Q&A: How to Optimize Quality, Ensure Interoperability of Apps on Your Platform?

ShoreTel Turned to tekVizion

One of the biggest challenges Business Communications vendors face is ensuring interoperability of third-party applications on their platforms. Once a business has selected ShoreTel Connect, for example, it wants to be sure that the applications, appliances or other technologies it chooses will work and deliver value. How can you know if a particular call recording app, e911 solution or even headphone will interoperate with the platform?

That’s where certification comes in. Certified solutions have been tested to offer proof that they’ll work and deliver on the promise of the technology. But who exactly does the testing? Self-testing by partners is not very credible and vendor testing can be very time-consuming.

ShoreTel turned to independent testing lab tekVizion to provide certification services that are unbiased, highly credible and follow rigorous standards. This is great news for ShoreTel, its partners and their customers. We recently sat down with Shannon Graham, director of ShoreTel’s TechConnect partner program. He provides some interesting insight:

Why did you select tekVizion to provide certification testing for ShoreTel’s TechConnect program?

Our global technology and developer partner program, TechConnect, is growing. And with the launch of the ShoreTel ConnectTM solution for onsite, cloud and hybrid UC deployments, ShoreTel recognizes the increased interest in third-party integration with this portfolio. We needed a sound way to increase test capacity, resulting in faster time to market, and provide new remote test preparation capabilities via the cloud. tekVizion was the obvious choice. We had worked with tekVizion previously on SIP trunk testing for our members. The engagements were always efficient, professional and resulted in satisfied members.


Why not just test and certify in-house in your own ShoreTel labs?

tekVizion uses ShoreTel test plans for TechConnect certifications. ShoreTel provides support and guidance as needed to tekVizion to certify these solutions on our behalf. ShoreTel does perform in-house testing as well, but in order to meet the growing demands of our customers, tekVizion provides the expertise and capacity to scale our technology partner certification efforts.

What exactly is tekVizion providing for the TechConnect program? 

tekVizion provides:

  • A convenient means of remote test preparation – TechConnect members often require a ShoreTel environment as a means to prepare for their certification testing. tekVizion onTAP is an on-demand, cloud-based lab service featuring a virtualized instance of ShoreTel Connect. This is an extremely beneficial tool in helping TechConnect members to prepare for certification and optimize their solutions for ShoreTel Connect
  • Efficient path for certification – Utilizing ShoreTel test plans, tekVizion coordinates the effort from initial consultation to published comprehensive configuration guides / application notes
  • Peace of mind for partners and customers –ShoreTel supports tekVizion-certified solutions the same as ShoreTel-certified solutions. Additionally, technology vendors and service providers who certify their solutions with ShoreTel Connect prior to customer deployments can enjoy accelerated implementations, improved reliability and reduced costs.


What about solutions that were previously certified by an internal ShoreTel testing team? Should TechConnect members get them re-certified?

In order to maintain membership in the TechConnect program, members must keep their solution and supporting interoperability documentation current within two major releases of the ShoreTel software. This applies to all TechConnect solutions regardless of who conducted the previous testing. And with the current momentum toward ShoreTel Connect, we encourage members last certified on ShoreTel 14.x or earlier to get current with Connect. Lots of opportunity here.

We hear about interoperability horror stories in the industry from time to time — businesses that waste a great deal of money and time trying to make solutions work. Is this proactive approach to certification aimed at streamlining ShoreTel deployments and avoiding headaches? Accelerating time to value?

Absolutely. Proactively certifying solutions prior to customer deployment can pay dividends. Let’s face it, multi-vendor communication environments can be tricky. When you go into these deployments knowing that your solution has already been tested, documented and certified for interoperability in a professional lab, and supported, that provides tremendous peace of mind. It can also accelerate time to market and reduce additional costs from when things aren’t pre-tested.

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