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Mitel Leader Shares Thoughts on Making a Winning UC Strategy

January 28, 2015

Mitel is one of the most well-known players in the unified communications space, and it’s been in the news a lot lately due to its recent spate of acquisitions and its unsuccessful passes at ShoreTel. In an ITEXPO Miami keynote this morning, Mitel CEO and President Richard D. McBee said today’s industry giants will not be the leaders in communications tomorrow.

The cloud, the focus on customer experience, industry consolidation, and the central role of the smartphone, he said, are among the factors that will make that so. That said, the first company to create a seamless unified communications experience that just works anytime, anywhere, with any combination of vendor equipment will win, he said.

The unified communications player space has already seen a good share of consolidation, and that is only expected to accelerate, said McBee.

“We’ve added four companies in the last 18 months, and we will continue to add companies, and we will continue to consolidate the market,” he said. Mitel’s acquisitions include Aastra, OAISYS, prairieFyre, and (back in 2007) Inter-Tel.

As Frank Stinson, a partner and senior analyst at IntelliCom Analytics, recently told unified communications: “Mitel’s acquisition of Aastra … and subsequent attempt to devour ShoreTel kicked off a long-expected round of consolidation. Once you get beyond market leader Cisco and chief disruptor Microsoft, there are big question marks. No one else has shown much ability to grow organically, and several face significant business model challenges based on their current trajectories and growing competition from cloud providers.”

However, Mitel says in recent months it has doubled its size and expanded its portfolio; has gained No. 1 market share in EMEA and Western Europe; and introduced and expanded via a white label offer its MiCloud Enterprise UCaaS solution.

“The healthy companies, they are buying,” McBee said today. “They are buying land, and land is customers.”

Mitel is among the companies following this strategy, he said, with the goal of migrating legacy customers to new generation solutions and technologies. However, he also noted, new solutions need to work with the existing systems that are already in place with customers.

Ease of use is also key, he mentioned.

“Technology sophistication will drive innovation, but technology simplification will drive the market,” he said. “At the end of the day how we get all this stuff to work together is wildly complex. But the customers don’t care, they want it to work, and they want it to work seamlessly” even when multiple vendors’ systems are involved. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle