Streamlining Communication for Enhancing Customer Value and Partner Success

Mitel CLM: Enhancing Customer Value and Partner Success

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Anurag Agrawal | June 07, 2023

Mitel’s strategy is to provide more choice and flexibility than any other vendor. Unlike most communications vendors offering off-the-shelf solutions, Mitel’s unique approach provides customizable options for cloud, deployment, collaboration, and vertical applications. In addition, Mitel helps customers navigate their communications and collaboration journey through its customer lifecycle management (CLM) initiative.

Mitel understands the importance of CLM in adopting unified communications (UC) and has made it a critical initiative. Mitel provides partners and customers with extensive CLM, data, and analysis to effectively plan their communications and collaboration solutions as part of its business strategy.

Techaisle data shows that 47% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and 49% of the core and upper midmarket firms are focused on business resiliency enablement to manage change and uncertainty. At the same time, 27% of midsized businesses are targeting investments for growth and long-term success. In response to increasing business operating costs, economic uncertainty, and rising interest rates, customers are seeking communication solutions that are both flexible, effective, and affordable long term. Further, the shift towards hybrid work has increased the requirements of UC systems connecting individuals in different locations. Thirty-two percent of SMBs and 22% of upper midmarket firms’ employees are expected to be hybrid. Updating UC systems to meet these changing requirements can be complex.

Future-ready businesses are seeking communications solutions that are agile, adaptive, transformative, flexible, and empowering. Thus, many organizations require guidance on the most efficient ways to invest in and modernize communication solutions. This is where CLM comes into play. By aligning an organization's goals with the UC technology being adopted or upgraded, CLM helps streamline the UC adoption process, ensuring that communication solutions are optimized to meet business objectives. As a result, CLM helps organizations maximize business value for customers and future-proof their investment in UC.

Mitel's Approach to CLM

Mitel has differentiated itself from its competitors in the communication solutions industry by adopting a customer-centric approach that provides flexibility and choice throughout the communications lifecycle. Its CLM approach is designed to support customers using on-premise, hybrid, or cloud solutions. It has two main strategies – UC (communication and collaboration tools) and migrations (moving customers from on-premise or hybrid solutions to the cloud) – to ensure customers receive value and flexibility, regardless of their current solution.

Mitel's CLM approach focuses on delivering customer value in three key areas. Firstly, it adds value to existing customers' businesses by understanding their needs through innovative analytics. Secondly, it targets vertical markets such as healthcare, hospitality, state, local, and education (SLED), which require a private or hybrid cloud model due to security and regulatory requirements. Lastly, its strategic partnership with RingCentral helps customers migrate to public cloud solutions when most appropriate per their needs.

Techaisle survey data reveals that organizations have unique communications needs with a mix of infrastructures: on-prem, public cloud, private cloud, or a hybrid solution. A one-size-fits-all approach is only viable for some. It is a customer choice issue. Today, on-premises UC solutions are dominant, with 88% of organizations using some on-premises UC solutions. However, 44% are combining on-prem solutions with cloud solutions. Cloud communications solutions are also on their long-term plans, with 47% either evaluating or moving their on-prem communications to the cloud. But customer choice and complexity create decision inertia for 64% of firms. Hence partners become the guiding beacon to manage the customer communications adoption lifecycle.

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Empowering Partners to Drive Customer Success

For Mitel, channel partners play a critical role in the success of CLM. Mitel fulfills more than 90% of its business through its channel partners, making it essential that they follow CLM practices as part of their overall strategy. The opportunity for partners is enormous, as Mitel's approach is focused on empowering partners to have conversations with end customers and deliver successful CLM through an indirect strategy.

To achieve this, Mitel has developed a stack of data and analytics that allows partners to understand their customers' scenarios and identify where they are in their communications journey. Mitel also supports partners by building business plans, outlining opportunities and engagement strategies, and developing campaigns and content to help them effectively converse with customers. It also provides playbooks demonstrating how to have those conversations. This approach is designed to complement 'partners' conversations with their customers. Besides, it gives them the tools and resources to deliver customer success successfully.

Mitel provides partners with programs that reward both partners and their customers. In addition to various incentives, Mitel has a global program where partners earn points and accreditation, depending on the level they reach, by collecting points — silver, gold, or platinum. As part of the program, partners are compensated with discounts and rewards. The objective is to ensure that partners have all the necessary tools to communicate with customers and drive customer success effectively.

David Petts, EVP of CLM Business Group, said, “CLM differentiates Mitel. It drives more partner and customer value, most notably supporting our customers' communication needs globally more effectively as their needs change and evolve.”

