Name: Nick Riggott
Role: Country sales director, UKISA, Mitel
Spirit animal: Ram
Walk-on song: Lose Yourself
How would you summarise Mitel's channel philosophy?
Mitel's channel philosophy can be summarised in three words: evolving, relevant and ambitious.
Transformation is fundamental to Mitel's future and making sure that we have consistent programmes that are relevant and strategic to our partners is a priority for us. We are a channel-first organisation that will continuously assess its strategy and structure to ensure that it supports our partners on their journey.
I've played the guitar on the same stage as Kurt Cobain. Most people probably don't know that about me
With our solutions, we aim to enable our partners to be financially, commercially and technically well placed to provide their customers with best-in-class user experience and support them wherever they are on their communications journey. This approach will be the reason why we will stay relevant to them.
Finally, we want to be ambitious. The channel hasn't changed that much and many of our traditional partners have been with us for decades. We want to make sure we don't just sit back but continue to deliver more value and help them offer their customers the UC solutions that best fit their specific business needs.
Tell us about Mitel's partner programme in 100 words or fewer…
Our partner programme is not only designed to enhance our partner capabilities but also to allow them to grow and be rewarded for a commitment to owning their customers' full communications lifecycle.
At Mitel, we are leveraging the close relationship with our partners to create a wider and stronger engagement programme that will ultimately enable our partners to deliver the best possible customer experience.
With a renewed focus on customer lifecycle management, we are working closely with our partners to build business plans around how to engage with their customers and support them in their move to the cloud or in their adoption of subscription models.
How many partners do you work with in the UK?
In the UK, we work with more than 400 partners. We manage 45 of them directly while the other partners are serviced by our distribution partners - Trust and Westcon. Our partners span from large-scale global service providers to organisations mainly focusing on small and medium-sized business offerings.
Are you looking either to expand or reduce that? If so, what partner profile does this apply to?
Yes and no - we are certainly not looking to reduce this number, but we are increasingly looking towards leveraging the capabilities of our service providers to identify the right markets and engagement opportunities. Mitel thrives on reciprocity, and we want to make sure our partners get the very best from us in terms of time, people, toolset, skills, and capability. In increasing our wallet share within our existing partner community, as opposed to adding more partners on top of our portfolio we can make sure quality wins over quantity.
Some of our partners have been working with us for over 30 years, and the longevity of our relationships is one of our main assets. By leveraging this, we can make sure to increase our value and further strengthen our partner relationship in order to conquer the diverse and exciting UK UC market of today.
Have you made any major changes to your partner programme recently, or are you about to?
Last February, we reaffirmed our vision and strategy to our partners during our annual Mitel Next event, following our partnership with RingCentral in which we provided more flexibility and choice to customers and partners looking for UCaaS solutions. Our goal is to drive a strong leadership position in today's dynamic UC market through innovation and growth of our global on-premises, hybrid, subscription, and private cloud solutions.
We recognised that one size does not fit all when it comes to meeting the business communications needs of organisations. That is why are working in close collaboration with our partners to support customers throughout their communications lifecycle and help them make the best choice for their business needs both today and in preparation for the future.
We recently made all our flagship products available on subscription models to give our partners the opportunity to provide their customers with flexible communications and collaboration services in ways that minimise up-front costs and best suit their goals.
Describe your perfect partner?
Mitel's perfect partner has a desire for more and challenges us as well as themselves. We are looking for partners that can push us and hold us to account.
Our partners are already ticking these boxes and by combining their deep knowledge of each customer's business with our technology, we can help them further strengthen the relationships with their customers and ultimately maximise revenue and grow their business.
In which areas would you most like to see your partners invest over the next 12 months?
I believe the most important area of future investment is digital expansion and inclusion. The pandemic has forced many businesses to shift to the cloud abruptly and partners must now re-position themselves to deliver at pace.
Customers will need trusted advisors to drive digital transformation across the entirety of their needs and perform an integration of services and expertise, centred around customer's increasing demand for modernisation and cloud migration.
