Einstein famously said “I thought of that while riding my bike.”
If he’d been riding a unicycle, he’d have been too busy just trying to stay upright, never mind thinking!