The only thing more fun than holding a conference with about 1,000 channel partners is being able to invite 30 industry analysts to share in the celebration. I had the pleasure of inviting these 30 industry analysts from the U.S., Canada, England, Australia and Singapore to attend my annual Industry Analyst Briefing.

The event started with the analysts taking in the keynote presentations from Peter Blackmore, Kevin Gavin and Don Girskis outlining our strategy for making our channel partners even more successful in 2012.  And with our growth at 39 percent year-over-year, the energy level from the record number of attendees was over the top.

This was followed by an executive panel that went into more detail with the analysts on our vision for the future. Representatives from ScanSource, NSC Group, AT&T Mobility and IPC described the ways they serve customers and play a role in ShoreTel’s goal of becoming a billion dollar company. And finally, we had the pleasure of having three executives from our customers Robert International, Dover Product Group and Hay Group describe how they serve thousands of employees, some integrated seamlessly with Microsoft OCS. (Bonus points for Nicky Roberts who shared how she also raised funds similar to me with the Walk N Rock fundraiser for the Raley Foundation – another ShoreTel customer.)

At the end of the day, it was time to relax and have a nice dinner at Roy’s Asian Fusion with some special guests. Rather than buying the analysts another ShoreTel logoed thing that gets tossed or put on a shelf, I instead invited representatives from them American Red Cross to be our guests. We donated $500 on behalf of the group and had our guests explain how it helps the relief effort in Japan. And in that spirit, I did give all of the guests engraved chopstick sets with “Friendships and generosity last forever” written in Japanese. Everyone had such a good time – spending the evening with my friends, having dinner with some of my favorite Cabernet is always a treat.

On Thursday, the analysts took in the NDA roadmap presentation. It’s a tremendous way to share our vision for the future, even with everyone having an iPad that could be used to blog about our confidential direction. But they didn’t. Having a trusted relationship with 30 analysts allows me to share everything about ShoreTel.

There is a saying I believe in, “If you’ve got a great story, you tell it.” And that’s what we did over the three days, resulting in so many fine words being written in blogs and reports. Tack on private 1-on-1 meetings, and it was a great way to have the analysts learn more about us, our channel partners and the passion from our wonderful customers.

“Friendships and Generosity Lasts Forever.” That was certainly was the case in Chicago this year at our Champion Partner Conference. I can’t wait to invite everyone back next year for another celebration of our success!

Digital transformation has become a top initiative for business and IT leaders. In today’s business world, sustainable market leadership is no longer based solely on which company has the best products or even the best people. Instead, organizations that are agile and can quickly adapt to rapidly evolving market trends will become market leaders.

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