In November 2021, Mitel shocked many people when it announced its partnership with one of its close competitors, RingCentral. As part of the strategic partnership, RingCentral became Mitel’s exclusive UCaaS partner, encouraging Mitel’s users to move away from Mitel to RingCentral.
The partnership aims to nudge/push Mitel customers that want a cloud offering to RingCentral’s MVP (Message, Voice, Phone) solution. In the current hybrid working environment, Mitel recognised that its clients needed an all-in-one, cloud-native communications solution and that RingCentral ticked that box where Mitel’s product set did not.
As a result, Mitel has shifted its focus on its core competency – unified communications. Specifically, UC that is not delivered via the cloud and thus, is ‘on-site’.
This strategic partnership differs from previous telecoms partnerships as Mitel is handing RingCentral their clients that want to move to the cloud.
As a Mitel customer, you might feel like you don’t have a say in the future of your business communications, but we’re here to say you do! We’re writing this article to inform you that RingCentral is an option, BUT it certainly isn’t the only one.
We’ll also cover several burning questions our Mitel clients are asking us. Questions such as:
– When is our Mitel system going to be end of life?
– What next for our Mitel system?
– Can I keep my existing Mitel handsets?
– Am I being forced to move to RingCentral MVP?
– Can I continue to use my existing Mitel phone system?
– What are my cloud options?
– What are the benefits of moving to the cloud?
– What is your process for moving to the cloud?
When is our Mitel system going to be end of life?
Mitel is sunsetting MiVoice Connect by the end of 2029. This means it will no longer support MiVoice Connect after this date.
Mitel put an end of sale on many of its cloud products in June 2022. These included MiCloud Connect, Teamwork, MiCloud Contact Centre and MiCloud Flex. It’s unclear when support for these products will end.
Fewer partners are supporting ShoreTel or Mitel products. If you want to speak with us about your support options, contact us.
What next for my Mitel system?
The main takeaway is that even though you can move from Mitel to RingCentral’s MVP right now, it doesn’t mean you have to immediately!
Rushing the process can be detrimental to your future communication plans. There are several factors to consider when moving to the cloud and stakeholders to consult.
As mentioned, the end of life will be 2029 for MiVoice Connect, with other ShoreTel/Mitel products yet to be announced but rumoured to be the same date.
With this in mind, you may want to “sweat your asset” and choose a provider that can support your system until you are ready to move or begin to consider alternative cloud providers such as 8×8, Microsoft Teams or RingCentral. More on that later.
Can I keep my Mitel handsets?
Currently, only the 6900 series devices are compatible with RingCentral MVP. For a limited time, Mitel is offering to swap existing phones for a certified 6900 model or replace it with a compatible RingCentral MVP phone (T&Cs apply).
If you are moving to an alternative cloud provider or have different ShoreTel/Mitel handsets, we can work with you to recycle them and/or arrange a trade-in against new end-user devices. Those could be desk phones, speakerphones or personal headsets amongst other things, making sure you can get the user devices that are right for the modern world, not just replace desk phones with more desk phones.
You may also want to switch your handsets for a soft phone option for desktop or laptop. Alternatively, users can place a business phone app on their devices to allow them to take calls anywhere with an internet connection.
Am I being forced to move to RingCentral MVP?
In short, no. You’re not being forced to migrate to RingCentral MVP. However, you may be “nudged” via offers and migration terms and a great deal of proactive marketing and slightly over-aggressive sales tactics.
We’re here to say you have options and consider these before deciding.
Scroll to find out more.
Can I continue to use my existing Mitel phone system?
Yes, you don’t need to switch immediately to a cloud-based phone system.
It appears that most ShoreTel/Mitel products on their end-of-life list will cease support at the end of 2029. This means that you do have plenty of time, despite what some providers will tell you about Mitel and/or the BT ISDN switch off.
Sometimes you wish to keep things as they are. Our expert technical services team are experienced in supporting Mitel phone systems. If you’re not happy with your current supplier or want a renewal quote get in contact with our team.
A time will come when you’re considering your cloud options, and we will be on hand to provide you with a face-to-face Discovery Session to guide you through your options.
What are my cloud communication options?
The core message of this blog is to say that you have options at your disposal. RingCentral isn’t the only option available, as much as Mitel would like you to think so. Below we’ll go through some other options that Blackstar can offer. Essentially, we are here to consult with you on the right way forward for your business, rather than trying to promote one vendor above another, regardless of your requirements.
We have 3 main options for you, each with their pros and cons as you would expect. It is for us to understand your requirements and strategy and then work with you to understand what options are right for you.
All three options below are in the Leaders category of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS. You can rest assured that the cloud options we recommend are leaders in their field.
8×8 offers a variety of cloud-based solutions that may better suit your business needs. 8×8 brings customer and employee experience together with voice, video, chat, contact centre, and APIs on one cloud-native platform.
The 8×8 eXperience Communications Platform empowers enterprises with modern communication experiences, eliminates organisational silos, boosts employee productivity, delights customers, and unifies data to reveal deeper insights for smarter decisions and a more agile business.
With a single integration framework that connects with productivity tools like Microsoft Teams®, customer relationship and service management apps, you can save implementation time and maintenance pounds.
We’re an 8×8 certified partner and can assist you in migrating to 8×8. Read about how we moved Opus Talent Solutions, a global specialist recruitment company, move away from Mitel to 8×8.
Microsoft Teams Phone
Microsoft Teams Phone is an add-on that allows you to make and receive voice and video calls directly in Teams.
External calling in Teams is achieved in two possible ways, direct routing (our preferred method) or Calling Plans. Find out more about the difference between the two in this blog post.
