Comms Business talks to Mitel’s recently appointed VP for UK/I and EMEA Channels Richard Roberts about the market and how he intends to support channel partners in their transition to cloud-enabled collaboration and communications technologies.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): How do you intend to help channels secure more business and grow Mitel’s market share.
I have joined Mitel at a very interesting time. A time when the market is undergoing a transformation, customers are themselves undertaking their own Digital Transformations (DX) and partners seeking out their own relevance in the channel.
Mitel needs to ensure that we continue to develop products and applications to enable these journeys and provide guidance and leadership for our channels.
Any DX is underpinned by collaboration and getting customer insights that unlock the door to greater competitive advantage, whether through on-site, hybrid or cloud based solutions. We need to fully understand are our customers are using our products.
I have a history of being market leader (According to analyst firm MZA’s ‘The Global Telecommunication Market, Q3 2017’ Mitel is in the #1 market share position in Europe). I’m responsible for maintaining that position and excited by what lies ahead. I believe that customers and partners recognise the value Mitel can bring to them.
I’ll always stress over and over again that an organisations biggest asset is its people and if you can connect people then magic happens. Customer Service Excellence (CX) is developing as a science. It creates loyal customers that keep on coming back to you. A constant in this science is collaboration and connecting ideas is fundamental to success.
Mitel recently conducted a survey with 2500 IT people from across the globe and the findings re-enforce CX as being critical. 85% believe M2M will positively improve customer service and 90% expect to see that impact in the next four years. Significantly, 40% see the correlation between revenue and CX.
CBM: Are there experiences you gained at either Purple or Cisco that will help him achieve these goals at Mitel?
There is a great deal to be learnt from companies that value partners. I gained experience of this SaaS, compute and networking markets at Cisco and in Wi-Fi at Purple where there was a bold, ambitious and creative leadership team. There are some things that never change in channels; a focus of profit, the understanding of roles and values whilst also having the humility to recognise where the strengths of being a vendor and a channel partner lie. In running a channel business, you need to know reseller ambitions and where they meet or diverge with your own.
A consistency of message is also required as you can build a business around it. Partnering is a fabulous asset when done well so treat people honourably and create value for each other.
CBM: How does the UK market measure up against other EMEA territories?
An interesting question. Each market is of course different and often this is down to the stage of evolution they have reached, say, in the cloud, in vertical markets and in customers. You need a rich portfolio to address all these markets. Again, you need a cultural humility, understand each market and your partners.
We’re in an economy now that needs diversity of thought, and ideas. It is important to get the ideas together, connect them – and the people with ideas don’t need to be in one or the same place to do this. That’s where DX was born.
CBM: What is Richard most concerned/excited about with the UK set to leave the EU in the next year?
I can’t foretell the future but I have seen an ongoing pragmatism about the continuance of commerce that has been built over generations. Whatever happens people will continue to do business as there is real resilience in the customer and partner community. We are connected and we do collaborate.
As for the first 100 days goals, there are three things; accelerating the journey to cloud, bringing partners closer together and focussing on the people we have here – they have invested much of their career with Mitel.
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