There has been some major news this week in the unified communications (UC) space. Earlier this year, Mitel entered into exclusive talks with Atos to acquire Unify and this week, that deal came to a close. This brings two major UC providers together, making it the second-largest UC company in the world, and it could bring new opportunities to businesses in nearly every corner of this planet. I had the chance to engage with the company’s CEO, Tarun Loomba, and he was strongly reiterating the importance of this moment as a transformative milestone for the company and the industry. Furthermore, noting the geographic expansion and the portfolio diversification. Let’s dig into this deal and how it is set to shape the collaboration and Unified communications space.
What is UC and Why is it Important?
In an age when both the public and tech analysts are obsessed with all the cool things AI can do, we can sometimes forget that we need companies willing to do the dirty work of keeping the enterprise rolling. Some of that work–unified communications (UC)—is what literally every enterprise today is working to build. The overall goal of UC is to improve efficiency and performance by making communication and collaboration more seamless throughout the enterprise. This includes things like:
- Moving comms infrastructures to the cloud
- Integrating collaboration tools–something essential with work-from-home employees–to a pre-existing infrastructure
- Adding automation and self-service to contact centers to improve both customer and employee experience
- Creating more seamless desktop and wireless phone integration, even across branches or home offices
- Integrating Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs seamlessly and efficiently into the enterprise comms system
And, at the end of the day, UC also means keeping all of these communications secure and reliable. With global expansion, work-from-home expansion, and the further development of AI, it’s all necessary, for every company in the world. In fact, the UC market is now valued at more than $113 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow another 17+% by 2030.
The Mitel-Unify Acquisition: What Do We Need to Know?
As I said, it was announced back in January that Mitel was planning to acquire Unify from its French parent Atos. The news now is that in having successfully acquired Unify, Mitel has secured the number two position (global market share) in a crowded enterprise unified communications (UC) field, along with household names like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Ring Center MVP and Vonage. Thanks to the Unify partnership, Mitel now has 75 million users in 100 countries, along with 5,500 service providers, resellers, and other strategic partners.
The bump to Mitel might come as a surprise to many in the United States who may not be familiar with the company. The company, thanks to the acquisition of Unify, is now in the number one position in Europe, the Middle East and Africa region, and 10 other countries. It will also grow Mitel’s position in multi-cell Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecom (DECT).
Mitel will benefit from things like Unify’s voice platform, collab and contact center tools, and other intellectual property. That’s a lot of words to say the partnership will help Mitel add value to its customers and–hopefully–drive more growth for itself. It’s expected that verticals like healthcare, hospitality, financial services, and the public sector will get a bump due to the combined company’s new capabilities. While not all details are clear right now, it was announced that Mitel expects to share more details on its future portfolio offerings in 2024
And, Unify brings lots of experience helping mega enterprises digitally transform their communications–something Mitel has focused on more with mid-sized businesses.
The Mitel-Unify Acquisition: Why This is Crucial Today.
This Mitel-Unify acquisition truly is one of the more exciting announcements today, for a few reasons. First, it shows that the future of the enterprise is all about collaboration. Yes, businesses are re-opening. Yes, many people are returning to the traditional office environment. But when we think about the future, we need to envision a physically disparate workforce. AI and technology are part of mending those divisions, but UC is what ultimately brings employees and customers together.
Second, especially for Mitel, it’s clear that the road to tech growth is global. Mitel grew its capabilities, partners, and customer base astronomically with the Unify acquisition, and there is no other way it could have done it. Technology today is not a national commodity. It needs to move past international borders, and Mitel is showing that with UC, seamless communications is indeed possible.
Lastly, one of the most interesting aspects of Mitel’s growth is the importance of UC security. If you’ve been watching the new season of The Morning Show, you know just how many layers of a business are impacted when communication systems are hacked. That’s because communications in the enterprise is not just about business data. It’s about value. It’s about personal information and relationships. It’s about all of the things being shared over the phone, email, and network. Mitel’s commitment to not just compliance but survivability–the ability to stay operational even in adverse scenarios–is huge for today’s enterprise. It’s not just aspirational. It’s something every enterprise needs as we move toward a future governed largely (and however haphazardly) by AI.
Of course, no deal is without risk, so we will be watching how this all comes together. Specifically, as Mitel pulls this portfolio of UC and contact center into its offering of products and services, the market will want to see the company optimizing operations, refining product offerings, and ensuring an uninterrupted experience for their collective clientele. In addition, aligning their historically channel-centric go-to-market strategies will be pivotal. [CD1]
Collaboration. Global connection. Communication security and survivability–without these things, none of our businesses will make it to see the next-next gen of AI. That’s why Mitel-Unify is likely the first of many acquisitions and partnerships we’ll see as other UC leaders make the same realization.