Mitel's IPO - Quiet Re-Entry

Last Thursday, Mitel re-entered the public market, a move that has been coming since January. I was away that day and since getting back, I've been wondering about the relatively modest buzz around the news.

I'm not really sure what this means, but aside from a few posts and short articles saying little more than the basic news, I just haven't seen or heard much out there. Being Canadian, I have good reason to wave the flag, and if all I do here is create some new awareness of their IPO, I've done my job. I'm a long-time fan of Mitel, and the IPO is another step along the way for them to become a major player in the ever-evolving business communications space.

This isn't the place for an assessment of the IPO's financial merit, but the timing is about right. When they acquired Inter-Tel, that company actually went from being public to private. As I've written previously, the idea was to consolidate and integrate the two companies privately, where the fine tuning wouldn't be scrutinized by investors. Now that's done, and the markets are looking stronger now.

On paper, that makes sense, but their IPO happened to come out on a crowded day with many other IPOs, and that likely cut into their coverage. Price-wise, the stock listed below expectations, and is currently down a bit from its opening price of $14. These things are bound to happen with IPOs, and I wouldn't worry too much about the price right now. The intention is to pay down some debt and be liquid enough to make acquisitions and keep up with the competition, which is considerable. Mitel doesn't have a strong track record of profitability, but they're certainly viable, and should now be in a good position to generate positive earnings.

The IPO sends a message to the top tier competitors - namely Cisco and Avaya/Nortel - that they're a strong alternative for their customers, and it's another way to put some distance between themselves and the crowded space of middle/smaller players vying for this business. And then there's the cloud thing - Google, but also Microsoft. I've been writing about this a fair bit lately, and I think it's going to become a major battleground for all business communications vendors in 2010. Mitel has been moving in this direction for some time, and partnerships with VMware and Sun go a long way to keeping them competitive here. Not to mention their recent moves in mobility, especially Mitel Mobile, which looks to be pretty unique among vendors in this space.

For now, I'm going to ignore the stock price and focus more on how the IPO helps raise Mitel's profile with customers and channels as well as put a deeper stake in the ground with their competitors. There's a lot to like about this company, and if the IPO can help with the latter here, the price and profits will take care of themselves.

Mitel Mobile - Shape of Things to Come?

This posting seems fitting in the wake of Canada'a post-Olympic glow. Ottawa-based Mitel recently added an interesting twist to their expanding portfolio of advanced communications offerings.

Just when you thought the UC umbrella was wide enough, they launched Mitel Mobile in late January. I've written about this before, and when vendors start competing with carriers, you know the status quo is a thing of the past.

I'm just adding another perspective in the form of my latest Service Provider Views column on TMCnet. It's based on an interview with Laith Zalzalah of Mitel NetSolutions, and you can read about it here. I'm sure I won't be alone in tracking their progress, and it will be interesting to see if this is a one-off variation, or a new model for other vendors to emulate.

UC Strategies Podcast - Cloud Computing

This week's UC Strategies podcast was on a topic I'm quite keen on - cloud computing. We had the usual mix of UC analysts/experts/pundits, and a pretty lively discussion about the opportunities around UC, what it means for the telecom vendors, the software players, and the VARs/channels. We also (myself included) talked about what Mitel is doing in particular with the cloud, especially since a few of us got a detailed upate at their recent analyst event.

The podcast is running now on the UC Strategies portal, and you can download it any time. As always, comments are welcome, as are suggestions for topics you'd like to see us cover in future podcasts. We do these weekly, although I'll miss next week's call as I'll be in transit to LA for the IT Expo.

Mitel SIP Trunking White Paper Published

Exactly a month ago, I presented my take on SIP Trunking for a Discovery Series webinar sponsored by Mitel. Anyone following this space knows how popular SIP Trunking has become, and with over 1,000 registrations, this webinar confirmed it.

If you missed the webinar, there's an archived version available for 90 days on Mitel's website - you just need to register and you'll have access to the replay. You can get all the details on my last blog post about the webinar.

The news I have to share today is about a White Paper that I wrote as a companion piece to the webinar. It's now been published, and as with the webinar replay, you can download the paper by registering for it at Mitel's site.

June Media Roundup

This is the first month in a very long time I wasn't cited in any articles. I spoke with the media a few times, but these ended up being for longer features which won't run until July or later. On the other hand, I was busier than ever producing original content in June, and on the whole I feel it was a pretty productive month in terms of keeping my profile out there and contributing my ideas to the industry.

I'll start with the most visible activity - my SIP Trunking webinar with Mitel. That took place on Tuesday, and just over 1,000 people registered. If you missed it, the archived version will be ready any day now, and will be accessible for 90 days. All registrants will receive a copy of the slides from Mitel, along with a companion white paper that I'm wrapping up just now.

- SIP Trunking - More Than Just Cost Savings

Next - TechTarget. I'm a regular contributor to their Ask The Expert feature, and they recently engaged me for some more extensive work. The outputs were published in late June, consisting of a white paper and a podcast. To access these you need to register on their site, but this just takes a minute.

- eGuide/white paper: Connecting and Leveraging VoIP Islands

- podcast: The Benefits of VoIP Islands

My regular bi-monthly Service Provider Views columns ran on TMCnet:

- Q&A with Telanetix - Why Hosted Services are Gaining Adoption

- What Service Providers and Auto Makers Can Learn From Each Other

June also marked my debut column on The Mark - Canada's answer to the Huffington Post:

- On the Future of the Automobile (and Telecom, Too)

Finally, I was cited in a press release about an Advisory role I've taken on with a U.K. consultancy, MeDe8 Group Ltd. You'll be hearing and seeing more about this over the next few months.