Intro: Jon Brinton, EVP and President of the Mitel Cloud Division spoke with Telecom Reseller at Enterprise Connect week about how we help enterprises with digital transformation to the cloud. Be sure to check out the podcast here.
Doug Green/Telecom Reseller: This is Doug Green and I’m the publisher of Telecom Reseller and we are at Enterprise Connect 2017 and I’m with Jon Brinton who is the EVP and President of Cloud Division for Mitel. Jon, thank you for joining me.
Jon Brinton/Mitel: Thanks for having me Doug.
Green: So I’m, I’m excited to be able to not only interview Mitel but interview someone at Mitel who’s connected to cloud. So your division deals specifically I guess with cloud migration?
Brinton: Yeah, I’m responsible for the cloud globally at Mitel and, you know, one of the great transformations that Mitel has made over the last few years is we’ve been a significant enabler of unified communications moving to the cloud—either powered by us or powered by our global channel and service providers that have our solution deployed around the world.
Green: Tell me a little bit about your cloud story.
Brinton: Yeah, so, you know, the cloud story is, is an evolution of our experience in supporting customers of all types around the world, taking, you know, if you remember, because you’ve been in the industry a long time, Doug, we were the first to virtualize our solution so that it could be deployed as totally as a virtual appliance and industry standard servers and completely as a software solution in the late 2007-2008 range.
And what we’ve done since then, that obviously virtualization was the foundation of cloud. If you take a look at then taking that virtualization, moving it to the cloud, and deploying it in class four data centers around the world, enabling it with the telephony services that are required and then continue to develop and leverage rich business collaboration, digital transformation for enterprises—it’s an enabler of customer interactions.
So, being able to provide your customers with a solution that doesn’t only meet all of their unified communications and collaboration needs but also supports their customer, their customer support and their customer collaboration so they can deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Green: Now we’re at a large enterprise show so this is one of the deals with larger size customers. What is the Mitel story for these guys?
Brinton: Yeah, so the Mitel story for these guys really ties into two big things. One is, if you look at industry research, CIOs are interested in digital transformation in their organizations. That is a topic that’s rapidly moving up areas that they’re most likely to investigate or deploy. And they’re also, and part of that digital transformation theme in an organization, is the move to the cloud.
And Gartner recently released some research that said two-thirds of enterprises—when they think of cloud, they think of a hybrid migration strategy with cloud solutions. And Mitel plays very strongly through our teamwork collaboration and other technologies that we have in the digital transformation. We are excellently positioned for hybrid unified communications deployment. In fact, Gartner scored us as the leader for hybrid cloud enablement, hybrid cloud deployments, and then as a global company, we’re positioned to support customers around the world in their journey to the cloud. And thing that we do see, is a very large group of customers that are very interested today in cloud migration for unified communications are global multinational companies.
Green: Now, why is that?
Brinton: I think if you think of the challenges that a multisite regional business has, you know, a business that’s maybe across a continent. If you take that and you compound it with IT organizations being stretched for resources, focusing on initiatives that drive business outcomes, but then still having to manage an estate of communications systems that they have deployed around the world. If you kinda start seeing quickly where the IT pain points are in managing and controlling that.
The other part is the globalization of work. So, you know, teams used to maybe work in a facility or a couple of facilities where they worked closely together, and now you have more loosely based teams that are based around the world that people work as a part of, and some of them may include contractors from outside of a company, or part time workers or people that join a project for a period of time.
And, so, we’ve introduced some exceptional teamwork collaboration solutions or workstream communications that really enable those teams to be able to work effectively if they’re globally distributed. So I think that IT management – being able to control all of your, support all of your users through a single plane of glass over the web – and then teamwork collaboration are two key drivers of that, ‘cause teamwork collaboration is linked very tightly to digital transformation initiatives and so, you know, companies making that change are going, ‘You know, if we’re doing this, how are we going to make it easier for our employees and workers to work together?’
