Mitel Marketing Head Explains API Strategy, M&A Motivators, and Mobile-First Stance
Mitel CMO Wes Durow this week told me that the vast majority of companies still haven’t fully deployed enterprise mobility across their organizations, even as the lines between consumer experience and business expectations become more blurred. He added that Mitel’s cloud-based, mobile enterprise vision addresses the evolving needs of a mobile-first world for enterprises, workers, and consumers. And he noted that on Jan. 28 Mitel announced the latest round of solutions aimed at eliminating legacy barriers and enabling seamless, real-time communications and collaboration.
As I mentioned in my posting yesterday about Mitel’s management changes, the company is heavily pushing its mobile-first strategy. Mitel has also acquired many other unified communications solutions providers in recent years in an effort to be one of the last, big UC solutions providers standing – and has tried, or been rumored to be considering, buying some others. Mitel also is leveraging APIs in important ways, and TMC this year launches a new event called All About the API, which will take place July 18 through 21 in Las Vegas.
So I thought now would be a good time to check in with Durow about Mitel’s work around APIs, get the latest on its mobile-first strategy, and ask about what might be next from the company on the M&A front. Here’s that discussion.
How are APIs impacting what’s happening in UC?
Durow: We’re starting to see APIs infuse real-time communications into vertical business applications, not just horizontal applications like SFDC, NetSuite, Workday, etc. This expands the addressable market of traditional UC providers. Mitel is in a unique position to leverage the intersection between mobile, cloud, and enterprise to build APIs and SDKs that enable partner developers to leverage UC capabilities within mobile business offerings.
What is Mitel doing on the API front?
Durow: As part of our technology accelerator, Mitel recently launched its new Mitel Embedded Communications business, leveraging API and SDKs to allow developers to embed real-time communications into vertical-specific business SaaS applications. The group is focusing first on the mobile-intensive service worker segment and improving their day-to-day business tools. Mitel Embedded Communications’ first partner, FieldAware, will leverage Mitel APIs and SDKs for field service management mobile applications to allow end-to-end work order management, better response to urgent customer requests, and upsell during service calls. Mitel Embedded Communications is currently evaluating other vertical markets and business SaaS applications providers for targeting next.
What is the status of the rollup of the UC industry via company consolidation?
Durow: Consolidation certainly isn’t slowing, but we believe 2016 is going to be a particularly complex year for consolidation. Capital won’t be as available as it was; only healthy companies will able to serve as acquirers. Prices will also be lower, so we’ll possibly see more deals in the coming year.
How much more will we see?
Durow: That’s a great question. It will not only depend on the capital market environment, but also on companies’ willingness to simplify communications by creating new business models spanning mobile, cloud and enterprise.
What are the plans for additional acquisitions by Mitel?
Durow: Mitel has been very vocal with respect to our intent to lead consolidation in our industry. We have acquired five companies in just over two years. We see ourselves continuing to drive consolidation in a manner that makes sense for the customers we serve.
When and what product categories and geographies will Mitel do acquisitions?
Durow: We have a global strategy and will assess any acquisitions based on how they best fit within our approach for enabling seamless communications.
There was a rumor that Elliott Associates was pushing for a combination of Mitel and Polycom. What are your thoughts about that?
Durow: We continually evaluate the market and update our potential acquisition list with respect to need, opportunity, timing and value. Our core criteria in evaluation are strategy alignment, financial health/value, and cultural fit. We welcome Elliott Associates’ interest and ongoing investment in Mitel, and share their views as to consolidation opportunities in our industry. Mitel’s senior management has consistently discussed its intention to consolidate the market, and in recent years has proactively leveraged M&A activity to successfully deliver shareholder value.
Why do customers pick Mitel?
Durow: Customers are coming from different angles and topologies – whether they’re a service provider or an enterprise, on a software or hardware platform. They’re coming from all these different points. They choose Mitel because we have the ability to pull these disparate platforms and entities together, so companies and people can collaborate and communicate, seamlessly and intelligently.
What’s next for Mitel?
Durow: We’re driven by a single-minded focus to deliver seamless communications and collaboration. Two billion mobile subscribers, 60 million business users, and nearly two million cloud users trust Mitel to help them simplify their experience. Our continued aim is leveraging technology to emulate the power of person-to-person communications.
Edited by Maurice Nagle