Phil Purssey, Sales Director for the Indirect Channel at BT Business says the big focus for this year has been convergence and this is the reason behind two new PBX additions to the BT product portfolio.
“The communications industry is changing rapidly and as customer demands shift, service providers have come under significant pressure to evolve their businesses capabilities. One of the big questions is how successfully the industry is weathering these changes and no doubt this will be a big topic of conversation at the Convergence Summit.
For us, the priority is to support our channel partners as they try and make the transition to a converged world. Certainly the market no longer looks like it did two years ago.
Meeting the demand for convergence is transporting progressive traditional voice dealers into the network space, opening up a raft of new revenue opportunities in areas like storage and video conferencing. At the same time, we are seeing data specialists add voice to their growing repertoire of high value applications.
The opportunities presented by convergence are not restricted to either ‘camp’, but they do require resellers to evolve their business model. We are seeing very traditional voice players make a fantastic go of convergence – but only because they are investing time and financial resource in adapting their business and skill-set. Networking specialists may see convergence as more of a natural fit, but they too need to make the investment if they are to sell convergence as a business and not just a technology solution.
BT really has two roles to play in supporting this market. The first is to get the right products and services out there to enable partners to build effective converged solutions. The second is to provide strong sales, marketing and service support, which will help them to deliver these solutions to customers.
We have made a key addition to our proposition portfolio which we believe will help partners to crack convergence. The introduction of a new range of switch products based on Nortel BCM and Lake Versatility products is designed to meet demand in the small and medium enterprise space.
These switches can be integrated with LAN and IP Telephony solutions and will enable partners to extend their convergence proposition and market reach.
This new range builds on existing solutions such as IP Converge which was launched last year. Since Christmas, sales of this service through the indirect channel have quadrupled and partners are reporting encouraging levels of demand.
As well as dedicated channel propositions, there is also a need for us to provide good advice and market intelligence to partners. Alongside specialist support on bids which we introduced as part of our “Think Big” programme earlier in the year, we have developed a series of guides looking at key industry issues. Partners are already able to download and co-brand guides on convergence and broadband, providing valuable collateral for them to take to customers. We will be building on this series as the year goes on looking at other issues which are driving the communications industry.”