Mitel (Shoretel) PBX Business Phone System – Full Review

In September 2017, Mitel completed the acquisition of Shoretel. As a result Shoretel was rebranded as Mitel, and as part of the merger, some of Mitel’s products were also rebranded, some were replaced and some may eventually be discontinued. Two of the products of interest that we reviewed earlier were Shoretel Cloud Connect and Shoretel Connect Onsite, these have since been rebranded as MiCloud Connect and MiVoice Connect respectively.

MiCloud Connect

MiCloud Connect is a cloud based feature-rich unified communication and collaboration solution that contains an in-built contact center. This all-in-one communications solution increases efficiently and productively. Mitel’s focus in on ease-of-use and user mobility so it aims to deliver ease to use VoIP features and intuitive user interfaces. This enables new users to get to grips with the system quickly so users can get up to speed and interact with each other more productively.

MiVoice Connect is similar to MiCloud Connect in practically every way except that it is not cloud-based but hosted on-site at the customer’s premises.

Mitel SMB Products

Mitel’s approach is to offer SMBs a selection of deployment options to enable them the flexibility to choose the best options to match their IP PBX and UCaaS requirements. The deployment options are a Cloud deployment, or an on-site/premises solution, and there was once a hybrid option but that has now been dropped. For good measure, Mitel also offers a dedicated contact center service for SMBs wishing to host a professional quality call center.

Cloud

The difference between these products is primarily where the IP PBX is located. With the Cloud solution, Mitel hosts all the IP/PBX servers in the Google Cloud Platform and is fully responsible for providing the service, maintenance, upgrades and service optimization. This is the most common approach, as most SMBs do not have the technical experience, in-house technicians or the inclination to host their own IP PBX servers. Most SMBs prefer to concentrate their efforts, expense and investments in both time and money on their core business and not on IT and telephony services. 

On-site Solution

Not all businesses, however, wish to hand over responsibility for their vital services to a cloud service provider some do have the technical experience, the computer room facilities and in-house staff to handle these systems themselves. The MiVoice solution is such an on-site system that enables an SMB to run, administer and maintain their local on-premises IP PBX servers. Consequently, Mitel provides these companies with the software and hardware for them to host on their own IP PBX servers. The on-site solution is perfect for businesses that already support a computer room and their own on-premises servers for their other in-house applications such as CRM, Finance and Databases. However, the on-site solution also requires IP PBX and telephony knowledge in order to administer and manage the software, so it requires a bit more than just hardware management.

MiCloud Connect Vs MiVoice Connect 

Deciding on which deployment option is best for a business will be down to the individual capabilities and business goals of each company. It goes back to the old Hosted Vs On-premises argument with regards IP PBX deployment. However, with Mitel the customer at least has a choice of deployment options that most of their competitors do not offer. Furthermore, choosing between the deployment options will not affect the availability of core IP PBX features and functions, as it is the same software running the only difference is that the software is accessed via the internet or directly from a local server.

Some of those more basic VoIP features are: 

Automated Attendant

The notable features in the auto attendant group are the configurable auto attendant with legacy extension support and distinctive dial tones.

Call Management

The call management features of note are advanced call forwarding, direct inbound -dial, call queuing (call stack up to 16 calls), hunt groups and shared extensions.

Call Features

The notable call features are amongst others are call recording, web/app dialer, paging and intercom groups,  call barging and call monitoring as well as VoIP fax.

Mobile Apps

The outstanding features for mobility is the advanced call forwarding of find me/follow me which enables a call to ring a list of phones, such as a mobile, desk phone, home phone, in preconfigured sequence or simultaneously. In addition, there are other mobility features such as a Softphone, which enables any computer, laptop to become a phone extension. There is also office anywhere, which enables the system to find any extension number regardless of its location in the network. Additionally, there are join buttons to enable direct access to conference calls without codes, dual persona, which separates business and personal calls, and auto hand-over, which manages the hand-over from Wi-Fi to Cellular networks transparently to the user. One notable feature is that Mitel also has an app for the Apple watch.

