News that Mitel had dramatically changed their channel strategy from two tier to a direct reseller model was broken to two of their distributors by Comms Business Magazine yesterday as the magazine called the companies to seek a reaction to the news.
Simon Thompson, sales Director at Westcon declined to comment when told that his company would no longer have the Mitel 3300 in his portfolio as it was the first he had heard of the Mitel plan. Meanwhile, David Grant, CEO at Crane Telecommunications did know of the Mitel plan but declined to comment ahead of an immanent meeting with Mitel.
The other distributor that was uncertain of the plan was Aberdeen based Nessco whose Marketing Manager Caroline Merson was surprised to hear of the move.
Speaking to Comms Business Magazine Mitel Sales Director Enda Kenneally said that she had arrived at the decision to adopt a direct reseller approach based upon her need to grow the base of resellers selling her flagship 3300ICP.
“This decision affect all of our distributors including Nessco, Nimans, Westcon, Crane and ATC Rocom but does not affects the latter’s 3600 hosted telephony platform relationship with Mitel”
Kenneally went on to say that Mitel would be seeking out many more new resellers and that she had put in a professional on-line ordering system for existing resellers that had been robustly tested over the last four weeks.
Mitel resellers that contacted Comms Business Magazine were in the main pleased with Mitel’s recent moves which also included the acquisition of Inter-Tel last Friday.
John Massey, Managing Director of Essex based Actimax who is a Mitel Platinum reseller as well as Inter-Tel’s top UK reseller commented;
“The Mitel move on Inter-Tel is very interesting and creates a much larger company with complimentary products. We sell both but into different market segments. I have to say it would be great to see Inter-Tel’s Swan Solutions Callview integrated on to the Mitel 3300 but I see a difficult time ahead for Mitel in integrating the two product portfolio’s.
With regards to the direct relationship with Mitel, we have been served well logistically by our distributor but all technical escalations are handled by Mitel anyway.”
This was a view shared by Ty Gardner of Universal Group, another Mitel Platinum reseller.
“All of our technical support is Mitel based anyway so it will just be a case of getting the financial lines of credit in place and seeing how the new on-line ordering systems work.”
Graham Bevington, Managing Director EMEA, Mitel, comments: “Mitel has built an enviable position as a market leader in IP communications, we are number one in SME and number two in the UK IP market overall. We intend to sustain and grow that position and strongly believe that we can do so more effectively by working directly with the resellers with whom we engage.”
To fuel that growth, Mitel is investing in additional account management, order desk, pre-sales, marketing and technical resource to execute its new UK channel strategy. In addition, a new Mitel-only logistics group will focus on providing delivery performance to match the industry’s best, allowing resellers to drive their Mitel business forward with confidence.
Enda Kenneally, UK Sales Director: ”This is not a decision we have taken lightly and while we have enjoyed good relationships with the distributors we have listened very carefully to our resellers and it is clear to us that they see significant value in a direct vendor relationship. In the complex world of unified communications, specialist knowledge is a real differentiator and we are taking proactive action to evolve our channel strategy. In doing so we will excel in the level of service we provide to our resellers and deliver a more effective model for Mitel to control our own destiny in terms of our ambitious growth plans.”