The recent article “Adding up the real costs of so-called ‘free’ Microsoft Lync” highlights the hidden costs associated with a Microsoft Lync deployment.

These costs include server OS licenses, server hardware, IP phones, gateways for branch survivability, analog endpoints and adapters, and additional software assurance/support costs. To make matters worse, the licensing scheme for Microsoft Lync 2010 is extremely confusing. In fact, Microsoft publishes a 32-page guide to help customers understand their licensing.

ShoreTel, on the other hand, makes it easy for customers to understand what they’re buying. A ShoreTel deployment requires just one generic server, ShoreTel switches/appliances, and ShoreTel phones to provide a complete unified communications solution. Furthermore, ShoreTel’s licensing scheme is simple to understand. Options exist as to whether to include an extension only, mailbox only, or extension and mailbox. Then a customer just has to select their end-user client capabilities; whether to include a soft phone, video, and IM/presence. To top things off, ShoreTel’s support plans include free software assurance (upgrades).

Ease of deployment is just another way that ShoreTel leads the industry with its “brilliantly simple” solution. Before making a unified communications purchase decision, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into.

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