The vast majority of standard phone system features are included in Teams (hunt groups, auto attendants, voicemail and the like), but Blackstar’s unique approach to Teams deployments adds high-end functionality such as contact centre, call recording, advanced analytics and wallboards as well as a complete DR plan for every phone number (DDI) that you have.
Blackstar has been provisioning and supporting Teams Phone from the beginning and is in an experienced position to move you to Teams Phone.
Mitel’s preferred route to the cloud is RingCentral’s MVP. MVP™ (Message, Video, Phone) is an industry-leading platform for cloud communications, empowering organisations to streamline internal collaboration and better connect with their customers.
With integrated instant messaging, video conferencing, and cloud PBX, RingCentral MVP offers a unified, collaborative hub for team messaging, video meetings, and telephony.
RingCentral also integrates with Microsoft Teams for robust, enterprise-grade communications and collaboration.
If RingCentral is your preferred choice, we can help you make the migration to their MVP platform.
Blackstar is a RingCentral partner and can help you transition to RingCentral. If you’re a current Mitel user and want to benefit from offers to move to RingCentral, such as MVP, for three months at no cost, then get in touch with us.
What are the benefits of a cloud phone system?
We’ve outlined some benefits if you still need convincing about moving to the cloud.
With a traditional phone system, adding users can involve a considerable expense and take longer than you need. New lines may need to be run, and new hardware purchased.
This is not the case with a cloud phone system; the process is much easier and can take hours (sometimes even minutes) rather than days.
Work from anywhere, very easily!
Hybrid working isn’t going anywhere soon. Employees are demanding to spend time working from home or need to work on the road. Often extra software is required to make on-premise phone systems to allow remote working, such as an Edge Gateway. Also, the apps are clunky and don’t provide the best user experience.
With most cloud communication providers (8×8, RingCentral and Teams do), remote working communication and collaboration tools are included as standard. Voice, chat, video, file sharing, and more are in one place for feature-rich collaboration. All that is required is an internet connection.
No complicated infrastructure
We don’t need to tell you that a traditional on-premise enterprise communications infrastructure is complicated. Large PBX deployments, including contact centres, require an array of on-premises or hosted equipment with border gateways and very specialised skills-sets to maintain the environment and the cost of this.
On the other hand, a cloud solution offers rapid deployment with excellent performance, irrespective of the device, mode of connection or user’s location.
There is also zero on-site hardware required and the need to maintain it either in-house or with the use of a partner.
Features and integrations
Unlike hardwired PBX systems, cloud systems roll out updates the moment they’re released, meaning that users always have the latest features. They’re packed full of features out of the box or features that can be added with the click of a button.
A cloud-based phone system allows you to integrate with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. They can also integrate with other software programs such as Freshdesk, Zoho, Hubspot, Slack, Bullhorn, Google Workspace and many more.
Many major cloud communication providers also integrate with Microsoft Teams for enterprise-grade collaboration.
Our 8-step Move to the Cloud process
Below is a step-by-step breakdown of our process for moving organisations to the cloud. We’ve used and refined this process many times over the years and used our experience to make the transition to the cloud a smooth one.
Step 1 – Discover: To begin the process, the Blackstar team will partner with your organisation to map out users and their different use cases. We realise your business is unique, so we take a personalised approach to your upgrade. Our mantra is Listen, Innovate, Deliver. You can start this process today by booking your free Cloud Discovery Session.
Step 2 – Recommendation: Next, we’ll recommend appropriate packages to suit your needs. You have options! Choose between 8×8, Microsoft Teams or RingCentral. With 8×8 and RingCentral integrating with Teams, you can even mix-and-match depending on what features different team members need.
Step 3 – Determine Roll-Out Strategy: You don’t have to move in one big bang! Go site-by-site, or department-by-department. We can do all sorts of things to facilitate a phased migration, like forwarding numbers from your Mitel, or creating dial plans in your Session Border Controller that send calls to certain numbers to the Mitel and others to a different system.
Step 4 – Contact Centre Deep Dive: We also realise your Mitel investment may span beyond telephony. To begin shifting your contact centre, we’ll start with an initial chat baselining your business objectives and current performance. A discovery session could involve a member of the Blackstar team spending time with your contact centre agents to see how they use the current system, documenting what works well and any pain points.
Step 5 – Design Sign-Off: During deployment, a designated Blackstar project manager will support you every step of the way. It’s our priority to ensure your organisation maximises its return on the migration project.
Step 6 – Configuration and Testing: Once audio devices are deployed, we’ll test and validate all call flows and ensure everything is operating as it should. Designs aren’t written in stone – with web-based admin portals, changes can be made easily if it becomes clear something isn’t working as well as planned.
Step 7 – Go Live and Verification: In the lead-up to go-live, we’ll train as many or as few staff as you need. Our in-house trainer can come to site or offer online sessions to end users and system admins. We can be on site for go-live day too, ensuring things run smoothly and answering any first-day type questions.
Step 8 – Transition to Support: Once these steps are complete, your new system will be ready for production, allowing you to leave your worry behind as you retire your legacy Mitel infrastructure. You’ll be in the hands of our support team who are available to assist 24/7 (out of hours charges may apply).
The partnership between Mitel and RingCentral and end-of-life announcements have left Mitel clients considering their future options.
We hope that after reading this, we’ve provided you with cloud-based phone solutions to consider. However, if you’re not ready to move to the cloud and want to keep your existing ShoreTel/Mitel phone system, we can provide you with a support quote.
Blackstar has experienced consultants that can meet with you to discuss your next steps. Simply leave your details in the contact form below.
Want to book a free Cloud Discover Session or want to discuss your Mitel options? Fill out your details and we’ll contact you.