Mark Shane, sales manager at ICON asks “Does the SME need to understand Unified Communications (UC) or even know of its existence?” Mark believes there should be no reason for the end user to understand the technology or, in the case of UC, the concept. In the end users world there are business problems and issues which need to be solved. It is up to the manufacturer to come up with products which address these and the reseller to sell the solution to the end user.
If you’re an end user with a problem and someone offers you a widget which solves it do you care what the technology is or what it is called. In most cases the parameters the end user is working with are affordability, ease of use/maintainability, and reliability. For this reason solutions which depend on integrating third party applications will just not make commercial sense for the SME.
Mark believes that in the lower end of the SME market the way forward is to offer the core UC applications and tools as an integrated package. He says “This integrated approach will benefit both the end user and the reseller. The reseller is able to present an easy to understand single platform business solution to the customer whilst the customer benefits from being able to buy a single box answer to their problem”.
This is just the thinking behind the Vertical Wave IP-PBX product family. The Wave IP-PBX platform from Vertical is an example of a UC centred product which has been built with the SME market in mind. It can be used by SME’s with as few as 10 users and includes as standard the core UC applications such as unified messaging, desktop call management, call recording and voicemail and it can be extended to add in a conference manager, contact centre and voice server for those companies which need these.
Mark believes that in the SME space, with the sort of integrated functionality offered by the Vertical Wave many end users will buy into UC and use it in their business without needing to understand or concern themselves with the underlying technologies.