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Mitel narrow market focus & restructures

Unified communications vendor, Mitel, is to concentrate its R&D on technologies for the mid-market (100-2500 users), create a single organisation for all sales outside North America and restructure itself into three product/service divisions.

The changes follow the appointment of new CEO, Rich McBee, in January, hired to succeed Don Smith who, had announced his resignation several months earlier. The changes will also see the departure of president and COO Paul Butcher, the elimination of the COO position and the assumption of the role of president by McBee.

Mitel was not able to provide any comment on the implications of the changes for its Australian operation at the time of writing.

McBee said: "I've spent the last three months speaking with, customers, channel partners, industry analysts, shareholders and our internal team. As a result, I am implementing a strategy anchored by three initiatives in a multi-step approach to grow Mitel's business as a unified communications and collaboration provider.

"First, we will simplify our business. This means creating a flatter organisation comprised of two geographical sales organisations and three key business units. This new, more agile organisational structure will enable Mitel to better serve its customers and innovate more quickly, all with the goal of increasing shareholder value."

The three divisions will be:
- Mitel Communications Solutions: responsible for delivering unified communications and collaboration products and services to businesses;
- Mitel NetSolutions: responsible for network and hosted services, mobile services, and broadband connectivity;
- Mitel DataNet: responsible for the distribution of third-party products to partners and customers.

On the company's product strategy, McBee said: "We are committed to our Freedom architecture which is being well received by customers around the world looking to capitalise on existing infrastructure investments and create a best-in-class communications solution. We will continue to innovate in this area to provide flexibility to both IT and the end user and to take advantage of the opportunity in the mid market segment.

"Additionally, we intend to exploit our significant market leadership in voice virtualisation. This means continuing to partner with virtualisation leader VMware to jointly innovate in this area. This has been a differentiator for Mitel in acquiring new customers and providing a migration path for existing Mitel 3300 IP communications platform customers to Virtual Mitel Communications Director. Our customers have made it clear to us that virtualisation is a priority for them and, as a result, it is a strong priority for us as well."

Mitel announced its Freedom Architecture in December 2010, billing it as "a single, cloud-ready software stream that delivers an array of communications options for businesses looking to integrate a voice solution into best-in-class networks and applications'¦[that gives] employees access to a rich suite of UC features on the mobile device of their choice, regardless of location. It supports the trend toward 'bring your own mobile' in the business world and creates a single identity and presence status that follows the user, not the device."
Mitel claimed that: "The Mitel Freedom architecture is designed to decrease operating costs - for example, businesses can save up to 45 percent in corporate mobility costs and reduce the number of required communications servers by as much as 85 percent."

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