Mitel Today – Offering Choice for Customers and Partners
While Mitel is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary, today’s Mitel is very different in many ways while still maintaining its focus on customers, partners, and a core unified communications and collaboration offering. In honor of its anniversary and to understand where the company’s been and where it is now, I recently spoke with several Mitel leaders to provide an overall perspective. The key elements of Mitel’s strategy are:
- Choice and flexibility for customers
- Vertical solution focus
- Customer lifecycle management
The UC Consolidator Providing Choice and Flexibility
One thing that hasn’t changed in the many years I’ve been following Mitel is its role as an industry consolidator. Mitel has a long history of acquiring other UC vendors – Aastra, ShoreTel, Mavenir – and the company most recently announced intent to acquire Unify. There is a method to this madness, as some would say. Just as the ShoreTel acquisition helped Mitel become an early player in cloud communications, the Unify acquisition would provide Mitel with a robust managed services offering while consolidating two UC vendors that both partner with RingCentral for UCaaS. These acquisitions help Mitel fulfill its goal of offering more options, choices, and flexibility to its customers.
With more and more unified communications (UC) vendors offering only one path to the cloud – through the public cloud – Mitel remains consistent in its approach, offering choices and options. Noting that one size doesn’t fit all, Mitel prides itself on providing various UC options. Mitel is one of the very few vendors that offers this wide range of UC deployment options, including public, private, hybrid cloud, managed services, and yes, on-premises systems. Choice extends to financial models, enabling customers the option of OpEx (subscription) or CapEx (perpetual) licensing models.
Mitel has always had a focus on vertical solutions and has recently doubled down on its vertical strategy. Mitel notes that 80% of its seats and revenue come from the top five verticals (healthcare, financial, hospitality, education, retail, and government), while the other 20% benefit from the motions put in place for the main verticals. Interestingly, Mitel found that there’s a difference between regions, in that the retail vertical has been very successful in Europe, while the financial vertical has been more successful in the Americas. As part of Mitel’s strategy, it focuses on integration into existing vertical applications and systems such as CRM, mass notification, and mobility, as well as partnering with leaders in these application areas and being present in their online marketplaces.
According to Dan Nemechek, Vice President, Sales Engineering, integration to various vertical applications is essential, and Mitel has a long list of integrations, including Epic, Cerner, FiServ, Jack Henry and others. Integrations also include Mitel’s portfolio of IP/SIP desk phones, DECT handsets, ATM/ITM, mass/intelligent notification systems, financial services systems, and more. For example, for healthcare, integrations include antimicrobial-treated desk phones, DECT handsets, alarm and messaging solutions, nurse call systems, and more.
For hospitality, Mitel provides integration with various call accounting platforms, guest experience applications such as Benbria Loop and iPortal, ticketing systems such as HotSOS and iGuest, social messaging and video applications, and so on.
Nemechek notes that Mitel also focuses on training and educating its employees and partners to be able to “talk the talk” and understand what’s important for customers in the key verticals. Mitel brought together various teams into its Solutions Alliance, including professional services, R&D, product management, sales, marketing, and others to ensure that they’re all working in parallel to best serve the key verticals. According to Mitel, the whole organization is behind this push – including the executive leadership team and cross-functional leadership teams. Mitel also works with the Mitel User Group of 10K members to get input and feedback on how Mitel can meaningfully offer the vertical solutions that customers want and need, and help all its key verticals and customers get the benefits they’re looking for.
With a focus on verticals via product and partner delivery programs, Mitel brings together core product deliverables, Mitel Solutions Alliance and Compliance, and professional services integration. The organization created a number of packages that provide out-of-the-box capabilities such as screen pop based on industry-specific data, customized agent workspaces, co-browsing capabilities, appointment reminders, self service, etc., all integrated with vertical-specific applications and databases, reducing need for customized professional services engagement.
Another part of the strategy is simplification – decreasing the number of tools and interfaces needed, providing simplified administrator portals, migration tools, configuration wizards, a marketplace for applications and integrations, and removing obstacles.
Customer Lifecyle Management
Mitel brings everything together with its Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) approach. According to David Petts, Executive Vice President, Customer Lifecycle Management Business Group, CLM is foundational, and is all about delivering customer value and choice through the entire unified communications journey by understanding the evolving needs of customers. The goal is to ensure that customers get the support and communications solutions they need throughout their communications journey, recognizing that each customer requires different solutions and levels of support over time. CLM services include guidance, solutions, and support to help customers evolve their business communications.
Mitel provides its partners with tools, data, and analytics to offer a view of their customers and where they are on their UC journey. Mitel also works with partners to help building business plans, and provides content, campaigns, playbooks, etc. that help partners have the right types of conversation with their end customers.
Over the past 50 years, Mitel has gone through many changes, as has the communications industry, but it remains true to its core. Congratulations to Mitel, and let’s see what the next 50 years bring!