Mitel Business Partner Conference 2011 Live Blog

A great primer on Mitel’s new strategy can be found here.

President and CEO Rich McBee kicks off the event. 1,000 people here – 50 exhibitors. In the past we have had competition between us – in the future “You won’t be competing with Mitel.” this is the start of something new.

Strategy outline:

Simplify the business. Focus the portfolio. We have breakthrough products which are exciting and transformational coming in the the next 12 months.

We will exploit our lead in virtualization. Showed the following virtualization slide focusing on growth.


Phil Keenan – new Exec VP of Sales Takes stage


We have amazing customers which are the best kept secret – we will start marketing our success in the market.

“The UC market is growing faster than the my nine-year-old.”

We are your transition partner into the converged voice/data world of the future.

We will spend less on retail and more on direct touch – we are not downsizing as our competition may want you to believe.

Steve Beamish is now corporate marketing and handles the website, branding, positioning and field marketing.

We ripped the band-aid off and there are bound to be rough edges we will smooth out.

We are extremely successful in hospitality and education and soon federal.

Virtualization, mobility, MCD, video and services are areas of growth for us.

We allow our channel to own the customer – we don’t keep the customer like much of our competition.

Jim Davies CTO takes stage

Freedom architecture culmination of many years of work.

More apps will run in virtualized environment than non-virtualized this year.

VMware is most successful player in the space. Hooking our wagon to VMware. VMware View – single sign-on, etc. We need to strengthn our app resiliency and scaling solutions – we will use HA tool and Site Recovery Manger (SRM) to do this.

iWorker transactions skyrocketing and not many more are being hired. average devices per user is 4 and there are 7B connected devices and 4 out of 5 are not PCs.


Device usage – where


Business vs. Personal use


We won’t launch a tablet – our competitors will have a tough time competing in this space – trying to convert iPad users without the app support.

Steve Beamish takes the stage.


Discussion of a Chicago Bears win with related autographed football drawing.

Here are some shots of the exhibit area


I had a chance to sit down with Mitel President and CEO Rich McBee – here are the important takeaways:

Rich is likable and seems genuine. He is very excited about the technology at Mitel. After a ninety day assessment of the market with customers and partner visits he decided the business needed to be simplified and as a result he has the whole company behind him to reduce complexity and drive cost out of the business. Even the receptionist is suggesting ways to make the auto attendant system more efficient.

The point is money saved can be reinvested into growth. And speaking of growth – the midmarket is where they see the biggest opportunity – BTW this fits in perfectly with their core strengths in the virtualization market and corresponds nicely with the VMware target audience and growth.

There were three channels competing for the same business and this conflict has been eliminated.

They have a true virtualized solution and don’t need a server either hosted or in the cloud to make their solution work. Large installs which used to be complex are now like any other app when virtualized.

More importantly he believes virtualized communications has gone from the innovator to the early adopter phase. They have seen 45% growth in this part of their business.

He acknowledged sales in general have been flat and he believes his new strategy will address the problems. He acknowledged growth in the US is a problem but elsewhere the company is doing better. Part of the challenge he believes has to do with part of the acquired Inter-Tel salesforce which sold more on price and many could not evolve to sell solutions. In other words they excelled at deals which were south of 100 users or so.

I asked about his interactions with communications and tech legend Terry Matthews and he described it as “Exciting, frustrating and perfect combined – Terry is the world’s biggest cheerleader for Mitel,” he concluded. He went on to say Sir Terry has 1,000 ideas and Mitel can take some of them and execute.

I asked how he knows he will be successful and the answer is when they have profitable growth – he mentioned they aren’t looking for an “event” meaning to be acquired.

He said the company strives not to be perfect but constantly better. His final thoughts were most provocative:

“Watch out for Mitel.” He continued, “Business is going to start to turn around – methodically and purposefully – we are not out by any stretch of the imagination. That’s why I came here.”

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