Green: You know, Jon, I’m happy that you mentioned the IT crew basically because I think part of the previous cloud discussion was, how are we going to convince these guys to get themselves out of work?
Green: And what you’re describing is, well, no, now they have a different job.
Brinton: Yes. Yeah, they have a different job. I mean, if you look at what CIOs are interested in—delivering business outcomes, being involved in initiatives that help drive the business and move it to the next level, not in managing servers or taking, you know, taking care of desktop devices, things like that, in the same way they have. We give them a global management platform where they can manage their users around the world.
The unique thing that does happen with global multinationals is, we do assume that, like, SIP trunking, you know, broadband pricing is similar to the US, right? Pre-market broadband pricing. SIP trunking availability and number portability of equity, being able to move any number to any device. We assume that in North America that that is the same around the world.
And what we find with global multinationals when they really start moving to the cloud, there’s some use cases, or some countries’ sites where going to a pure cloud or type deployment can be very challenging. They can’t, you know, port their existing numbers or do things like that.
So, one thing that is a big plus for Mitel, is we, as we talked about before, support hybrid cloud. And so we can go to a global multinational company, give them an offer that maybe gets 80 percent of their sites to the cloud, cloud deployment, 20 percent of their sites may end up being a hybrid deployment where they have some local controllers or local intelligence that sits on the sites, but they can still have the cloud management tools to manage it as one large unified communications deployment, and those workers can still use the same inward collaboration tools, you know, rich video collaboration, share presence, all of those other functions as if it’s a pure cloud deployment.
Green: Now, the deployments you’re describing, do these things enhance company productivity and do they save money?
Brinton: Yeah, absolutely. If you look at some of the teamwork collaboration studies, you know, they say that when they are effectively deployed, they can reduce email by 40 percent, and, you know, the whole point of digital transformation is helping employees find information more easily, adapt to it more easily.
We’ve just released a study that shows that employers lose, on average, eleven thousand dollars per year in productivity value from their workers, because they’re looking for information, you know, trying to find data. So if you get an organization to effectively deploy workstream communications or teamwork collaboration where you have persistent chat, you can mark up and share documents, images, things like that, across the team, people can come and go, join a team, ‘cause sometimes, you know, and you have a group of starters, a group of finishers, and other people that join a workstream during process.
If I join two or three months into a project, I have all the data that has been, you know, compiled before and make it easily searchable, that really helps raise the level of employee productivity and eliminate that waste that employers are seeing.
Green: So, Jon, you know, one of the striking things that you’re seeing at this event in terms of when you walk around the exhibition floor is the changing almost geography of exhibitors, vendors, and so on, and I know a lot of our readers are coping with those changes, and I’m wondering how Mitel is sort of accommodating people that may have legacy equipment or becoming, you know, basically end-of-life.
Brinton: Yeah, that’s a good question, and it’s, you know you’re right. We’re seeing dramatic change in the industry with Avaya recently filing Chapter 11, Toshiba announcing this week essentially that they were going to exit the, you know, exit the PBX market, and a cloud solution that, you know, that people are wondering ‘What’s the future of my cloud?” because they’ll be winding that down, so it is rapidly changing.
We’ve seen a large influx of customer interest and a lot of funnel growth for many of those customers in enterprise phase, who are, you know, wondering what the next direction is for them, and many of them now, especially those that had aging assets that they had kinda delayed upgrading, are now really thinking about—okay, digital transformation’s a theme, cloud’s a theme.
Generally, unified communications is not the first application people have moved to the cloud, they’re using Workday, Salesforce, MailChimp, whatever it is, JIRA for R&D—a lot of different programs, which we integrate into about fifty of those, I believe, today with our unified communications, and they’re going, ‘What vendor’s globally positioned to support me, has solutions that, you know, fit my classification of company?’
They may be considering that kinda hybrid cloud deployment or ‘How do we do this over a period of time?’ and so we’re getting a lot of interest from customers who are concerned about the state of their vendors today and where they are going.
