Mitel on Transformation Opportunities for Partners
How can partners conquer the new landscape?
As the cloud and simplified sales models continue to deliver new opportunities for go-to-market strategies, resellers and partners are beginning to rethink how they build profit in the communications industry. Many of the businesses that have stuck to the same Capex focused model for years are concerned about the arrival of new cloud-focused opportunities that will force them to move into a more flexible, OpEX environment.
As a leader in communication solutions, and a globally recognised vendor of partner and reseller opportunities, Mitel offers a range of ways for companies to get involved with the communication space. We spoke with Rami Houbby, VP of Cloud Sales International for Mitel, to get his advice on how channel resellers can embrace the changing the landscape.
UCaaS Marketplace Today
Mitel, like many other companies in the communication and collaboration environment, is well aware of the massive digital transformation that is happening in the landscape today. Cloud technologies offer today’s businesses more scalable and accessible solutions. However, it can be hard for resellers to see the immediate benefits in embracing a sales model in the cloud.
According to Rami, there are a lot of different resellers emerging in the current marketplace as a result, including traditional comms resellers, and new IT resellers with communications built into their portfolio. “Most partners are embracing some form of cloud in their portfolio. Often, it’s private cloud, designed for larger enterprises or hybrid deployments. They bundle that connectivity with the other tools that they can provide to their businesses. “
However, Rami also noted that there’s still a lot of movement to be made in the public cloud landscape. With the public cloud, there are fewer engineers and installation complexity to deal with, which means that resellers need to find a new way to make revenue without pro services. That’s where Master Agent models are becoming increasingly compelling.
As businesses continue to embrace UCaaS and public cloud concepts, partners need to find new ways of bringing their solutions to the end-users.
“It takes some bravery for partners to fully embrace the UCaaS opportunity. You can be moving to a model where you’re not getting large amounts of cash hitting the books in one go but are instead getting a flow of commission over a long period of time”
“Many partners aren’t going to be able to move to this environment overnight. Some partners can embrace this model successfully by making the move gradually or adding UCaaS as an adjacent revenue stream for the right opportunities – in other words by letting the customer pains and needs drive the decision about the right technical solution. Others from adjacent markets such as IT service providers and cost consultants will prefer a UCaaS model because it gives them instant new revenue streams without needing to invest in technical skills, engineers, and support.”
According to Rami, the partners that are succeeding are the ones that can move their business at a pace that works for them. Vendors need to provide their partners with a convenient way to replicate their income each month in a cloud space. “The partners that I also see achieving success are the ones that can emotionally embrace the idea of cloud. They’re making the move with the right attitude.”
IT resellers are particularly good at achieving new opportunities in the public cloud space, as they’re already offering SaaS applications. These companies can simply add UCaaS into the mix, without too much worry.
According to Rami, Mitel would encourage the “classic channel” to stop looking at UCaaS as a solution intended to take over their existing business model. “It’s really just another string to your bow. It’s not about replacing the model you have but adding something additional to your portfolio.”
Rami told me that Mitel isn’t approaching resellers with the Master Agent model to get them to replace everything they already have. “We’re offering a retail-style public cloud model where partners don’t have to worry about all the infrastructure. This gives partners access to the SMB market, and it means that the SMB can benefit from a much truer cloud solution.”
The new solution from Mitel’s Master Agent strategy aims to provide partners with a way to address SMBs with public cloud solutions. Resellers can make money on pure margin by focusing on sales and customer relationships, rather than provisioning. Even some larger companies may embrace the public cloud going forward.
Currently, as some of the market moves towards the UCaaS landscape, resellers need a full-fat UC stack to ensure that they’re evolving with the times. “We’re talking to partners and finding that they’re losing sales because they don’t have a public cloud solution in place”.
In the classic communication reseller space, there’s a lot of demand for new models to emerge. Rami said that he believes that some partners will begin to set up new teams, with one sector that focuses on on-prem/private cloud deals, and other that concentrates on public cloud. Some partners will move to the master agent model, and others will focus on the ecommerce environment and marketing.
“It all depends on the market that you’re selling to. While smaller businesses will embrace the public cloud more readily, larger businesses may require more hybrid and private clouds”
What Would You Say to Partners Struggling to Evolve?
Houbby told me that for some partners, the transition into this new cloud environment with different sales models is going to be a challenging one. Many companies worry about losing money on new deals. However, from a cash perspective, the master agent model still gives the reseller the money and revenue flows they need and it’s sustained over a long period of time, rather than a one-off hit of cash.
Notably, Rami also confirmed that Mitel isn’t trying to eliminate the classic reseller model either. “We’re just giving partners new opportunities to add new things to their portfolio. At the same time, if you’re new to the marketplace, working with Mitel on this differentiated model is a very easy way to get started. There’s no onboarding or learning required, and very little risk to you. All you need to do is find opportunities and throw them over the fence to us.”