Norman Stout is the CEO of Mitel US, the company formerly known as Inter-Tel. Norman delivered a keynote address at ITEXPO during Monday’s evening session in Petree Hall in the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The speech, entitled The New Force in Business Communication, A Look at the New Mitel explained the thought process behind this summer’s merger of Ottawa-based Mitel and Inter-Tel, the Phoenix, AZ-based enterprise communications solutions provider.
Stout addressed the state of the business communications market today, and characterized the industry as “primed for upheaval.”
Whether you are a business, or a vendor or an analyst it’s a very exciting market today.
“Technology has been commoditized,” he said, “and resellers are facing reduced margins. The market is ever shifting, with new players poised to enter the market and legacy provides looking to force-feed enterprise solutions to SMBs.”
“Customers are demanding more than technology,” Stout said. “Technology — ten years ago — sold itself. Customers want several things. They want to increase revenue. They want to streamline operations. They want to enhance customer service. And of course we all want more with less. Businesses always want to control costs. More than just technology, businesses want solutions to fundamental business challenges.”
“Cookie cutter approaches no longer work,” Stout added. “Customers demand value and a quantifiable return on investment.”
Stout discussed some current trends. SMBs are now the dominant market he told the crowd, with companies employing 500 people or less making up an astounding 95% of North American businesses. Increasingly these SMBs are looking more like their larger enterprise counterparts with distributed offices, and a global viewpoint.
“And these SMBs are just as sophisticated and demanding.”
Businesses are confused and frustrated with the solutions providers are offering today, replete with techno-jargon, an overly strong focus on features and functions, and a lack of clear solutions.
“When you’re going to the customer, don’t just sell technology. Try to fit the solution to that customer’s specific needs, Stout said.”
SMBs want more than just technology from their vendors — they want the vendor to understand their specific requirements; they want some level of customization for the solution to be tailored to their needs; they want a single point of contact, a strong history of product migration, and a tangible return on investment.
Stout underscored the new Mitel. He told the crowd that by bringing together the resources of two great companies with a history of serving the sector, The New Mitel delivers what SMBs want:
- Total Solutions
- Competitive pricing
- Vertical market knowledge and trusted advice
- Simplicity, flexibility and agility
- Financial strength
“The New Mitel is large enough to compete globally… and small enough to understand local needs.”
Stout cited the combined strengths of the two companies:
- Scalable, standards-based portfolio
- Global reach
- Multi-site networking
- Applications strength
- IP Leader
- Vertical market focus
- Competitive small business solutions
- Native rich media applications
- National Support coverage
- “One Inter-Tel” go to market model
- End to end managed services offer
- Large direct distribution presence
- In House data network and carrier services provisioning
Stout cited research from Infotech stating that the combined Mitel would be a leader in the growing SMB market with 19% market share, ahead of competitors Cisco (13.5%), Nortel (13.1%), Toshiba (13.)%) and others including Avaya and NEC (9.6% respectively).
Stout finished by reiterating that the New Mitel is “…positioned to be a New Force in Business Communications.”
“Global in scale and local in focus, Mitel brings to market the unparalleled ability to deliver value, not commodity.”