Remote Workforce Solutions – Spotlight on Mitel

Mark Morgan, President of Intelisys, sits down with Mitel’s Scott Peterson, SVP Americas, to discuss how Mitel and CCaaS are supporting businesses through and beyond the transition into the remote workforce.

Mark Morgan: Hi, everybody. I’m Mark Morgan with Intelisys. I’m here today to introduce you to Scott Peterson, Vice President of Americas for Mitel. Scott’s the go-to guy in the US for the sales organization. Scott, good morning. How are things in New York?

Scott Peterson: Things are going okay, Mark. It’s great to be here. Thanks for the opportunity to talk about Mitel, and what’s going on in work-from-home.

Mark Morgan: Yeah. You look like you’re a little tan. Have they let you outside recently?

Scott Peterson: Based on my excessive eating, I’ve had to do a little bit of exercise. So, yeah, I’m a little flushed from a morning run. Thank you. I need more steps, no doubt about it.

Mark Morgan: Yeah. Well, it’s good to see you. We appreciate our partnership with Mitel. We’ve been–both ScanSource and Intelisys–we’ve been partners together for quite a while. We appreciate the partnership. Everything’s moving along pretty quickly. What’s your view of how things are rolling and channeled today?

Scott Peterson: Well, we’re bullish on what we’re building. We continue to be encouraged by signs of what we’re calling the recovery phase, as more and more of our partners and their customers seem to be coming back online, and making some decisions about what their technology solutions are going to be going forward.

But yeah, our relationship on your broader entity, Intelisys, ScanSource, together, is so critical to our success going forward. So thank you to everybody who’s part of that organization. We don’t succeed without you.

Mark Morgan: Well, same here. I think one of the beauties of where we are positioned as a company, both companies, is when everyone went remote, we were able to do a lot to help our partners help businesses maintain continuity.

That begs the question of, you guys have a good view, we got a good view of the market as well, but how does Mitel view … How are things changing? How are the events of go remote change do you see in general? What do you see? There’s the obvious of what’s going on currently, but what do you think’s down the road short term?

Scott Peterson: Yeah, it’s an interesting question. If you look back to middle of March until now, I think the whole evolution of people thinking about collaboration and more flexible technology configurations just accelerated. It was no longer a discussion point or a budget point. It was a must. It was a must for every business.

So we, along with partners like you, had to respond to those customers. First and foremost, it was just what tools can we put in their hand? What platform is best for their business?

Then we started to see, beyond basic collaboration, we saw some technologies pop that we weren’t quite expecting. Things like omnichannel, you know CCaaS, things that really have started to see some differentiation, and people thinking about call flows, and how they make sure that their customers reach the right employee in their business at the right time. That seems to be becoming more and more of a differentiator on top of just the basic functionality, video chat, et cetera.

Mark Morgan: CCaaS, that’s a good topic to bring up. Do you have any short case studies around when we went remote? Did you guys do any quick implementations? Did you have customers that were in a panic about how they were going to move? You got a good story to tell there?

Scott Peterson: We had a number of them from very large organizations, big education facilities and health care facilities, that had to be triaging calls immediately. Some very prominent states in the Southeast flipped to a Mitel CCaaS solution immediately upon the COVID epidemic.

The interesting thing we’re also seeing is in the broader customer base. Some smaller customers who perhaps, prior to COVID, thought that CCaaS was not something they needed, they didn’t think that they needed a Contact Center solution, suddenly were thinking, “Well, wait a minute. If this allows me to have calls route or contacts route to the right employee at the right time,” suddenly that’s a differentiator for them. So we’ve really seen that smaller segment of our customers start to embrace CCaaS and think differently about it.

I think that that will be fascinating when people start to go back to offices, because suddenly perhaps if they had been outsourcing contact center activities, or had a concentrated base of contact center, now they can see that their employees can do it remotely. So that will be fascinating to watch as the market evolves going forward.

Mark Morgan: Yeah. I think there’s definitely a … For me and, I think, for Mitel as well, I’ve got … I’ve been at ScanSource since 2003. I ran sales organizations inside of ScanSource for 12 years. I spent three or four years on our Comm side working with various telecom, Mitel being one.

But from a hardware perspective, knowing the struggle that VARs have had with moving from a CAPEX to an OPEX business model, we saw a huge spike in the number of VARs that are looking to start making that pivot. It’s end user driven. I think a lot of it has been driven, in a big way, by end users.

With that said, you guys are in great position in the way you just said about CCaaS, and being able to flip the switch fairly quickly. Prem end customers to see that you can make a move from prem to working out of the home, and very easily route calls to where they need to go.

The point I’m trying to make here is there’s a ton of pent up demand once we start moving towards normal. How much demand have you guys seen for the channel? What are you thinking? What are your expectations, and how do you guys plan on handling that?

Scott Peterson: Well, we’ve seen a really significant uptick in our funnel. We’ve seen 30, 35% funnel growth, especially in the back half here of the second quarter. I think businesses were hesitant coming into the second quarter. Everyone was reacting to this new environment. Now suddenly the funnel seems to be growing.

Most importantly, I think, for your partner community and everyone watching, is that our win rate is substantially higher when we have a CCaaS solution attached to a cloud offering. We’re seeing 10 to 15 points of win rate improvement and a delta there when we’re leading with CCaaS.

I think UCaaS overall, as a cloud offering, is almost becoming commoditized in terms of its basic functionality. But a one stop shop that allows CCaaS and workflows on top of collaboration, video, et cetera, is really proving to be a difference in the market. So we’re bullish on the back half of the year, knock on wood that everything stays on its current trajectory.

