5i Launches Managed Unified Communications Services

Reading based 5i, experts in advanced Unified Communications (UC) and Comms Business Magazine 2007 Training Award Winner, is further increasing its value to the UK reseller community with the announcement of its Managed UC Service, UNIFY.

Within 5i’s unique partner-only business model, the new service draws on 5i’s UC expertise to complement reseller and service provider capabilities in providing end-to-end managed services, in order to take full advantage of a market predicted to reach over £4bn by 2010.

”As organisations strive to increase efficiency, streamline operations and simultaneously lower costs, managed IT services are becoming a more popular means of maximising internal resource and focussing on core competencies,” explains Peter Howells, MD of 5i. “Resellers taking advantage of this opportunity will likely need a change of mindset and a plethora of additional resources, such as hiring and training new staff or building a NOC, that is both costly and high-risk.

“Many are waiting tentatively to enter the UC market, whilst others – already offering some service elements – are still lacking the capabilities to provide the full end-to-end solution portfolio that customers demand. UNIFY supports all levels of managed service requirements with the processes and tools already in place to secure rapid returns and generate new revenue streams through a proven services business model.”

Providing tools such as remote monitoring, diagnostics and repair UNIFY is designed to further expand upon a partner’s role as trusted IT advisor, complementing existing skills sets, providing totally new areas of expertise where necessary. UNIFY offers a knowledge-base and solution-set that spans all areas of Unified Communications, enabling resellers to address the market as both the competitive landscape and customer demands change.

Keith Humphreys, managing consultant at leading market analysis firm euroLAN comments, “Unified Communications is a major market opportunity which requires a specific skill set for consultancy and implementation. To capitalise fully on each customer opportunity, and generate significant reoccurring managed services revenues, resellers should seriously consider the value of partnering with non-competing third parties that have already made the investments in support infrastructure and know the technology inside-out. “

5i already provides a mix of services that address the complete lifecycle of business communications – Planning, Design, Implement, Operate, Optimisation – UNIFY extends this capability with a menu of support options ranging from telephone support to a fully managed communications service.

Central Network Technologies (CNT) has worked with 5i for a number of years, Jo Bury, Director at CNT comments, “The new UNIFY service offering allows us to offer a complete solution to our customers and fully complement our managed support services for server, desktop and applications. We see the demand for managed services increasing rapidly with our existing customer base and is quickly becoming a key differentiator for new business opportunities.”