Tough times in PBX market

Times remain tough for traditional PBX sales but there’s still plenty of cause to be optimistic, according to Paul Burn, Head of System Sales at Nimans.

“The market will recover to previous levels, just not in its previous format,” he explained. “In 2008 for example the channel was a different place to what it is now in terms of the type of technologies available. Hosted was not that common then but the momentum continues to grow. Will pure PBX sales ever recover to previous record levels? Time will tell because the channel has evolved, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“The market itself will recover just in a slightly different dynamic. I think if general system sales recover to 2010 levels then that’s a positive start; as for the halcyon days of 2008 then that’s a different story. The key for a reseller to evolve in line with customer expectations and the development of new technologies. Times change and we all have to move on.

“In general the market is still fragile. I think the decline is over but there’s not been a significant recovery either. For us as a company 2012 was a better year than 2011 for system sales so there’s cause to be optimistic although obviously everything is linked to the wider general economy and we all know how things continue to stutter along. Businesses will always refresh their comms technology but it’s just a question of at what speed.”

He continued: “It’s no secret that systems sales have been hit by the global recession, but the inbuilt features in today’s platforms present a great opportunity for resellers to persuade their customers to upgrade their comms operations. We are working exceptionally hard to support resellers and help them clinch more sales.

“We don’t just combine high stock levels with guaranteed next day deliveries, but we support our customers from start to finish. That could be lead generation, marketing support, financial services, technical support, installation and maintenance and pre and post sales expertise. It’s a long term commitment that’s being recognised by dealers and proving very successful. We’re here to rise to the challenge however testing the economic conditions may be.”

Paul says the adoption of UC and collaboration is a crucial factor in the development of the industry. “It’s giving companies a tangible reason to re-invest because generally people are hanging onto their technology for longer unless there’s a financial reason to change. That’s where UC comes in, although we are still in a stage of transition. There’s a lot of talk about the benefits and sales are increasing, but it’s steady rather than spectacular. UC is a great way to open up a conversation with a customer, but the tipping point is some way off. Cost savings and business driving applications are where the focus should be. Call recording is a prime example. Presence is another way to boost efficiency. In today’s tough market a dealer needs to demonstrate a cause and effect in a financial way. It’s not about the bells and whistles it’s about showing how a company can improve their bottom line, equating to how a particular type of technology can make them money.”

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