ShoreTel vs Lync

ShoreTel vs Lync as a phone system to replace a Nortel BCM 400.. Thoughts?  Info? hands-on experience
GorapsI.T. ManagerAsked:
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JRSCGIConnect With a Mentor Commented:
We have several clients with Lync and many clients with ShoreTel.  As a consulting firm, we are not pre-disposed to either.  There are some things that Lync just does not do, but not every firm cares about those differences.   For example, if you want to duplicate "square key system" setup or like voice announce intercom features.
Since both are VoIP and software controlled, neither requires vendor visits for MAC work unless the client has zero IT staff.  
The newest version of ShoreTel (13.1) has some good features and now includes some of the capabilities (such as embedded IM/presence) that are part of Lync.  
You have a wider choice of phone types with ShoreTel, but Lync has enough third party sets to choose from that it is not a detriment.
ShoreTel, as a stand-alone system, is a bit more resilient than Lync (which is heavily dependent upon multiple servers, including AD, Exchange, and Lync).  It has good failover options.
ShoreTel will typically cost more for licensing and hardware, but Lync tends to take more hours for implementation (which may result in higher professional services fees or more internal time).
If you are a telephony type person, the ShoreTel is a good choice and is much easier to program and maintain than the BCM.  If you are an IT person comfortable with MSFT (AD, etc.) then Lync is a good choice.  I have not yet had a client implement ShoreTel and was subsequently sorry that they did.  I do have one client that installed Lync and then reduced its role (installing a parallel phone system), however, other Lync installations have been judged just fine.
Its really hard to say because I have used both of them and liked them both alot, shoretel is probably more affordable but the licensing was a bit of a headache for me when it comes to purchasing manager licenses/professional licenses etc.  Equipment was cheap in price but the licensing is always where the money is.  Other than that once it was all figured out everything worked very well.  Lync also worked very-well and I found it very easy to integrate into the environment.

Lync was probably the better option for me with all of it integration and features where with shoretel it has the features but you have to purchase licenses for it.  Shoretel is a nice software even for smaller businesses, I am not 100% sure they are quite yet ready for the big business environment.

Then again this is just a personal opinion and this is only my take on it.
Here's a few good reads.

My opinion, if you got an EA with Microsoft that covers Lync, then why pay another vendor. Sure Lync is still working it's way, but that's what the EA is for too. New features made available and you got them. I also like how Lync can now integrate with Polycom phones, so you got the best of both worlds there, and it's all native to Microsoft Office.

If you dont got an EA, then maybe going the ShoreTel way may save you some money there, but just make sure to allot some money for maintenance contracts and any vendor visits for add/moves/changes.
getzjdConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Agonza07, vendor visits for Shoretel adds/moves/changes?  Prior to me installing our ShoreTel systems at 8 sites and configuring a sip trunk for our ShoreTel to work with an existing Avaya, I had 0 VoIP experience.   Mind you I was a CCNP, MCSE etc so I had the general knowledge, but ShoreTel is just a simple solution to both implement, support, and administer.  I have no experience with Lync, but I just wanted to give you a clear view of ShoreTel Goraps.

My advice would be to create a spreadsheet that identifies your wants/needs/nice to haves and then two columns, one for ShoreTel and one for Lync and check off the list.  Make sure to include recoverability, cost of infrastructure changes etc then top it off with price.  We started off with a 3 year maintenance contract included.   We recently renewed with Partner support (not Enterprise) so that we could still access the software upgrades.  We have had very few instances where we needed to contact support over the last 4 years.  Partner support saved us about 12k over 3 years.  Annual maintenance renewal after 3 years for a little over 300 licenses came to about $9000.

SOftware upgrades are also a breeze with ShoreTel.  We upgraded to 12.2 last year, but I believe it is as simple as 1. upgrade the HQ server then upgrade the DVS server at the other site.  This was as simple as just running a setup and clicking through.   2. once that is complete, reboot the switches through the management interface for all sites to pull the switch updates automatically.   3. reboot all phones and they pull the updated automatically.     Over 300 phones and we only had 3 or 4 get stuck on a reboot which we needed to manually clear the config and reboot.   A manual clear takes about 5 seconds to perform  Pressing Mute + RESET# and Mute + CLEAR#

Examine both solutions in depth and make the right decision for your environment.  I will be glad to answer any other shoretel quesitons you have, but I cannot speak about Lync.
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