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One of the first major moves happened in early May. McBee and his management team confirmed a restructuring that resulted in several executive departures, including former President and COO Paul Butcher, and the reorganization of Mitel into three business units.
As of May 1, Mitel Communications Solutions will focus on unified communications, collaboration and services sales, Mitel NetSolutions will drive network and hosted services, mobile services and broadband connectivity, and Mitel DataNet will distribute third-party products to partners and customers.
McBee, at the time, also confirmed plans to focus Mitel's channel sales on the midmarket, specifically companies in the 100 to 2,500 employee range. Mitel won't leave large enterprises or small businesses behind, McBee said, but customers between 100 and 2,500 are looking for best-of-breed solutions that go beyond just a transactional networking sale. And they aren't necessarily tied to the big players like Avaya and Cisco.
"We're not the biggest in the market," McBee said. "Cisco, Avaya, they're going to do what they do, they have a lot of channel partners. We want to be number two for a channel partner that has two lines. That 2,500 down to 100 marketplace, it's not as important to them to have Cisco or Avaya, and they're not going to get locked into an architecture with us."
McBee sees Mitel's advantage in its technology. In November, Mitel released Freedom, a UC architecture that delivers UC applications via a cloud-based software stream, and according to Mitel, can save organizations 45 percent in corporate mobility costs and as much as 85 percent in communications servers normally needed for UC.
McBee said Mitel will continue to push Freedom, and also focus on the channel opportunity for voice virtualization, on which it partners with VMware.
"We're a leader in virtualization," McBee told CRN. "Some of our competitors say they have a virtual solution, and it's virtual as long as it rides on their servers. If you're going to be truly virtual, it has to ride with other chosen applications. We've got a great partner in VMware, and we've got a product that works."
Do Mitel channel partners need to have a virtualization competency to partner with the vendor going forward?
"If they're not doing it, they're certainly going to be thinking about it, so partners have got to be knowledgable," McBee said. "These guys have got to be able to speak that language. That's not necessarily a threat, it's just a natural evolution of the business."