Mitel (NASDAQ: MITL) is doubling down on its channel presence, creating a VP of Channel Development role and entering into a distribution agreement with distribution powerhouse Tech Data (NASDAQ: TECD).
Little more than a year after implementing its “3+1” strategy, which in part realigned the company’s vision to focus more on its channel partners, the company in October tapped 18-year Mitel vet Jeff Nolan to the newly created position of vice president, North American Channel Development. He is tasked with working with national partners and service provider partners to launch new initiatives, and will lead a team focused on channel recruitment and onboarding activities.
“We want to have focused approach in onboarding to foster long-term success,” Nolan said. “We have a systematic approach of targeting and recruiting and process of onboarding,” to help drive greater success among Mitel’s partners, he noted.
The role supports Mitel’s push to make the channel its main route to market, part of its 3+1 strategy. “We revectored the business to focus on the channel,” Nolan said, with particular emphasis on the growth and the success of its channel partners.
Other elements in the 3+1 strategy are:
- Simplicity: How the company works with its channel partners, customers and others to ensure Mitel is simple to do business with in the marketplace; and
- Focus: Mitel wants to be the best at competing in the SMB and midmarket enterprise, and is focused on providing the right business toolset and unified communication tools for that marketplace, Nolan said. “Our technology has been optimized for the large enterprise or it can be used in the ‘S’ in the SMB, but we believe our sweet spot is that SMB to midmarket.”
The +1 of the strategy is virtualization, and the company’s three-year partnership with VMware (NYSE: VMW) has helped it gain more mind share among IT professionals looking for a communications solution that can be physical or virtual, on premise or hosted, Nolan said.
“Our leading partnership with VMware has been a game-changer for us,” he said. “Our ability to have a dialog and talk to clients about unified communications at the CIO level has been a strong game-changer for us. We forced the pace of a lot of customer conversations.”
By creating the North American Channel Development position, Mitel is betting on the current and future success of its channel partners by helping them find new opportunities that leverage the company’s technologies and its relationship with VMware. Data center initiatives, network services are two areas the company has in mind. “A successful company needs to build a strategy two, three, four years out and make sure its channel is equipped for the long term. That has been our focus and so far we’re executing well.”
Mitel hopes that success will be augmented by a new distribution agreement with Tech Data to offer Mitel’s its 5000 Communications Platform, designed for the small end of the SMB market. Tech Data also will offer Mitel’s UC 360 product, its all-in-one conferencing appliance allows for video content collaboration.
“Our next phase is targeting the ‘S’ of SMB channels that Tech Data has access to,” Nolan said. “We think Tech Data is very well set up to help us accomplish that.”