Unified communications solutions vendor Mitel has announced MiCloud 2.0, the new version of their cloud communications solution, adding new functionality, improving the provisioning of new services, and expanding its professional services to support partners’ reach.
Mitel, which began making PBX systems in the 1970s, and transitioned much of its PBX business to VoIP early in this century, has been building up a strong cloud communications business over the last several years. The company also is announcing today that market intelligence specialist Synergy Research Group’s Q3 2014 numbers indicate that Mitel is the global market share leader for cloud business communications based on subscribers and seats powers, with nearly 20 per cent of the global market.
“Three to four years ago, after the new CEO Rich McBee joined the company, understanding the growth and growing acceptance of cloud, we made it a key tenet of our strategy,” said Jon Brinton. Vice President and General Manager Global Cloud at Mitel. “We made cloud communications solutions a key growth driver for us, and we now have the number one share in cloud communications globally.”
Brinton said that not only was the market timing right for Mitel to offer unified communications in the cloud when they did, but that it was a natural move for Mitel.
“We were the first unified communications vendor to completely virtualize their solution to run in a VMware environment, and virtualization enables the cloud,” he said. “We have also had a pure software solution to support hypercloud versions for over five years, so we can support it as one large private cloud deployment. While we can deliver our solution as an over the top cloud solution, being able to support hyperdeployments can be very important for medium to large sized companies.”
Brinton also noted that Mitel has a major plus in playing nice with other vendors’ software.
“We are very good at participating in larger IT frameworks, because we know we are not the first SaaS solution a customer buys,” he said.
Mitel has channel partners in around 20 countries who have built a cloud offer around Mitel’s SaaS.
“In the channel community, most businesses are based around a capital expenditure model, but Mitel does have an advantage in training channel partners to sell Mitel in the cloud,” Brinton said. “We don’t have one platform for the cloud, and one for on-premise, so they can use the same software whether the deployment is on premise or in the cloud.”
Brinton believes Mitel has been very successful at helping the partners who want to sell cloud communications solutions migrate to that business.
“We help enable cloud services by letting the channel brand it and bill it and provide level one and two 2 customer support, while we do the heavy lifting and higher level support,” he said.
The MiCloud 2.0 enhancements strengthen this enablement, Brinton said.
New features and functionality have been added to the communications solutions bundles
“We have improved interoperability with Microsoft Lync and integration with Salesforce.com, and enabled a tighter integration into Google,” Brinton said. “2.0 also has facilitated tighter mobile integration to give greater capability to support mobile workers from the cloud.” This takes the form of a more robust client to manage UC on mobile devices, regardless of the device platform.
“MiCloud 2.0 also helps our partners more efficiently use their labour and resources to better support customers,” Brinton said. This includes improved provisioning of new services to help partners quickly configure, upgrade or downgrade service bundles.
“We have a middleware layer that partners use to manage customer experience from a web-based portal, and we have improved provisioning across all applications,” Brinton said. “They can use a remote server to take any Mitel device in a box, drop ship it to the customer site, and it will call home and provision itself.”
To help partner time to deployment for a new or enhanced MiCloud solution, Mitel is also introducing standardized and tested solution blueprints and an expanded suite of professional services.
“The channel can get bogged down in the cloud with time to deployment, so we have introduced these solution blueprints to assist them.” Brinton said. “We will also provide professional services to deploy the solution for them to get it to market. If a partner doesn’t have the resources and want to stand up a service quickly, we can help them with that, or if a customer has multiple locations which include some the partner does not serve, our professional services capabilities can help them to cover a broader geography.”