Mitel Positions Channel-First UCaaS Platform
Unified Communications giants continue to storm the cloud market
Mitel is a long established giant in the telecoms world. Through acquisition and organic growth, Mitel has experienced exponential growth over the years and was eventually acquired by Searchlight for a staggering $2bn last year.
Recognising the growth and untapped potential in the UCaaS market, and cloud technology market in general, Mitel has positioned a UCaaS platform of their own, MiCloud Connect.
I met with Rami Houbby, VP of Cloud Sales International at Mitel, to learn more about Mitel’s solution.
Mitel in UCaaS
I asked Rami the key drivers behind Mitel’s own UCaaS platform.
“The main reason is the market trend. We’ve actually had a cloud solution for some time, and for all sizes of companies. In fact we hold the number 2 market share in UCaaS globally with 1.3 million seats and we’re growing fast. Now, we are formalising our approach within structured business units of Mitel”
“The data from the likes of Cavell Group indicate that the market is moving towards cloud. The lion’s share of the installed base is still on-premises but moving forward five years and you’ll see the volume of cloud seats doubling in the UK. It’s only a matter of time before cloud is the dominant force in telecoms.
The other driver is recognising there are different sales and marketing motions when looking at a PBX sale versus a cloud sale. With cloud, the motion is much quicker and deals can be closed within a month or quicker. It’s a different mentality in terms of how we go to market and how we help channel partners go to market”.
Cloud quicker to buy
I asked Rami why he thought cloud was the driving force in Unified Comms today.
“The first thing when businesses think about when renewing telecoms is do we move to cloud?” Rami went on to explain that when it comes to buying cloud communications, the way people buy is different.
“Cloud lends itself to online buying by prospects. The journey buyers go through is much more digital that a traditional telecoms solution”.
We discussed the relationship between consumer buying habits and business buyers. We agreed that with cloud tech being over the internet, a non-traditional buying circle almost always ensues.
“The app driven and online shopping word is definitely translating into B2B”.
Simpler adoption and training
Rami and I discussed how the market has evolved and become more appealing to resellers and partners.
“Provisioning and onboarding are much simpler with a cloud phone system. We have an option where we can remote install cloud users so we no longer need to send an engineer to site”.
We traded war stories where we’ve both witnessed engineers being dispatched hours away to install softphones onto PCs and reflected on how crazy a concept that is today.
Rami commented on the much smaller amount of training required when it comes to empowering VARs and MSPs. “We don’t need to send engineers on week-long training courses. It’s light-touch for the end user and the channel partner. We’ll save a lot of time and a lot of resource”.
Blockers in UCaaS
As an experienced channel provider, Mitel has a lot of valuable knowledge when it comes to moving to and from phone systems.
“When you’re moving to the cloud, channel partners are moving to a recurring revenue model. Cash flow and commission will change to smaller, more regular payments rather than large lump sums every now and then”.
This obviously comes with its benefits too. There should be no more worrying about quarter end to get the big deal over the line. If you’ve been responsive to prospects and existing business over the course of the month, deals will close in a timelier manner.
What comes with the platform?
The short answer is everything you’d expect. Calling, IM and mobility as standard are the bones of any UCaaS solution. And Mitel back this up with high availability.
To dive a little deeper in the feature set, I took a look at the MiCloud Connect dashboard. Some key features include:
- PBX features
- Audio and web conferencing
- Video collaboration
- Presence and people management
- Event creation and joining
- Voicemails directly from the client
- Soft phone and mobile app
- Outlook and G Suite integration
- Salesforce and CRM integration
- Call recording
- Instant messaging and collaboration
Client event triggers are broken down as follows:
- Action Icons: Trigger calls, video, web sharing, call recording, raise hand, mute self, mute all, and add a participant Contact Timeline: Revisit past communications with individual co-workers and filter by calls and messages
- Favourites: Quickly access the people and groups you interact with the most
- Event Wizard: Schedule calls and conferences and add presenters, agendas, invitations and more
- Add Participant: Easily conference others into a meeting to eliminate the need for follow ups and duplicate meetings
- Agenda Timer: Monitor agendas in real time to help participants keep conferences on track
- Raise Hand: Eliminate talking over one another and easily manage conversations with large groups
- Visual Audio Monitoring: Mute participants who have distracting background noise
Mitel has also introduced team collaboration features into its UCaaS offering:
- Mitel Teamwork: Increase productivity and enable your users to collaborate in real time with workspaces that serve as virtual rooms for teams to share files, message, text and create tasks via their smartphone or web browser
- Multi-Point Video Conferencing: Improve collaboration, increase communication accuracy and enhance customer experiences with real-time, face-to-face video interactions
What sets Mitel aside from competition?
Rami explained that MiCloud Connect has two key differentiators when it comes to UCaaS.
“One differentiator is our contact centre integration. We’ve got some out of the box features that empower small businesses better than our competition”.
The second key element revolved around the channel.
“Compared to many vendors out there, we position UCaaS into the channel. Mitel is a channel-led business. We aren’t launching a direct channel offering”
“Our marketing and business development activities are channel-based. Our campaigns will be direct to market but they will go to our inside sales team and be fulfilled by Mitel agents and master agents”.
It’s exciting times for Mitel and Mitel partners as Mitel launches its partner Fast Track program. If you’re a reseller looking for a UCaaS platform to add to your portfolio, visit the Mitel website.