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The Mitel (Contact Center) Story
Earlier this month Mitel held its Business Partner Forum in Las Vegas. In conjunction with that event, Mitel also hosted analyst and consultant events. As described in an earlier No Jitter blog by my colleague Blair Pleasant, customer and reseller panels were a highlight of the analyst event. Of particular interest to me was the number of references in both panels to Mitel's contact center offerings--so much so that I arranged a follow-up conference call for a deeper dive.What I heard from Mitel Customer Interaction Solutions product management team was a contact center story wholly consistent with the broader Mitel story:
* The PBX portfolios of Mitel and Inter-Tel went through a merge/purge exercise after the acquisition. For example, the Inter-Tel 7000 was discontinued and the Inter-Tel 5000 re-christened the Mitel 5000. Corollary changes occurred with the two companies' contact center solutions. Mitel's Customer Interaction Solutions (Business and Enterprise Editions) have been ported to the Mitel 5000 giving that platform more robust application choices. Components of Inter-Tel's very rudimentary Contact Center suite have been re-branded as Mitel Business Dashboard and Customer Service Manager. Both solutions will be added to the 2.0 release of the Mitel Application Suite and integrated with the Mitel Communications Director software (July 2009) as an option for small and/or less formal contact center environments.
* One of Mitel's key portfolio strategies is to is to expand the addressable market for the company's communications software, the Mitel Communications Director, by allowing multiple "instances" of the software to run on a high availability platform. Today it's limited to just 350 agents per system, but the contact center team is working on both a multi-instance approach and higher scalability. In addition, the Workforce Scheduling component of the Customer Interaction Suite is being expanded in August 2009 to support scheduling of 1,500 agents, up from 200.
* Mitel's Dynamic Extension, launched at VoiceCon and scheduled for general availability in July 2009, drew interest and comment not just from the analysts but from customers and resellers who spoke to us as well. According to contact center product management, they are working on extending Dynamic Extension capabilities to contact center agents.
Mitel's attack into larger enterprise environments has yielded positive contact center results. The company reports that in FY 2009 (which ends June 30) they sold three times as many contact centers of over 150 seats as they did in FY 2008.