Mitel's Acquisitions Bolster Its Position in the UC Domain

Over the past decade, Mitel has been aggressively acquiring other UC vendors such as Aastra, ShoreTel, and Mavenir. These acquisitions have been carefully planned to expand Mitel's capabilities and market reach. For instance, Aastra's acquisition has enabled Mitel to offer a comprehensive portfolio, including digital, IP, and cloud-based communication systems, platforms, applications, and devices, making it one of the most comprehensive UC providers. Similarly, acquiring ShoreTel has helped Mitel become a leader in cloud communications.

Mitel's latest intended acquisition of Unify is another strategic move that could bolster its UC position. This acquisition would complement Mitel's offerings, enabling it to expand its customer base, particularly in the mid-market and enterprise space. Furthermore, Unify's strong presence in Europe and South America would strengthen Mitel's geographic footprint. In addition, its expertise in managed and professional services would be a good fit with Mitel's go-to-market strategy, which is centered around the CLM concept and covers most aspects of communication and collaboration. However, Mitel's CLM strategy did not include a robust managed service offering, which some customers prefer. By acquiring Unify, Mitel would have a more robust managed service offering to meet these 'customers' needs.

The proposed combined entity would have over 75 million users in over 100 countries. In addition, Mitel's channel community would expand to over 5,500 partners globally, giving the company access to the market in almost every country. Given its current strategy, this deal makes much sense for Mitel.

One of the ways that Mitel leverages to remain at the forefront of the industry is by continuously innovating. This dedication is evident in the recent update to one of its flagship products, the MiVoice Business solution.

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MiVoice Business 10.0 on SMB Controller: A Solution for SMBs

Mitel's commitment to innovation is reflected in the update to its strategic product platform, MiVoice Business 10.0, to include support for the MiVoice Business solution on the new hardware called the SMB Controller. This new hardware allows MiVoice Business to serve the small-to-medium business market more effectively with up to 150 users. This new product offers current MiVoice Office 250 users an updated and upgraded path forward. In addition, the platform supports the functionality of MiVoice Border Gateway, CloudLink Gateway, and Mitel Performance Analytics probe.

MiVoice Business on SMB Controller is essential for new customers because it provides an easy-to-install, easy-to-manage, and cost-effective communications environment. Combining it with Mitel Software Assurance gives customers confidence in a secure, future-proof collaboration system that allows them to focus on their most important tasks rather than worrying about their communications environment's operational and security-related aspects. Existing Mitel customers using older systems should consider upgrading to the SMB Controller to take advantage of the full suite of Mitel MiVoice Business 10.0 features with minimal disruption. The SMB Controller provides a simplified upgrade path, easy manageability, and a better operating environment. It is an ideal solution for existing customers who wish to modernize their communication infrastructure and improve collaboration.

These are essential product updates and a direct result of Mitel's commitment to listening to its partners and customers through frequent advisory groups such as Mitel User Group, PartnerVoice, and CustomerVoice channels. As a result, Mitel has been recognized as a vendor and trusted business partner by proactively engaging with customers and responding to their feedback.

Final Techaisle Take

Mitel's decision to offer one flavor of the cloud (UCaaS) through a partner doesn't mean the company is complacent. On the contrary, it has made its significant products, such as MiVoice Business, MiVoice Office 400, MiVoice 5000, and MiVoice MX-ONE, available on subscription models according to its strategy of providing choice and flexibility. In addition, Mitel has chosen to offer a dedicated instance cloud and a complete UC subscription portfolio for customers wanting to maintain control of the security and maintenance of their solution.

Mitel is dedicated to delivering customer value and choice throughout the UC journey. Its mission centers on understanding customers' evolving needs and working with partners to ensure every end customer is delighted with its UC solution. Mitel can offer customers a comprehensive range of UC and UCaaS solutions to meet their communication needs through its partnership with RingCentral.

Mitel's intent to acquire Unify would strengthen its managed and professional services offerings, aligning with its go-to-market strategy of CLM and expanding its customer base and geographic footprint. Mitel is well-positioned to deliver customer value, flexibility, and a wide range of solutions in the unified communications market through this intended acquisition and other strategic partnerships.

Categories: Expert Insights

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Anurag AgrawalChief Global Analyst, Techaisle

Anurag is recognized as a top analyst to follow in the SMB, Midmarket, and Channel Partner segments. An intense analytical blogger, Anurag specializes in developing go-to-market strategies and writes and advises senior executives on the cloud, routes-to-market, emerging technologies, and industry dynamics. Based on data collected from market research, he consults with senior executives on developing their channel, SMB, and midmarket strategies. With over 30 years in the industry, he is the Founder and Chief Global Analyst at Techaisle. Before Techaisle, Anurag headed Gartner’s Worldwide Research Operations. He began his analyst career with IDC, where he is credited for launching IDC’s much sought-after quarterly market share tracker research.

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