At Mitel, kaizen proves key to streamlining business processes

Mitel CIO Jamshid Rezaei turned to the Japanese practice of kaizen prizing continuous improvement over wholesale change. Up next: leveraging AI, IoT as the future of cloud-based communications.

In 2014, Jamshid Rezaei inherited a sprawling IT structure when he became CIO of Mitel Networks, which had acquired rivals and complementary concerns in pursuit of a strategy for providing unified communications systems (UCS) via the cloud.

Mitel’s 3,500 workers, many of whom joined from acquisitions such as Aastra Technologies, Shoretel Networks and Toshiba’s unified communications business, worked with an assortment of 18 ERP systems, 12 CRM systems, 5 HR systems and other duplicate software.

To operate efficiently, Rezaei recognized that consolidation was in order. But every business unit wanted to continue using their own processes and technology tools. "Everybody wanted to do what they'd been doing," Rezaei tells But Rezaei, who joined the company in its 2014 acquisition of Aastra, knew this approach was a non-starter because of the IT sprawl it would create.

The fattened and freighted Mitel required a lean makeover. Here’s how Rezaei helmed it.

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