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Jon Brinton, GM, Mitel Network Solutions Group, discusses some of the changes that Mitel has introduced and the impact to Mitel’s channel partners.
Blair Pleasant: Hi, this is Blair Pleasant. I am here at the Mitel Partner Conference and with me is Jon Brinton. Jon is General Manager of Mitel Network Solutions. Welcome, Jon.
Jon Brinton: Thank you.
Blair: So first, for people who don’t know, why don’t tell us what Mitel Network Solutions is all about and what you do.
Jon: Okay, at Mitel today, we have two business units, our core product business which is Mitel Communications Solutions, which is led by Ron Wellard, and then my business which is Mitel Network Solutions. And our focus, as we are the communications service provider business of Mitel, we are based in the U.S., delivering services to customers in the U.S., and our offerings are focused on cloud delivery model, delivering mobility services to business customers, and traditional network services.
Blair: So who are your customers, are they service providers or end users?
Jon: Our customers are actually end users. So we bill over, have over 9,000 businesses in the U.S. that we provide services to on a monthly reoccurring basis.
Blair: So we have been talking a lot about channel partners and how they are growing with Mitel. So tell us about how channel partners fit into this model.
Jon: The majority of our services are sold by our Mitel channel partners, so if you look at the channel partner and their traditional go-to-market opportunity, a lot of what they do is a great job of owning that relationship with their customer. And many of their customers see them as value-added consultants in their business. So part of the services that they recommend to clients are Mitel Network Solution Services that the channel partner will sell for us. And then we will compensate them on an agent basis with residual commissions over the life of that customer. So it gives them a great way to have the additional benefits of providing those other services to their customers, a management environment with a good business partner in Mitel that will work together to provide the best solution for the customer, and just a great way to make their relationship thicker with their customer overall and provide more value for their business.
Blair: So these types of services are a big change for most channel partners; they are used to selling boxes, hardware, solutions, so how do they feel about this and what is their reaction, and how are you helping them move to this new model?
Jon: That is a good point. If you look at many of the statistics we talked about here at our event, you know, within our channel community, we are trying to assist them with education and support and just helping them manage the changes in the industry overall. Part of that is helping them, as we communicated. Mitel is their partner in the cloud, helping them to be able to migrate to cloud solutions where that is appropriate for their customer. And also, there is an education process and there is also reality that on some of the services that we offer, where Mitel isn’t dependent upon a certain fixed delivery model. So we want to help our partners be best suited as consultants for their customers, so that way they can evaluate the situation, choose the best deployment model solution for their customer, and then together we can deliver that. So there is a good deal of education, support and just transition in our channel, but at the same time, we have some just outstanding channels who get it and who are great at delivering those kind of complete solutions to customers and they drive a lot of revenue for Mitel.
Blair: Any final thoughts, or advice you would give to channel partners who are thinking about moving into this new direction?
Jon: I think that it is important for partners to one, be in business with somebody who can support them, across their full business needs. And that is one of the things that I think Mitel, in a whole, delivers to our channel partners – to be with folks that understand the technology progression that we are going through in the industry in general, and to invest with people that are leading in that regard. We talked a lot about a lot of great innovation here within our portfolio, and the values that we can deliver to channel. And then to be able to rationalize in their business, how they understand and make a transition to a model that maybe isn’t all built around a capital expenditure and professional services, and just to blend over time, right? So I firmly believe that while there is a transition in the market and the cloud is growing very rapidly, there will be great ways to service customers in a blend of the models that we know, and have along with the newer cloud model for a long period of time. And we just want our channel to know that Mitel will be their partner however they choose to go to market.
Blair: Great. Thank you very much.
Jon: Alright, thank you.
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