On October 21, Mitel (News - Alert) announced the general availability of its Mitel 3000 communications system for growth-minded small businesses in Canada. Designed with residences and small offices in mind, the 3000 aims to provide them with advanced features such as conferencing, centralized voicemail, and an automated attendant for routing incoming calls. In short, all the features that make a small business appear much larger to their customers and to the outside world in general.
The Mitel 3000 communications system can accommodate up to 52 employees as well as analog devices, including credit card terminals and fax machines.
I had the opportunity to ask Rick Dell (News - Alert), President of Sales at Mitel US, a few questions about the 3000 and about how his firm is targeting the small business market.
GG: Mitel has always focused on enterprises of all sizes. How is the company addressing the smallest range of businesses, those with say 30 users or less?
RD: Mitel’s approach to serving the small business market is based upon our belief that while a small business might not have the same financial resources or in-house technical expertise as an enterprise, these organizations are as sophisticated, process-oriented and competitive as our larger customers. So our philosophy for serving this market is unique in the marketplace. We’re not trying to position a watered-down version of an enterprise-scaled platform as an SMB solution. Instead, we’ve developed compelling solutions to address the specific demands of the small business. At the centerpiece of this strategy is the Mitel 3000, a fully reliable, yet user-friendly solution that delivers a powerful feature set to small organizations. The Mitel 3000 supports both Voice over IP and legacy transport, and is created to serve the evolving needs of smaller customers that rely on communications to help increase revenue, streamline operations, enhance customer service, and control costs. We’ve worked hard to ensure the Mitel 3000 gives small businesses the same competitive advantage that our larger platforms give our other customers.
GG: You recently updated the Mitel 3000, releasing version 6. What are some of the new features and how do those benefit small businesses?
RD: We’ve included a number of features that are particularly useful to smaller businesses. For instance, the Mitel 3000 version 6 now has SIP trunking capabilities, which allows users to significantly reduce both local and long-distance expenses. In addition, customers will find a number of unified communications features in this latest version, including unified messaging and a click-to-dial feature. We’ve also added a softphone to the system, giving users the option to initiate calls right from their laptop or desktop computers.
GG: Does the solution still offer the flexibility of allowing users to utilize analog devices such as fax machines, point of sale devices, and such?
RD: Absolutely. We understand that the majority of small businesses use a variety of communication tools within their businesses, and that’s why we’ve worked hard to ensure that the latest version of the Mitel 3000 continues to be an efficient solution for our customers. Even though the system has the ability to transport Voice over an IP network, it will still support analog devices, like a fax machine or a credit card terminal. It’s very important to give customers the freedom to choose the technology that makes the most sense for their needs, rather to try and box them into a single technology.
GG: Does Mitel offer users of previous versions a migration path to take advantage of the new features?
RD: We’ve made migrating from previous versions of the Mitel 3000 (formerly known as the EncoreCX and Inter-Tel (News - Alert) 3000) to version 6 a rather straightforward process. There are some simple software and add-on modules required, but after that, the customer is home free. Customers can even take their existing Mitel 3000 handsets, and immediately plug them into version 6 without any problems. Mitel has always been a staunch advocate for obsolescence protection and ‘migratability.’ That philosophy continues with the Mitel 3000 version 6.
GG: How is Mitel bringing this product to market?
RD: Depending on geography, Mitel has enacted a number of channel strategies to bring the Mitel 3000 to the marketplace. In the United States, we’ve built a comprehensive dealer network to resell the system. The channel partners include traditional telecommunications dealers, but we’ve also enlisted the participation of a number of other dealers who are familiar with serving small business needs. These include security and alarm companies, PC and networking dealers—even property managers and builders. Each of our partners appreciates the fact that the Mitel 3000 is extremely easy to sell and configure. It requires no technical certification to install the system. As a result, we’ve been very pleased with the quality and quantity of the resellers we’ve been able to recruit.
Greg Galitzine is editorial director for TMC’s (News - Alert) IP Communications suite of products, including TMCnet.com. To read more of Greg’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Greg Galitzine