ShoreTel in the Driving Seat

The day before the British Grand Prix Comms Business attended the launch of the Technical Partnership between ShoreTel and the Williams F1 Team at their Oxfordshire Conference Centre to find out what the deal means for the two companies.

The communications sector has always had a close affinity to the world of fast cars and speed so when ShoreTel announced their new partnership with Williams, and a launch date at the Williams Conference Centre which houses all their former F1 Cars in a magnificent presentation suite, the event went straight in my diary and the diaries of their invited channel partners.

The bottom line is that ShoreTel has agreed a technical partnership with the Williams F1 Team to provide a unified communications and collaboration platform across their enterprise.

The partnership will see ShoreTel become an Official Technical Supplier for the UK-based team from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, at which Williams will compete in its 600th Formula One race.

Through the partnership, ShoreTel will provide its unified communications solutions across the full breadth of the Williams organisation, including the Formula One team and Williams Advanced Engineering, as well as integrating communications within the team’s on-track activities at races around the world. ShoreTel’s business communications solution will also extend to Williams’ Technology Centre in Qatar, ensuring a truly international collaboration.

The technology ShoreTel will provide as part of the contract includes ShoreTel IP-PBX, ShoreTel Mobility client licenses to extend UC applications to mobile devices, Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) handsets, conferencing services, and ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Centre (ECC) with multi-media, providing a complete end-to-end solution whether onsite or remotely.

“This exciting new partnership with the Williams F1 Team positions ShoreTel at the cutting edge of technology in an increasingly relevant international market,” said Adrian Hipkiss, ShoreTel’s EMEA vice president and managing director. “We are joining forces with a company that shares our forward-thinking vision and one that also thrives on delivering state-of-the-art technology. This new partnership allows us to demonstrate our award-winning telephony solutions with one of the world’s leading engineering companies, whose day-to-day operations, both at the factory and at 19 Formula One races around the world, rely on brilliantly simple unified communications.”

Hipkiss said that he had a lifelong passion for all forms of motor sport. “We understand the business challenges faced by Williams F1 and with 22,000 CPE and 2,000 cloud based customers around the globe, welcome the opportunity to help Williams. ShoreTel has a long history of innovation and is financially stable. Our core approach is ‘simplicity’ and working with clients to unlock the human potential in their organisation. We share common cultures with Williams; high integrity, innovation, cutting edge designs and a desire to win.”

Speaking via a link from the pits at the nearby Silverstone race circuit where the team were in practice sessions ahead of the British Grand Prix, Claire Williams, deputy team principal and commercial director at Williams, said, “I am pleased to welcome ShoreTel as Official Technical Supplier of the team in what promises to be a rewarding relationship for both parties. Williams is a diverse and multi-disciplined engineering business, which relies on high quality, mission critical communications, so this new partnership with ShoreTel is one which will benefit not only the Formula One team but every area of our business as we continue to diversify and expand into new areas.”

Chris Taylor, Head of Williams IT, told Comms Business Magazine, that from an IT perspective, his team is supporting just under 500 people across the world including Oxford, Qatar and all the F1 race locations.

We asked him, what were some of the challenges you face as a business especially given the competitive and secretive nature of F1?

“We run a mission critical business. If we are not ready to go when a race starts we can’t hold our hand up and ask for another 30 minutes – we have to go. Our IT and comms systems have to be reliable and easy to manage. They also have to be secure and handle all the BYOD issues that firms face today.

For 11 months of the year we have up to 60 staff travelling the around the world to all the F1 race locations and from an IT perspective we have the challenges of time differences, meeting track to factory requirements and the cost of communications. We therefore need 24/7/365 support and innovative and creative solutions.”

Taylor says that the key benefits of the new ShoreTel solution over their present set up are many and include the fact that the single image solution with centralised licenses can be used at any location.

“I can list all the benefits readily – ShoreTel is easy for us to make moves, adds and changes from anywhere in the world. The system is reliable with no single point of failure – there’s no spinning media, only flash memory.

The ShoreTel Mobility application on smartphones will save Williams costs on roaming charges by leveraging Wi-Fi and routing calls via the internet, where possible, via the mobility client or DECT phones during race weekends.

We’ll also be enhancing the customer experience for people ringing Williams by routing certain numbers to dedicated agents to ensure first call resolution.”


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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine
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