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Shoretel acquisition provides a chance to review Mitel partner activities

Mitel is going to use the acquisition of Shoretel as an opportunity to revise its partner programme and review its channel strategy

The deal to pick up ShoreTel for $7.50 per share in cash, representing an equity value of $530m and an enterprise value of $430m, was announced last week and was pitched as a chance for Mitel to accelerate its move into the unified comms as a service market.

Shoretel has been making moves into the cloud over the last 18 months and has been quicker getting its channel up to speed and will be an area where its new owner can learn from.

Mitel will be looking to consolidate its partner programme and Shoretel's with a launch date of a revised scheme in spring of next year.

"We our redesigning our programme and we will take a pause and look at Shoretel and incorporate them and will be talking to partners in September and October to make sure we get a programme that doesn't miss the mark," said Todd  Abbott, EVP of global sales at Mitel.

The programme was being revised to make sure that it became easier for partners to work with Mitel and there are plans to reduce the number of distributors and increase the investment in those that remain on board.

"We want to make much more investment with our distribution partners and will be consolidating some of those partners to allow us to focus resources on growth partners and those that are making the shift to cloud," he added.

Abbott said that having a global programme that was carried out regionally had helped the firm get to a $1bn turnover business but it needed to be more consistent as it looked to become a $2bn operation.

The benefit of the Shoretel deal is that it should provide both sets of partners with a larger customer base to go after.

"In the channel ecosystem there is not a lot of overlap and not a lot of direct competition [between the two vendor's partners]. Shoretel was operating at the lower end of the SME market and Mitel has been focused on the medium to large enterprise and this will accelerate our move to the cloud," he said.

As Mitel moves towards a single partner programme that combines the best of both former approaches Abbott assured partners that they would be given plenty of time to adjust.

He said it would be business as usual for the rest of this year and it would start communicating with partners in the new year, talking to distributors and then resellers with a view to rolling out more firm details around April.

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