Q&A: Simon Skellon, Mitel

It has been a busy time at the telco, with the portfolio expanding and the unified comms strategy being solidified

It has been six months since comms player Mitel sealed the Unify acquisition and looked to expand the options it puts in front of its channel.

Given that milestone, it is a good time to catch up with Simon Skellon, senior vice-president and head of the international region at Mitel.

MicroScope: Since the acquisition of Unify, what have been the headline changes experienced by your customers and channel partners?

Skellon: The acquisition has brought extensive service capabilities to Mitel, and we are now in a position to deliver truly end-to-end experiences. We are able to level up the conversations we have with organisations beyond telephony to complete digital IT solutions. This is empowering us to build stronger relationships with our clients and drive the value that CIOs are seeking.

Looking to the future, we’re committed to providing our partners with the tools and solutions they need to drive revenue and add value. This includes a strong strategic focus on hybrid solutions and vertical integrations that support industry or organisation-specific workflows. We also have a renewed focus on global expansion and delivering tailored solutions for our customers and channel partners.

MicroScope: How has Mitel’s market position changed since the acquisition?

The Unify acquisition has further bolstered Mitel’s position as a leading force in the UC market
Simon Skellon, Mitel

Skellon: The Unify acquisition has further bolstered Mitel’s position as a leading force in the UC [unified communications] market. In fact, since Q4 of 2023, Mitel is now the leading brand in more than 10 major global markets – including Western Europe. Mitel now benefits from an extended installed base of 80 million users spanning over 100 countries together with 5,000 partners across the world, including an expanded ecosystem of more than 500 strategic technology partners.

So, if someone asks, ‘Who is Mitel today?’, the answer is clear. We are the UC vendor bringing more than 150 years of experience and the utmost flexibility to support a hybrid, integrated and multimodal future, providing practical innovations that help customers thrive.

​MicroScope: You recently announced Mitel’s new portfolio strategy. What are the key changes? How is Mitel’s new product strategy going to impact channel partners?

Skellon: Mitel’s recently announced new portfolio strategy demonstrates the company’s unwavering commitment to the UC market. Businesses now find themselves in a post-pandemic, security-conscious work environment and Mitel, together with our partners, is perfectly poised to support them in this setting.

Our new portfolio strategy recognises that telephony alone is no longer enough, and for many businesses, neither is an off-the-shelf UCaaS [unified comms as a service] application. Businesses not only need, but increasingly expect, tailored solutions that don’t require them to make trade-offs.

Mitel’s new product strategy addresses this issue head-on, and the solution is a combination of options. Hybrid solutions offer the ability to leverage on-premise investments with modern cloud capabilities, while integrated communications solutions that are purpose-built for specific industries can simplify daily workflows for employees and customers. We also offer multimodal flexibility – providing organisations with seamless solutions that support the needs of the entire workforce, whether they’re remote or in the office, or knowledge or frontline workers.

MicroScope: What are the key market trends that will shape the UC industry in the next 24 months, and how will they impact channel partners?

Skellon: It’s an exciting time for not only Mitel, but the UC industry as a whole. We’re seeing customers shift towards a common set of characteristics as a result of today’s working environment.

“Businesses now find themselves in a post-pandemic, security-conscious work environment and Mitel, together with our partners, is perfectly poised to support them in this setting”

Simon Skellon, Mitel

We expect to see a continued push to hybrid solutions, but importantly, on the customer’s terms – organisations are not willing to sacrifice control or reliability to do so. We’re also seeing a growing demand for a more seamless experience from the organisation’s tech stack to improve employee productivity and stay competitive.

Across the board, organisations are growing in complexity, and their needs cannot be adequately served by a one-size-fits-all approach. Looking ahead to the next 24 months, it is clear that flexibility will be key. This doesn’t just mean complete custom solutions, rather it is about enabling maximum optionality, ensuring each customer gets the right solution to both fit their needs today and their goals for tomorrow.

This means it will become increasingly important for partners to play the role of a trusted advisor throughout the customer’s entire communications journey. We are seeing many partners develop deep competencies and specialise in specific vertical industries such as healthcare and financial services.

MicroScope: Is the door open to fresh partners attracted by the strategy coming on board?

Skellon: Yes, we want to bring on additional partners who are attracted by our business communications strategy, in all parts of the world. Since there is a focus on vertical markets, frontline workers and hybrid cloud, we will generate interest from different value-added resellers who add additional expertise to our portfolio.

We’re especially looking to attract new partners in parts of the world where Mitel has the potential to expand and become even more relevant, such as APAC, MEA and Eastern Europe. Mitel is always open to welcoming partners into our ever-growing family who are willing to commit to embracing our solutions to their customers.

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