ShoreTel Reveals Bullish Plans for Europe

ShoreTel is planning for aggressive growth in Europe, with hopes of mirroring its U.S. strategy in the region.

The IP PBX provider is looking to more than triple growth in Europe, according to Mark Swendsen, managing director EMEA.

“We want to be the equivalent size in the UK and Europe that we are in the U.S.,” he said in an interview with eWEEK. “We have very aggressive targets for where we want to be within the next four years. We want to grow our channel to enable us to this do and double our number of partners by next July.”

Swendsen said the vendor is looking for an additional 20 top-tier VARs to enable the company to cover Europe. “We are not looking for data-specific or voice-specific resellers, but partners who want to make the transition into the VOIP [voice over IP] sector and the convergence space and we are planning to invest heavily in resources to enable us to do this,” he said.

Although in the United States ShoreTel has a direct relationship with its VARs, in Europe the company is distributed by Horizon and Cohort Technology.

Simon Welch, marketing director at Horizon UK, said Horizon intends to drive the vendor’s offering hard in the UK.

“We are taking a unified communications approach to this and right now there is a cracking opportunity here,” he said. “We’re looking for the IP PBX resellers, but more vitally for the partners that can see the opportunity with unified communications, especially tied into Microsoft’s Office Communications Server [OCS].”

Welch added that OCS will be the real trigger for this market.

“Most of the vendors have stopped their own software development to work directly with Microsoft on OCS,” he said.

For its fiscal year 2007, which ended June 30, ShoreTel revenues were $97.8 million, up 59 percent over the previous year. The company generated $6 million in profits, a jump over the $4 million it garnered in 2006.

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