Recently, Mitel introduced MiCloud Office, a new unified communications as-a-service (UCaaS) offering available in the U.S. and UK markets now, with Germany and France to follow in the third quarter of 2016. The cloud-based service is generally aimed at smaller businesses and touts functionality for today’s mobile work style in which knowledge workers are often spread among different locations, working remotely from a home office or frequently on the road. Key to the new UCaaS offer are two mobile-focused applications: the new MiTeam virtual workspace where team members (inside or outside of a company) can collaborate and manage projects from a smartphone or tablet, and MiCloud Analytics for monitoring call activity and viewing call metrics from anywhere via a mobile device.
MiCloud Office is derived out of hosted UC technology from the Swedish company Telepo that was acquired by Aastra just before Aastra consolidated with Mitel in 2014. Mitel describes the solution as “born and hardened in the Nordics” where mobile devices are typically the only devices used in business. Additionally, MiCloud Office was built specifically for the cloud environment with a multi-tenant (shared) approach whereby multiple customers use a single instance of an application on a common hardware platform, each separated by a different database or data-source. By contrast, Mitel’s earlier MiCloud Business and MiCloud Enterprise cloud offers are based on the company’s flagship MiVoice Business software (formerly known as Mitel Communications Director) and use a multi-instance approach where each customer has a separate application instance (separate virtual machine) on the hosted server. Both approaches are considered secure.
When asked about positioning of the new MiCloud Office versus the earlier MiCloud Business and MiCloud Enterprise, the company explains that it really depends on a customer’s needs. As noted, MiCloud Office ideally suits multi-site businesses with workforces that are highly mobile (hence, the access to Mitel’s new mobile-centric applications: MiTeam virtual workspace and MiCloud Analytics). The earlier MiCloud Business and Enterprise services are a good fit for organizations that have more sophisticated UC and contact center needs since these cloud offers support Mitel’s MiCollab UC application and Mitel’s full contact center and call recording portfolio. Additionally, the common MiVoice Business software for both cloud and premises deployments means that MiCloud Business and Enterprise services can be part of a hybrid configuration with portions of the solution implemented on-premises, and other portions deployed in the cloud. This will be important to customers with existing Mitel MiVoice Business (MCD) investments that may want to flexibly network a mix of premises-based and cloud-based solutions across geographically dispersed locations (more on the many benefits of hybrid cloud here).
MiCloud Office Highlights
- Targets SMBs (1-500 users)
- Available in U.S. and UK (GA April 4, 2016); Germany and France (3Q 2016)
- Hosted in Mitel data centers; sold directly by Mitel or through Mitel dealers
- Based on technology from Telepo, with Mitel enhancements (MiTeam, MiCloud Analytics)
- Seat Types:
- Essential ($19.99/user/month) supports one connected device and popular telephony features, including voicemail with email forwarding.
- Premier ($24.99/user/month) adds support for two connected devices, plus MiTeam collaboration, a mobile/desktop client and softphone and unlimited long distance calling.
- Elite ($29.99/user/month) builds on Premier and Essentials; also enables four connected devices, Microsoft Exchange integration, a unified inbox and CRM integration.
The MiCloud Office UK offering differs slightly in user packages and capabilities; however, these offers are expected to align in the very near future.
Mitel is covering all bases with a MiCloud portfolio that comes in multiple flavors to address the needs and requirements of any size business, small to large. There are offers for customers seeking a cloud communications solution (MiCloud Office, MiCloud Business and MiCloud Enterprise) and for partners and Service Providers that are looking to resell Mitel cloud-based services (MiCloud Enterprise UCaaS, MiCloud Business for Service Providers and MiCloud Telepo). Each of the MiCloud offers now has the same seat types (Essentials, Premier and Elite), simplifying the options for customers and resellers from as many as seven different seat types in the earlier offers. Perhaps more streamlining will occur in coming months? Stay tuned.