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The Summit Partner Program offers resources such as certification training, development support and co-marketing activities aimed at allowing partners to develop communication applications and accelerate time to market. Partners also can benefit from profiles in ShoreTel’s online TechConnect Marketplace, “increasing their visibility to ShoreTel’s existing customer base and driving demand for their solutions or services," according to the company.
Mark Roberts, ShoreTel’s chief marketing officer, tells Channel Partners that expanding TechConnect to include partnership opportunities for Summit was a “natural evolution of the program."
“The TechConnect Program supports third parties in developing and validating solutions that integrate with ShoreTel’s core offerings to address specific business needs," he said. “As a communications-platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) solution, Summit offers similar integration flexibility, plus allows developers to create highly customized voice and SMS solutions or even apps that are unrelated to ShoreTel’s UC suite — say a health care app or a payment processing app. The platform model creates the need for different kinds of partners, which is what led to the creation of the Summit Partner Program."
The Summit program supports three types of partners: Solution, Application and Module. Solution partners use Summit to develop custom voice and SMS applications or integrate communication capabilities into customers’ existing environments. Multiple longtime ShoreTel partners have expanded their business to become Summit Solution partners, including Converged Technology Professionals, Palitto Consulting Services and LANtelligence.
Application partners typically are ISVs or SaaS providers that offer market-ready apps built on Summit or use Summit’s architecture to power communications capabilities in their flagship applications.
Finally, Module partners provide programming components and Lua libraries that other developers can use as building blocks to enhance the capabilities of Summit apps. Companies such as VoiceBase and Next Caller have joined as Module partners. Next Caller, for example, offers a module that lets developers extend a Summit voice application with advanced caller ID capabilities, matching incoming phone numbers with more than 70 data points to provide detailed customer or prospect information in real time.
“The flexibility that Summit provides allows partners to deliver communication solutions that are fine tuned for their customer’s business," Roberts said. “It may be as simple as triggering an SMS message to confirm an appointment or as complex as a multi-level workflow integration for a large contact center. For partners who have consulting and development expertise, the Summit Partner Program means they can manage all of this with ShoreTel as a single solution provider. Partners who don’t have that expertise can still fulfill those needs by connecting with a Summit Solution partner or application partner in our Marketplace. It changes the conversation with customers from ‘here’s what we can offer’ to ‘what do you want to do?’"