Mitel is All About the Cloud…Link

By Phil Edholm
25 Oct 2018

I was at the Mitel analyst event a couple of weeks ago and was not able to get my thoughts down until now. The event covered the full range of Mitel products. And that range continues to grow. Rich McBee has been following a well understood strategy of “rolling up” the category of premises telephony systems. A review of platforms consolidated into Mitel includes Aastra, ShoreTel, Toshiba, and more.

The result is that Mitel has an installed base of about 70 million premises endpoints. Mitel is also a major force in cloud-based UCaaS. The acquisition of ShoreTel brought the Connect platform which Mitel is driving as a UCaaS solution. While Mitel is number 2 in UCaaS to RingCental at this point, the 1.4-1.5M subscribers looks small against the 70M premises users. The challenge for Mitel is to integrate those 70M endpoints with new cloud-based services and enable cloud migration.

To accomplish this, Mitel announced a strategy to build a CloudLink middleware layer that would enable all of the platforms to have access to a cloud-based set of advanced services. Practically, this is an ideal way to offer advanced services to the premises installed seats and increase both ARPU and channel engagement. The movement of services to the cloud will promote cloud familiarity and trust. However, Mitel started talking about the CloudLink Concept almost two years ago. While there were never firm release dates, the clear value of the solutions and early demos have caused some of the analysts to comment about delays/late delivery.

At the Mitel Next event, CloudLink was in full force. Mitel was showing a range of integrations, from the Connect platform to how CloudLink is used to integrate the Google Contact Center AI service into the Mitel Contact Center. There were a range of demonstrations of how CLoudLink and the Mitel Orchestration engine could be used for business process integration. This included demonstrations of how IoT can be integrated with real time communication to dramatically enhance business processes and operations.

Based on the state of the demonstrations and talking to the Mitel team, it appears that CloudLink is approaching the point of stability and capability that is required for adoption. For Mitel customers, 2019 is the time to engage with Mitel to understand how CloudLink and the range of new services can be applied to your premises platform and business. For the new Mitel customers that came through acquisitions, when CloudLink is available for their PBX, the ability to add advanced web services and integrations to other web properties will dramatically extend the life of a simple premises telephony platform. Understanding capabilities and timing is important to define how they can transform organizations.

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