ARC brings affordable voice comms to SMEs

South African SMEs can now access affordable, market-leading IP communications. Converged telecommunications provider, ARC Telecoms, and ShoreTel’s South African distribution partner Tellumat, brings ShoreTel’s unified communications services to local mid-size businesses.

ARC selected ShoreTel for its technology, its focus on the small to medium business space, a reputation for excellent customer service for the 20- to 500-user market.

“Access to the ShoreTel option in South Africa changes the comms game for small and medium enterprises. Unified Communications, Voice over IP, IP PBX solutions have not been attractive options for most small to medium businesses which have little appetite or budget for technology risk,” says Steve Briggs, CEO of ARC Telecoms.  “Even if the Return on Investment and cost savings numbers make sense, management time and IT resources needed to implement unified voice and data networks are an obstacle when compared with the expensive and limited, but terribly reliable, traditional landline phone systems.”

“Our partnership with Shoretel changes this,” says Briggs. “They are a great partner because their experience with the SME space globally means that we can work with ShoreTel to create really flexible bundles which makes sense financially and technically in South Africa.”

Globally, ShoreTel aims to bring a lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) to their various markets.  International studies have consistently found that ShoreTel offers the lowest TCO when compared with other vendors. Proof of their commitment to extend this objective into their South African market is demonstrated in their latest area promotion, where new customers can get up to 50 free extensions with mailboxes.

ARC integrates ShoreTel into its existing set of services. “Our customers aren’t just looking for value for money. They also want the management of their technology to be simple. By bringing the IP PBX, voice and unified communications offering into our mix of solutions we can offer them a ‘one provider, one bill’ answer which results in integrated management of the solution and cost-effective pricing,” says Briggs.

ARC has successfully implemented ShoreTel into six customer sites so far with all clients confirming that the onsite demonstration was a key factor in the purchasing decision. ARC is able to set up a live demonstration of the technology in action at the client’s site to prove that it can work in the office environment.
Reyhana Nakiern, the IT Program Manager at logistics company F&R Catai Transport Solutions, explains: “The technology decision needed to be made by the whole board, many of whom are not very technically literate. To be able to see the solution in action immediately built a lot of trust in both the workability of the ShoreTel technology and in ARC.”
ShoreTel is based on a single image, distributed software architecture made specifically for the IP environment that reduces costs, untangles the complexity found with legacy PBX systems, and increases employee productivity.

“It’s a piece of really simple, really fantastic technology that’s easy to deploy, manage, scale and use,” concludes Briggs.

If you are interested in reading more about the impact of Unified Communications on business in South Africa, please read our opinion piece by Rudie Raath, Technology Consulting Country Leader for HP South Africa.

By Angela Meadon