If you’re a ShoreTel 14.2 (or previous) customer and are finalising your budget for 2020, upgrading your phone system should definitely be on the list. As announced on 15 May 2019, ShoreTel 14.2 is going end of life at the end of September 2020. Now is the time to migrate from ShoreTel 14.2 to Mitel MiVoice Connect.
What does this mean?
The good news is your 14.2 system will continue to function as normal come 1st October. You’ll still be able to purchase additional handsets and user licenses. However, don’t get complacent: design support has already ceased (meaning no additional software releases or patches) and support from Mitel for catastrophic failures or critical issues will be offered on a best efforts basis. In order to save yourself a headache in the future, now is the time to start considering an upgrade to Mitel MiVoice Connect.
What is MiVoice Connect?
Connect is essentially release 15 of the legacy ShoreTel product. It is the next logical step if you’re looking to protect the investment you’ve made in your 14.2 system as opposed to entirely replacing it. With a few exceptions, the infrastructure you’ve already got in place will continue to function post-upgrade. The Connect system offers all the same features you’re used to along with some exciting new ones like:
- More powerful ST voice switches
- The Edge Gateway which provides security and encryption for remote workers
- The re-designed Connect Director
- Better cloud adoption
- Entirely new clients for desktop users and Contact Centre agents.
What does an upgrade involve?
Like all ShoreTel/Mitel upgrades, the Connect software is free. The 14.2 software will be removed from your HQ server and the Connect software will be installed. It will then be pushed out to your voice switches and handsets. Communicator software will need to be removed from users’ machines, and the Connect Client pushed out to them.
A couple of things to consider that will add time to your upgrade:
- If you’re running an older version of ShoreTel, including earlier releases of 14.2 you will need to upgrade to 14.2 GA30 and then to Connect.
- Your HQ server may also require an upgrade if its operating system is older than Windows 2012.
But don’t worry about this too much – Blackstar’s engineers will do a full health check on your system prior to any upgrade and will outline the steps and amount of time needed to get your system migrated to Connect.
You should expect some downtime during the upgrade, although your engineer will ensure this is kept to a minimum. The most popular time for Connect upgrades is over the weekend.
Although the software is free, you may incur some professional services charges for:
- Out of hours engineering. This can be done remotely or on-site (you’ll pay more for on-site)
- Training your users on the new Client
To help you with the basic features of the client we’ve created explainer videos, view them HERE
Will my staff notice a difference post-upgrade?
Yes. The handsets themselves won’t change, however the desktop client has a completely different look and feel to Communicator. There is an entirely new web client for Contact Centre agents.
Blackstar’s recommendation is to provide at least half a day’s end-user training on these new Clients. Training is a great way to introduce your staff to the upgraded Clients and the new features and benefits they entail.
From experience, we find upgrades are seen as more successful when end-user training is provided. We would recommend providing 45-minute to 1-hour sessions for receptionists/operators and Contact Centre agents as a bare minimum.
The end of 14.2 is coming, and soon. Your transition from ShoreTel 14.2 to Mitel MiVoice Connect doesn’t need to be stressful, provided it is given the time to be planned in full, executed efficiently and your end users are given the support they need. The time to start planning your Connect upgrade is now.
We at Blackstar look forward to working with you to ensure a smooth transition to a viable, supportable communications platform.
If you’d like to find out more about Connect, including arranging a demonstration, contact your Blackstar account manager. Or call 0333 123 2 123 or email [email protected].