In this two-part series, I’ll be taking a look at the opportunity for telephony resellers to offer a broader range of solutions to their customers and the best ways to tackle this challenge.
It’s well documented that communications technology has evolved significantly in the last decade. IP telephony and unified communications now provide a cost-effective and far more efficient alternative to traditional PBX phone systems. A report from Transparency Market Research forecast continued growth for unified communications at a CAGR of 15.7% for 2012 to 2018 – demonstrating the demand for such solutions.
To fully take advantage of VoIP and unified communications, most businesses look to work with partners to manage the installation, implementation, deployment and maintenance – drawing on their technical expertise and familiarity with the solutions they provide. However, supporting software-based communications can present a range of challenges for specialist resellers.
Traditional PBX resellers often do not have a detailed understanding of IP networks and how they can be used to gain access to an IP enabled PBX, or more importantly route VoIP calls through it. They are also unlikely to have sufficient knowledge of the infrastructure required to provide these services. Of course, by partnering closely with relevant vendors, resellers can gather expertise quickly, but this often comes at the cost of a reseller’s flexibility to provide a full range of customised solutions and means they can no longer remain completely vendor agnostic.
The broader challenge for any telephony reseller is that the IT requirements of companies big and small goes far beyond phone systems. Therefore, for telephony resellers, even those offering unified communications solutions, there is a big challenge in being able to demonstrate understanding of this bigger picture that all modern businesses are facing.
The opportunity for telephony resellers
That said, in my own experience, I’ve found that if a customer can find a trusted IT partner they actually prefer to keep their entire service under one roof. As well as being more practical from the point of view of the IT manager to have one port of call for all the IT systems in their jurisdiction, dealing with a single company often leads to developing a more sophisticated partnership.
So as a result there remains a real opportunity for telephony resellers to take advantage of the growing demand for VoIP and unified communications. To do this, telephony resellers need to broaden their portfolios. Fundamentally this means adding broader IT infrastructure capabilities to their offerings to increase their ability to respond to any customer demand. This is where resellers have an inherent advantage over vendors with their ability to offer appropriate solutions without compromising on cost or quality based on the best possible combination of technologies from multiple vendors for any given situation.
To give an example of the opportunity for telephony resellers, a business may have only invested in a new PBX system fairly recently and be reluctant to rip and replace. At the same time, the running costs and maintenance of traditional PBX systems are a drain on IT budgets and do not support nearly as many of the communications facilities in modern IP enabled suites.
However, SIP trunking can provide an alternative method of connecting a business’s PBX system to the public telephone network (PSTN) – using a data connection to connect to a SIP service provider instead of using ISDN technology. So a telephony reseller can help protect the investment on the current PBX system but also provide the service benefits of an IP enabled system.
Of course that is dependent on the reseller having the technology portfolio to support the roll out of a SIP trunk. In my next blog, I will discuss the benefits for telephony resellers of partnering with a data centre company to take advantage of the opportunities outlined above. I will also address the challenges of finding the right partner for you.