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Mitel Makes 3 Major Cloud Moves

As part of its activities coming out of Google Cloud Next 2019 and the Channel Partners events, each taking place this week, Mitel announced cloud strategy updates that significantly bolster its position in the UCaaS and CCaaS markets.
Goes Deeper with Google
Mitel, like many other UC and contact center vendors, has an existing partnership with Google, but it’s now taking that to the next level. Indeed, the first of this week’s announcements involves Mitel improving its cloud reliability and security by broadening its relationship with Google Cloud.
The expanded partnership will see Mitel move its public and private cloud solutions to Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The first phase will involve MiCloud Connect and MiCloud Flex running on GCP. Also, new MiVoice Business customers will have the option to run in GCP. Although Mitel hasn’t given any more details on the roadmap, I would expect all Mitel products eventually will come with the option to run in GCP.
This is a bold move -- the right one for Mitel. Building out a global cloud platform is an expensive, long undertaking that wouldn’t make sense for Mitel to do since it would provide no strategic advantage. GCP, which is built on the same infrastructure that Google uses for Search, YouTube, and other products, has six-nines of reliability and a world-class network supporting it. GCP is also compliant with HIPAA and SOC II, giving Mitel a platform that addresses the needs of healthcare, government, finance, and other regulated verticals.
Since Mitel has Canadian roots and the National Hockey League playoffs are just starting, I’ll use a hockey analogy. Moving its services to GCP enables Mitel to “skate its lane,” driving UC and contact center innovations while letting Google do what it does best -- and that’s running a best-in-class cloud.
The partnership also gives Mitel deeper access to Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) tools and analytics. By running in GCP, Mitel can apply state-of-the-art AI to its cloud services, enabling it to provide valuable insights for customers. Being a relatively small company, Mitel would have had a difficult time hiring enough AI talent to keep pace with the industry. Now it doesn’t have to. This builds off the existing relationship between Google and Mitel in the area of contact center, announced a year ago at Google Cloud Next.
As I’ve said, having a relationship with Google isn’t unusual in this market, but Mitel’s is differentiated. The majority of providers choose to run their solutions in their own data centers. Mitel will now be laser-focused on advancing its communications and collaboration solutions instead of worrying about how to run a global cloud. With strategic relationships, Google often compensates its salespeople to sell those solutions. This will be the case with Mitel, which will be receiving co-marketing funds from Google for a number of joint activities. I don’t believe that any other UC or contact center vendor has this level of relationship with GCP.
Ties a Knot with Talkdesk
The second announcement is a strategic partnership with CCaaS provider, Talkdesk (see related No Jitter post, Mitel & Talkdesk -- Next Big Thing in UCaaS/CCaaS). Many UCaaS- CCaaS partnerships today involve one vendor reselling the other vendor’s service. The Mitel-Talkdesk relationship goes much deeper, however, since the arrangement calls for Talkdesk to integrate Mitel call control – i.e., MiCloud Connect CX -- into its contact center product for Mitel customers.
Mitel is well known as a UC provider, but its success in contact center has flown under the radar. While it doesn’t have the same number of total seats as some of the larger vendors, Mitel is number two in total contact center systems shipped, according to MZA. In the Talkdesk partnership, Mitel will benefit from the ability to sell a best-in-class, innovative CCaaS solution, complete with 500+ features, into its installed base.
Now that Mitel has struck this partnership with Talkdesk, it throws its relationship with Serenova into question. Mitel will continue to support all customers it has on the Serenova solution, but any new contact center installations will use the Talkdesk solution. This is the right decision for Mitel, as Talkdesk is a better platform that’s easier to deploy and faster to turn up.
For Talkdesk, a small vendor in a sea of many larger ones, partnering with Mitel provides instant credibility, particularly outside the U.S. where it has limited reach. Also, Mitel has more than 4,000 partners globally that will now be selling its contact center solution.
This partnership will unfold in the following phases. First, Mitel will sell a Talkdesk-branded service as an over-the- top solution. Mitel will then white-label the Talkdesk solution for sale as part of its UC portfolio. Lastly, Mitel will offer a fully integrated UC and Talkdesk-based contact center solution.
Neither Mitel or Talkdesk gave specifics on the timing of each phase, but said all three are expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
Opening Up on Omnichannel
A third announcement is the introduction of MiContact Center Business for the MiVoice Connect system, which brings omnichannel management to the platform. MiContact Center Business now gives MiVoice Connect customers open media and REST APIs for broader integration, visual IVR, workflow programming, speech IVR, and SMS support. There are thousands of MiVoice Connect systems and in an era driven by customer experience, these customers now have a platform to compete effectively in the future.
For years Mitel has been trying to shift its business model to cloud but as a public company, had to do so in baby steps. Now that the company is private, it’s able to do a hard pivot. Mitel is committed to enabling its customers adopt cloud in the SaaS model or in private cloud. The expanded relationship with Google and new partnership with Talkdesk gives the company more cloud arrows in its quiver to deliver cloud any way the customer wants.