Mitel says it’s poised for continued growth with an aggressive strategy and increased investment in all areas of the company.
And yet Mitel has been plagued by rumors and speculation that it plans to abandon its UC business, even though it’s a $1 billion business with 70 million UC licenses globally.
A big part of this week’s Mitel Next conference focused on messaging to partners in hopes of quashing the rumors and sending partners back home feeling bullish about the company’s future.
“We are a partner-led company and will continue to be, so our partners, our consultants, are a key aspect of our strategy,” said Rich McBee, Mitel’s CEO. “We’re going to improve and we’re constantly improving. We want you to feel good about the investment you’re making in us because we feel good about investing in you.”
In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Mike Conlon, Mitel’s vice president of global channels, talks about how the rumors started, making the most of customer opportunities and the changing competitive landscape.
Channel Partners: Many attendees came here concerned that Mitel is getting out of the UC business. Where does this come from and what do you want partners to know?
Mike Conlon: There’s just been a lot of speculation and it really stemmed out of the (ShoreTel) acquisition. When we went through the due-diligence process and the acquisition closed, there was a period of uncertainty from the ShoreTel channel. They weren’t quite sure where we were going to go as a company. They weren’t familiar with Mitel. Our channel-partner community between Mitel and ShoreTel [includes] very little overlap, less than 10 percent … so there was just a period of uncertainty; they weren’t quite sure. They had not seen a lot of innovation coming out of ShoreTel when it came to the onsite platform, which was the Connect platform, so I think they just got nervous. They just needed some level of reassurance over time.
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Now we continue to message that the UC business is extremely important to us overall [but] they haven’t necessarily believed it completely. And some of the opposition was based on the fact that they still didn’t really know us, they didn’t really understand the strategy, and some of it was … really a selling technique of the heritage Mitel channel, using the fact that we were going to divest away from the Connect platform. They used it as a sales technique against it.
So all these factors started playing into it, and since we only get one chance each year at this partner conference to communicate back to the full channel, we wanted to make a full stand and say this is the portfolio on the UC side, this is the messaging on the UCaaS and we are not divesting, we are moving forward.
CP: Any indication yet that they’re getting the message?
MC: The last two days I think our messaging has been spot on. We’ve really made a stand to be very communicative that we are definitely all in in this billion-dollar space that we play in today and it’s our UC portfolio. So extremely positive feedback overall from both …