Third Party Integration

Mitel has a wide array of apps and APIs for integration with third party applications such as Microsoft Outlook, Zen Desk, Saleforce, Microsoft Dynamics and many others.

Collaboration Tools

Mitel has an array of messaging, conferencing and collaboration tools. There is presence, messaging, peer-to-peer video chat, file transfer and desktop sharing. These collaboration tools are vital for holding group training, meetings and presentations for today’s mobile workforce.

As can be seen from the previous passages Mitel has a full set of features and functions that will suit most small to medium businesses. However sometimes, SMBs require a contact center for such things as Customer Care, or Technical Support and this requires features not typically included within a standard SMB IP PBX.

MiCloud Flex Contact Center

The additional features available with the Flex Contact Center are for advanced call handling and for supervisory control and management.  For example, Mitel offers advanced call routing, skill based call routing, as well as advanced ring strategies where calls are distributed on a configurable basis such as round robin, least ring, longest idle, linear or ring all. The supervisory features distinguish a call center service from a basic IP telephony service, as contact center supervisors require real time, historical and adherence reporting. There are also features for call listening, whispering and barge as well as supervisor dashboards. Flex supports all the other mobility and third party integration apps and APIs additionally it has a Flex mobility app for smartphones.

Mitel Pricing and Service Plans

Mitel has three products, MiCloud Connect, MiVoice Connect and MiCloud Flex. Unfortunately, for the review Mitel customizes their prices and services, which they tailor to the customer’s requirements via online quotes. However as a guide Mitel were pricing their service plans up to a few months ago based upon the following table:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the highlight features in MICloud Connect

Voice, Collaboration, Conferencing, CRM Integration, Contact Center features inbuilt.

Is it better to deploy MiCloud Connect or MiVoice Connect?

MiCloud is best for SMB with little in-house knowledge, MiVoice is best in enterprise where there are technical staff to run the system.

Is there a mobile app for MiCloud Connect?

Yes there is as both products are built with mobile-first design concept. The mobile app is easy to download and deploy on Android or iOS.

What handsets and devices can I use with MiCloud Connect?

You can use any standard VoIP phone with MiCloud as it is a standard end to end cloud based VoIP service. There are also mobile apps and softphones that you can connect to take your work anywhere you like.

What business application are there integrations for?

There are out-of-the-box connectors available for most popular business software such as Salesforce®, ACT!® and Microsoft Dynamics® amongst other.

Where is MiCloud hosted?

MiCloud Connect is built upon Google Cloud Platform and therefore benefits from GCP’s worldwide network and robust architecture.

Does Mitel support an SLA for MiCloud Connect?

Yes there are business critical SLAs available for MICloud Connect.

Does Mitel have disaster recovery sites available?

MiCloud Connect is built upon GCP so the disaster recovery process migrates service to a redundant data center located in a different geographic region in order to mitigate risk.

Is MiCLoud Connect easy to deploy and get running quickly?

Yes, MiCloud is easy to deploy and use as there are “Jump Start” and “Expert Start” options, on-demand support and training and VoIP phones with a built-in help button.

Conclusion

Mitel has renamed rather than replaced the original Shoretel product line as MiCloud and MiVoice Connect respectively. Both these products are basically the same in that they are feature rich IP PBX UCaaS available as either a cloud, on-site deployment, which is available in most global regions. This is in contrast to many of their competitors who limit their services to North America. Additionally, Mitel offers a service packed with innovative features that will cover the requirements of small, medium and even large company’s telephony requirements. Furthermore, if a business requires specialist contact center features there is the Flex Contact Center product, which will provide all of the advanced call handling, agent and supervisory functions and tools. Comparing Mitel to other hosted UC or IP PBX services is difficult as Mitel customize their pricing per customer’s requirements. However, simply on a feature and function basis Mitel would rank highly with the top 10 service providers.

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