Mitel and Talkdesk plan to release an integrated cloud-based unified communications and contact center product by year's end -- a partnership that underscores that businesses are increasingly looking to purchase UC and contact center from a single vendor.
Cooperation between the two companies begins this month: Mitel will offer Talkdesk's cloud contact center, under the brand MiCloud Connect CX, to businesses using Mitel's cloud UC. The companies' products remain separate, but the arraignment will give customers one vendor for billing and support.
This summer, Mitel will start offering MiCloud Connect CX as an over-the-top addition to premises-based UC systems, on which the vast majority of Mitel's 70 million users rely. The partnership will give Talkdesk, founded in 2011, access to one of the UC industry's largest bases of existing customers.
Mitel and Talkdesk are working to integrate their cloud UC and contact center platforms by the end of the fourth quarter of 2019. The UC and contact center clients would share telephony systems, rely on the same directory, sync user presence, and offer a single team messaging client.
"Essentially, it will look and feel as if we built the whole thing in-house, but instead of doing that we've done an integration with Talkdesk," said Matthew Clare, director of contact center products at Mitel.
An integrated product will give Mitel a leg up on cloud UC competitors like RingCentral and Fuze. Those companies have partnerships to resell cloud contact centers, but they don't offer native integrations of the kind Mitel is pursuing, said Zeus Kerravala, founder of ZK Research, based in Westminster, Mass.
Mitel to streamline contact center portfolio
The deal with Talkdesk is an about-face for Mitel, which launched a similar partnership with contact center vendor Serenova in August. Mitel will continue to support customers who purchased that product, MiCloud Engage Contact Center, but will no longer market it to new customers.
Mitel succeeded in selling the Serenova platform mostly to large businesses, Clare said. The company chose Talkdesk for its ability to support businesses of all sizes, and for its platform's openness to third-party app developers.
"We did find with the previous [cloud contact center] in the portfolio that we were walking away from deals and leaving money on the table based on the breadth of capabilities," Clare said.
Mitel owns a hodgepodge of contact center products gained through its merger with Aastra and its acquisitions of Toshiba and ShoreTel. The partnership with Talkdesk will simplify Mitel's contact center portfolio as it moves customers to the cloud.
"If this partnership goes well, it wouldn't be out of the realm to think that Mitel is seeing [Talkdesk] as an acquisition target," said Jon Arnold, principal of Toronto-based J Arnold & Associates.