Mark Morgan: Yeah. It’s interesting. I was reading, I think it was a Gartner report that came out at the of May. One of the notes in there, one of the bullet points was that they’re predicting growth potentially triple of what it was for cloud solutions pre-COVID. Pre-COVID was 15. They’re predicting 40 overall, 40 to 45%. So your numbers align with that.

With that said, what do you think? Do you have any success tips for both … With ScanSource, Intelisys, we have some pretty unique routes to market. Obviously we have the traditional telecom VARs. We also have the agent community. What are a couple of success tips that you might have to help them help their end customers make a transition from prem to cloud?

Scott Peterson: Yeah. I think it’s really important at this time that we are all consultants to our customers. There’s so much confusion and uncertainty just in the marketplace. It’s out there. But then specifically about what it means to their business, how they’ll be able to drive demand, how they’ll recover, how they’ll be more and more efficient going forward. Our ability to talk about technology as a solution and a way to optimize their workflows is really critical and can be a differentiator.

I also think it’s important if you focus your customers on the opportunity to work with a provider that has the full set of solutions. We talked about equipment. We talked about cloud offerings. We talked about CCaaS.

We’re about to launch a new homegrown video offering that we’re really excited about. It’s called MiTeam Meetings. That’ll be generally available in July. We’ve been using it internally. We’ve got several customers on it now. It is ready to go for prime time. So the comms package is coming on that, and Intelisys will be a big part of that launch in the next couple of weeks.

I think the ability to be there for your customers, help them sort through the uncertainty, but focus on really workflows and efficiency, I think now’s the time to show that.

Mark Morgan: That’s great. It’s great to hear about the video offering. You’re right. I think partners should align with the right provider that can do it all. If you think about it, ScanSource, Intelisys, we can do it all. We can do provisioning. We can shift to the end customer. We can branch dollars in if needed.

So, yeah. I think it’s, for all of us, we’re in a…I think about it this way. Unfortunately, the situation we’re in globally with this pandemic, there’s no doubt that ScanSource Intelisys is uniquely positioned, because we literally have one foot in the old world, and hardware’s not going anywhere. It’s still going to be around. But we got one in the old and one in the new. Because of that, the resources that we bring to bear for the entire partner community, I think it’s unrivaled. I think it’s not even a differentiator. It’s just unrivaled. I don’t think there’s anybody out there who can bring it.

Scott Peterson: Yeah. I think that’s right. You asked earlier about advice for your consultants or advice when people are out working with customers. One thing I’ve seen change, that we, as a collection, ScanSource, Intelisys and Mitel, can do probably unlike anyone else, is we can provide choice to the customer. We’re not trying to force-feed everybody the cloud. We’re not trying to cling to an equipment legacy. We are flexible to what the business needs, and we can provide a solution that’s integrated and works. That’s why we’re excited about where we are as a provider. We think there’s a lot of opportunity for your organization as well.

Mark Morgan: Well, cool. Now I’m going to get into the personal questions.

Scott Peterson: All right. Fair enough.

Mark Morgan: How have you managed work-life balance over the past I guess, what is it three months? How long have we been doing this? Is this the third month?

Scott Peterson: I’ve lost all track. I guess that answers the question. Well, I don’t do it well anyway. However, I’ll say this. As a father of four kids that range from almost 18 to just turned seven …

Mark Morgan: Wow.

Scott Peterson: I think it’s been remarkable for all of us as we just think about what really matters. We as a family have intentionally said, “Hey, let’s focus on what we can control. Let’s not let the anxiety of what’s out of our control or unknown overtake us. Also lock in a little bit on moments that really matter.”

One of those that came up recently is, because we’re separated and we can’t do a lot of social activities as a family, we walk and get ice cream after dinner, try and do it each night, which is why I need to run a little more. But anyway, my 15-year-old son said to me, we’re walking home, he says, “Dad, is this one of those moments?” I said, “You know what Brooks, it is one of those moments.”

Because when we’re all out on the road, or they’re doing their sports, and everything’s flying around like normal, we don’t have those opportunities. We’ve been able to do it a lot. That’s been really, really special, something that I’ll always remember fondly about this time.

Mark Morgan: Yeah. That’s perfect. Yeah. There are blessings. There are many blessings.

Scott Peterson: There are.

Mark Morgan: It’s fantastic talking to you today.

Scott Peterson: You too, Mark.

Mark Morgan: Number one, the partnership, and two the conversation and the tips, and the opportunities that Mitel’s got coming down the line. We’re definitely plugged in. There’s a lot to come from us that we’re bringing to the channel.

You got a URL or a web link to some of the resources you have, we can post it up at the end of the video and point people to it.

Scott Peterson: We do. That’s on its way to you. We’re really excited. We’ve just repositioned our work from home packaging. We think it’s very easy to digest for customers and for partners. We look forward to it. Thank you for the conversation, and thanks for your ongoing business.

Mark Morgan: Thank you as well. Have a great day.

Scott Peterson: You too, Mark. Cheers.

I just re-read Sean Acher’s second book, which talks about the great potential that we all have when we focus on what’s possible and we bring that attitude every day. I’m a big podcast listener, when I’m out and about especially. I’ve been listening to a lot of Brene Brown, which is all about vulnerability and courage, and just people working through their personal journeys. Then, yeah, it’s the Sean Achers, the Keith Ferazzis and the others who continue to help me and my team stay motivated.