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Mitel Recalibrates Contact Center Strategy

Today Mitel announced an addition to its contact center portfolio described as, "entirely over-the-top with no software or equipment to deploy." MiCloud Engage Contact Center signals a strategic departure in the company's approach to the contact center market.


At the last industry analyst meeting in October 2016, Mitel CEO Rich McBee very explicitly told analysts that Mitel was interested in the "attach" contact center market -- i.e., attached to unified communications requirements. The stand-alone market--projects where only the contact center software was being replaced--was not something the company was interested in pursuing.

A lot can change in two years.

In a one-on-one briefing about today's announcements with Jon Brinton, senior vice president of customer experience solutions at Mitel, he redefined the "attach" market: "We really focus our investment dollars and are known for building collaborative contact centers that integrate contact center with our unified communications."

The term "collaborative contact center" is not new. It's been used for the past couple of years by analysts and vendors, most notably by RingCentral in its contact center announcement at Enterprise Connect in March. What is new is Mitel's recognition that there's value in an enterprise communications company having a contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) offer for both integrated and dedicated use cases. Brinton continued, "We are seeing more and more customers and more market demand for standalone contact center as a service. The benchmarks are Nice inContact, Five9, Genesys PureCloud, and others that are selling CCaaS without the integration."

But Brinton was quick to add that the addition of a CCaaS solution is not just based on a view of the competitive landscape. Mitel is finding more customers are investing in customer experience, Brinton said.

"It's just a fact of the market that in some cases companies are very happy with their PBX and unified communications applications," he said. "It works well enough and accomplishes the goals they have, but when it gets to customers, they are going to put more dollars there."

There is also a recognition by Mitel that the buying decisions for UC and contact center are "disintermediated," not as connected as they were in the past.


The above graphic reinforces Brinton's comments, highlighting that MiCloud Engage Contact Center is available with all of Mitel's unified communications (UC) solutions--premises and cloud--as well as to customers with competitor communications systems wanting to upgrade just the contact center.

The public cloud-delivered (AWS) MiCloud Engage Contact Center is being white-labeled from a prominent provider that has consistently appeared in the Magic Quadrant for Contact Center as a Service, North America. It works with any call control platform and integrates with several of the popular cloud CRM applications. Mitel has been selling the solution in the market for the past few months in a "soft launch," and reports that it has already closed several deals. MiCloud Engage Contact Center is available initially from the North American AWS zone but can support agents globally.

As we design the program for the contact center track at Enterprise Connect 2019, we will explore the issues of standalone versus integrated contact center solutions. The issue is certainly top of mind based on some recent Twitter posts by Cisco Collaboration CTO Jonathan Rosenberg and Five9 CEO Rowan Trollope.