I believe the most important area of future investment is digital expansion and inclusion. The pandemic has forced many businesses to shift to the cloud abruptly and partners must now re-position themselves to deliver at pace
How do you see vendor channel programmes and channel engagement models evolving over the next few years?
I think the main change will be driven by the shift towards customer outcomes, so channel partners will be looking for opportunities to architect a business model that is focused around solving specific business problems and use cases that the customer needs help with.
In the future these programmes and models will become focused purely around cloud and customer solutions as opposed to what is available within your go-to-market model. This will require building an end-to-end value proposition consisting of the right set of products that cross all deployment types and are completely homogenous, allowing them to serve as a single optimum solution for the end customer.
What are your priorities for the next 12 months?
Over the next year, we'll continue to focus on further reinforcing our position on the UC market, as well as improving our offering. For example, we want to answer important questions like ‘How do you take cost and complexity out of operations without compromising on quality, scale, security, reliability, and all these other vital elements?' In essence, this involves how we can aggregate the delivery of a highly viable enterprise-grade critical solution without sacrificing the partner or end-user experience, pushing Mitel to level up.
Do you feel Mitel is doing enough to cater for non-resale partners, including those that sell technology as a managed service, ISVs or agents?
Mitel's portfolio is available in any way that customers prefer to buy them: CAPEX options, subscription options, and a complete range of private, hybrid and on-premises deployment options. To complete our portfolio and address our installed base UCaaS needs, we forged a strategic partnership with the market leader in UCaaS, RingCentral, to ensure Mitel has the best end-to-end set of offerings for customers wherever they are in their communications journey.
Is direct-channel conflict ever an issue in your partner ecosystem, and if so how do you mitigate that?
No, this is rarely an issue. Our partners may well be competing against each other, but our technology and go-to-market model that works to support partners is, again, always partner-first. So, at the end of the day it's down to the partners to ensure that their value proposition is concise and clearly understood. It comes down to the partners to win the deal. We are supporting each partner the same way, so we don't have to be concerned about channel conflict.
Name one trait you prize highly in partners, and one you deplore?
We prize real partnership and innovation from our partners. We value our partners' positioning of Mitel's technology as part of their own go-to-market model as aggressively but also as innovatively as possible. In this way, if there's one trait that I prize above them all, it's true partnership. Winning together, losing together and driving accountability and innovation is key. Regarding a trait that I would deplore, this has to be dishonesty. It's difficult to work with partners who demand a great deal from us without reflecting this in terms of their own forward planning, and it shows a lack of integrity.
How do you feel Mitel's margin proposition stacks up against your peers?
We are not able to comment on other companies' margin propositions but we know that our value proposition is very strong as we have thousands of loyal partners who wouldn't have stayed with us if our offering wasn't competitive.
What's the most challenging aspect of being a channel leader?
It's the same thing that drives us every day. It's about having something that's relevant, valid, topical and innovative to bring to our partners. As I mentioned before, there is no entitlement here at Mitel. We have no divine right to anything, and we're not automatically invited to respond to every single opportunity. The market in the UK is the most vibrant, but also the most potentially volatile market globally from a UC perspective. So, the challenge is to know exactly where your market is, to know exactly the right partners we need to work with, in addition to having the right message and capability to enable those partners to be successful. We serve a range of partners across all markets in the UK, and so it's crucial that we have the courage to stand up for why we believe we're the strongest, and to encourage those partners to come along on that journey with us.
Tell us something about yourself most people won't know
I've played the guitar on the same stage as Kurt Cobain. Most people probably don't know that about me. The biggest thing is that I'm just a massive guitar person. I've played in numerous bands and supported some quite famous ones too. Outside of Mitel I'm actually a bit of a punk rocker.
What is your spirit animal?
My spirit animal would have to be a ram. Although I'm inclined to say a unicorn, my daughter would go crazy because that's her animal. I think I would be a ram, mainly down to the ram being the mascot for Derby County football team, which is my favourite team.
What would be your walk-on song, and why?
It would have to be Lose Yourself by Eminem. It really gets my blood pumping!