Mitel Snags prairieFyre
Yesterday, Mitel announced its $20 million acquisition of prairieFyre. The two firms have been partners in the contact center space for about 15 years with Mitel rebranding the solution since 2002.
According to Chris Courneya, CEO of prairieFyre, Mitel-related activities accounted for 95 percent of its revenue. Courneya’s new title will be Vice President and General Manager of Mitel Contact Centers, and he brings with him about 130 new employees to Mitel.
Mitel previously shared its three strategic pillars as 1) leverage the core, 2) cloud, and 3) contact center expansion. This acquisition hits all three. First, as a strategic pillar, owning the intellectual property of its contact center solution makes a lot of sense. "In response to customer demand, many of our IT resellers have started building out specialized contact center practices and are asking for a solution tightly integrated and aligned with Mitel's product development and roadmaps," said Richard McBee, president and CEO of Mitel.
The software is already closely intertwined, so there is little technical risk in this acquisition. Yet, the fact Mitel was not the original developer was apparent to many. For example, Mitel dealers would often be redirected to prairieFyre for specialized support.
Mitel’s contact center and cloud strategies are interconnected. The firm approaches cloud from both private and public perspectives – each with contact center as core components. Mitel recently announced four offerings:
MiContact Center for Small Business
MiContact Center Business Edition
MiContact Center Enterprise Edition
MiCloud Contact Center (as a service) offering.
With regards to leveraging the core, Mitel believes that integrating with multiple vendors such as Microsoft and Google as well as allowing multiple deployment models such as appliance, virtualized, or hosted provides the flexibility its customers require.
However, Mitel had not acquired prairieFyre before, and I wonder if Lync’s growing market share was the proverbial straw. Take note of recent news from each firm: prairieFyre Software Completes Qualification for Contact Center for Microsoft Lync 2013, and Mitel Aims to Stave Off Lync Voice, Work with Google. By acquiring prairieFyre, Mitel got additional Lync talent and doubled its Lync contact center solutions. Mitel can deliver strong contact center capabilities for Lync with either Microsoft or Mitel providing the enterprise voice engine.
According to Ron Wellard, Mitel EVP and General Manager, prairieFyre uses the same code base for each solution. Wellard expects Mitel will be able to expand the newly renamed MiContact Center for Lync with stronger capabilities as Lync matures. Mitel could add a hosted contact center solution for Lync customers through its MiCloud offerings.
Mitel intends to leverage its best-of-breed contact center suite to garner attention from Lync end customers and channel partners. Microsoft relies on partners such as Zeacom, Aspect, and prairieFyre to deliver contact center capabilities for Lync.
Dave Michels blogs at TalkingPointz.