Snapshot: The State of Midsize UC
With so much changing in the world of unified communications (UC) lately, we wanted to help companies get a gauge on where things are and where things are going. Since many experts consider Mitel to be a leader in unified communications, we thought we’d start by interviewing the person in charge of MiVoice Business and MiCollab—Martin Bitzinger. Here’s what he had to say.
Q: What has Mitel been doing in unified communications for the midsize segment recently?
A: We’ve been very busy in the midsize UC space. For starters, we’ve done a lot to evolve our midsize products, like MiVoice Business. Midsize UC is all about balancing simplicity and user friendliness with scalability and resiliency. The enhancements in our latest MiVoice Business 7.1 release reflect that philosophy.
Not everyone knows this, but MiVoice Business is the only platform by a leading vendor that’s specifically targeted at the midsize market segment. That has really allowed us to hone in on the segment’s needs like nobody else can. It’s also fully software-based and virtualized, providing companies with the best path to cloud communications.
Q: Mobility and integration are both hot topics in UC lately. Are you doing anything with them?
A: As a matter of fact, yes. Integrations have long been one of our strong points. Unlike some of the “walled garden”-style communication vendors, we believe in a more flexible approach. That’s why we integrate with a wide range of third party tools, platforms, products and APIs, and we’re adding more all the time.
It’s not a static process either. These third party tools are evolving all the time and we’re evolving our integrations with them. It’s one of the ways we’re constantly working toward more seamless experiences that integrate into our customers’ business processes.
Q: What about the cloud side of unified communications?
A: Our MiCloud platform is based on the same technology as MiVoice Business—giving midsize companies the choice to deploy in the cloud or on premise depending on their particular needs. Plus, it helps companies migrate to the cloud at their own pace.
While it can be easy to get caught up in all the advancements we’ve made, it’s good to remember too that we’re building them on top of our midsize UC platforms, which are a comprehensive and mature base.
Q: What kinds of plans does Mitel have for midsize unified communications moving forward?
A: For one thing, we’re closing in on the release of MiCollab 7.0 It’s an all-new collaboration platform that will bring a lot of benefits to midsize companies, like a new mobile client, new features and a much more comprehensive UC experience geared specifically for midsize users. With MiCollab 7.0 we’re also putting a lot of emphasis on mobile integration to facilitate the growth of BYOD and growing need for companies to support workforce mobility.”
In line with our guiding principle of flexibility, our roadmap provides further evolution in the field of third party integrations with a long list of platforms and applications—especially the most requested ones, like Salesforce, Microsoft and Google. As they evolve, so will we, and so will the way we tie into them. Those integrations help our customers work more productively by integrating UC capabilities into their natural workflows.
Q: What role have channel partners played in Mitel’s unified communication success?
A: Channel partners have been instrumental in Mitel’s success in the UC arena. Not only do we have aggressive resellers who help us make our numbers and position us for growth, but we also have partners who create added value by adding their own layer of products and services on top of ours. This all really enhances our place in the market.
To keep our partners going strong, we also implemented an improved channel partner program in the US last year. As part of the changes, partners are rewarded for their credentials and capabilities (ex. vertical expertise)—not exclusively for sales volumes, which we think will help some of our more specialized partners.
Q: What do you think the future of unified communications looks like?
A: I expect UC to become even more integrated than it is today. At some point, the companies leading the way will be so integrated into everyday business processes and tools that it will be completely native and seamless. You won’t notice it at all. That’s how you know you’ve really succeeded. When the technology is so well integrated, it seems to disappear and you can simply focus on the tasks at hand.
I think part of that will be making UC functions available in more formats. Users like a lot of the features available on UC platforms right now, but want them on different devices or want them in different environments. Devices will continue to proliferate and splinter. The demand for mobility will only go up. I think native integrations, especially with mobile devices, are ultimately where we’re all headed. But there’s plenty of work to do before that becomes ubiquitous.
The Expert Opinion
We hope you’ve found our snapshot of midsize UC helpful. But we’re just one source. For a much more comprehensive look who’s doing what in midsize UC, we recommend you check out the just-released Gartner Magic Quadrant for Midsize UC (spoiler alert: Gartner recognized Mitel as a Leader in the midsize UC space). It’s a great report, and you can get it complimentary through this link. Check it out, then judge for yourself.