'Focused' Mitel Gets Strategy Update Post-Unify Merger

Mitel closed its acquisition of Unify from Atos in fall 2023.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

April 23, 2024

4 Min Read
Mitel portfolio update post Unify buy

Mitel is emphasizing hybrid cloud, vertical integration and multimodal capabilities in its updated technology portfolio.

The unified communications provider on Tuesday shared how it is combining its portfolio with that of Unify, which Mitel acquired last year. Mitel announced in January 2023 that it was buying Unify from Atos and subsequently closed the deal in late September. Now Mitel says it has combined the pedigrees of both companies to double down on Mitel's UC ambitions.

Martin Bitzinger, Mitel's senior vice president of product management, said Mitel is targeting "practical innovations" that combine security and reliability."


“Unified communications is a mature market where we continue to see consolidation and vendors exiting the space, giving Mitel a greater opportunity to do what we do best,” Bitzinger said. “Our portfolio strategy is rooted in the goal of helping each customer get the right communications solution for their needs today with the confidence that Mitel’s solutions can flex to support whatever their future may hold."

Mitel Product Pillars

The company said it has focused its portfolio strategy on three key areas.

The first is hybrid cloud. Mitel cited a Frost & Sullivan that anticipates 80% of deployments to be hybrid by 2026.

Related:Mitel Looks to Place More AI in Patient Care

Mitel in 2021 made RingCentral its exclusive UCaaS provider partner and in 2022 ended sales of its MiCloud Connect platform.

Second, the provider is touting vertical-specific solutions. The company last month teased its plans to implement more generative AI-based solutions into the healthcare space , as well as a HIPAA-compliant e-consultation solution. In addition, Mitel pointed to property and guest experience solutions geared toward hospitality customers and a multi-line communications solution for financial and energy trading houses.

Moreover, Mitel's line card of vertical-focused strategic technology partners has expanded beyond 500.

Third, Mitel said it is targeting frontline workers with multimodal capabilities. The company said the focus will serve a neglected customer segment UC companies have often overlooked in favor of knowledge workers. Mitel is launching new cordless DECT handsets that people working in the field can use.

Brent Kelly, Omdia's principal analyst for digital workplace, said Mitel's approach contrasts with conventional understandings of frontline UCaaS.

"Most people think of frontline as providing frontline workers the UCaaS tools (messaging, meetings, telephony, etc.) that they need to become part of the larger organization. Much of this is being done using the UCaaS clients (Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Zoom, etc.). In Mitel’s case, it would be MiCollab," Kelly told Channel Futures. "But Mitel is using the term to promote its DECT handsets, something that most other vendors don’t really mention often as part of frontline."

Does the portfolio update represent a significant change for Mitel? Analysts don't think so.

COMMfusion president and principal analyst Blair Pleasant said the announcement shows Mitel growing "more laser-focused in some areas."

Hybrid cloud, for example, is not a new focus, Pleasant said.

"For the past few years, Mitel has highlighted its ability to provide a choice of UC deployment models, including on-prem, public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid," Pleasant told Channel Futures. "The company is now focusing more on hybrid, as an increasing number of customers are looking for the security and flexibility that hybrid provides, while retaining existing investments."


Similarly, the vertical emphasis is a double-down.

"Mitel has long had a strong vertical focus, and now Unify adds even more vertical expertise and capabilities. The strategy hasn’t changed as much as it’s become more focused, which is why the Unify acquisition makes so much sense," Pleasant said.

Analyst: Mitel Faces a 'Challenge'

Kelly agreed that the news from Mitel doesn't represent any pivot but rather a "reiteration" of its strategy.

He said the merger between Mitel and Unify makes Mitel the second largest player in the PBX market. Omdia in its Enterprise Unified Communication and Voice Equipment Market Tracker of the merger did, however, point to challenges facing Mitel going forward.

It's not the first time the Unify business unit has been sold. Omdia notes that Unify previously belonged to Siemens as Siemens Enterprise Communications, before its parent company spun it out and later sold it to Atos.

"While at Atos, Unify generally struggled, as it was not very effective in Atos’ markets," Kelly wrote.

Omdia noted that Unify employees have slotted into several influential positions at Mitel, including chief technology officer and chief sales officer.

"Omdia is concerned that there are too many moving parts within Mitel for it to perform well, with significant executive management changes and trying to merge two significant businesses," Kelly said. "Still, we believe the combined Mitel plus Unify revenues will make it the number two PBX market player."

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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