Green: That’s a very good point that a lot of people have already taken a sip out of the cloud – no pun intended – to SIP, and they already have part of their business already out there and you’re basically saying ‘Hey we can integrate the rest.’
Brinton: Yeah, we can integrate and migrate it over time. So, couple of key Mitel maxims have always been that we leave no customer behind. So, we don’t strand customer investment. And besides that type of industry change, you’ve also seen some vendors strand customer investment platforms. If you want the new features, you’re not gonna get them on what you had, you need to move to, you know, our latest and greatest platform, kinda forcing customers to upgrade. And when you see, you know, the Avaya situation, people don’t know what the future is gonna look like.
So, part of that investment protection is making sure there is, you know, place to bring customers forward and migrate at their own pace to the cloud. So for us, we’re about 50 percent of our cloud customers come from our base, people who are deciding, ‘Yep, now it’s time to migrate to the cloud with Mitel, a trusted vendor.’
About 50% of our cloud users come from new logos. We’ve got over three million cloud users globally today, and a lot of those new logos are these large enterprises that are going, you know, ‘We need to be in what we feel is a trusted pair of hands in order to make this transformation.’
‘Cause different than some of the other applications that people do use in the cloud, unified communications is a mission critical application and voice communications needs to have the proper environment for it to function the way people expect it to, and while sometimes if we’re using a pure computer app that’s being deployed in the cloud, a few seconds of delay or latency, or, or you know, it’s not, it’s still functions for us, but when it gets to human to human communications, people expect it to be seamless and easy to use. And that’s what we’re focused on delivering to customers today.
Green: So you know, something that’s sometimes missed at an event like this is not everybody is a technologist, and not everyone is in a technology company. We have a lot of people in the country that are working at low technology companies, workers who have very little background, and so on, so it’s a very big expense sometimes, even to just change a phone, and then the actual phone changing, that is a physical expense. So does Mitel have a strategy and a philosophy about how to do that and still get into the cloud?
Brinton: Yeah, so that’s especially where that hybrid cloud deployment and being able to support customers’ migrations at their own pace, being able to help them educate their employees so they can help move them forward with new technology. ‘Cause everybody, you know these tools that we deliver today are so powerful, and we’ve tried to make them as intuitive as possible. We’re extremely focused on the user experience, but there is training and enablement involved in doing that, and you know, between ourselves and our 2000 partners that we have around the world, Mitel is well enabled to do that and deliver the type of professional services to make that type of deployment a success.
Green: I think that’s just huge, because when, you know, if think about even the largest employers in almost any county or city, it’s often a school district, it’s often a hospital, it’s often a utility, and it’s the actual instruments and endpoints are, you know, it’s going to be expensive to change all that stuff out.
Brinton: Yes, absolutely. So we will work with the customer on their migration strategy—we have examples of that. A large European customer actually that had another manufacturer on their desktop, but didn’t see a future with that vendor. They couldn’t replace the desktop at the time that they decided to move to the cloud, so we actually were able, working with our partner, to convert 60 thousand users to the cloud at this customer, over a weekend, with their existing desktop, and then now over time, and that’s now grown to 80 thousand users in total. And over time then, as their budget allows them to, because they’re a government entity, we will replace the desktop over a number of years, because they can, they have a maximum purchasing power, they can only procure and replace so many in a year. So, so things like that are, are really part of partnering with your customer in order to truly give them the best path to the cloud.
Green: So you really can customize your path?
Brinton: Yes, absolutely.
Green: Well Jon, thank you very much for dropping by and spending time with me here at busy Enterprise Connect week. Where can we learn more about Mitel?
Brinton: Yes, so I would go online to Mitel.com, M-I-T-E-L dot com, or consult one of our authorized partners.
Green: Thank you very much indeed.
Brinton: Thank you.
This article originally appeared on Telecom Reseller.