UK SMEs Fail To Cash In On Convergence

BT’s Partner Management team has launched an online partner branded guide to help channel capitalise on the convergence sales opportunity.

SMEs are not capitalising on the potential of projects undertaken to ‘converge’ their voice and data onto a single network, according to new research from BT Business.

BT say the opportunity is clear. Convergence is clearly taking off, with over a third (37 per cent) of UK SMEs having already moved to a single communications network, and a further quarter (24 per cent) expecting to make the switch in the next two years. But a lack of planning, along with confusion around the technology involved, means that the majority of businesses who have migrated to a converged network are failing to realise the potential or articulate the true value of their investment.

Whilst the biggest driver of convergence was the potential for cost savings (79 per cent), an alarming 78 per cent of companies did not build a business case to measure return on investment (RoI) – unsurprisingly as a result, nearly two thirds (60 per cent) could not indicate results against their expectations.

In response to these findings, BT Partner Management has launched Understanding Convergence. This comprehensive guide will be available on the BT Campaign Creator partner website, enabling partners and resellers to brand it as their own. It is specifically designed to allow channel partners to de-mystify key technology issues, debunk the biggest myths, and help end users understand how to get the most from their IT and communications systems with their own branded sales collateral.

Mark Cornell, Director of Partner Management at BT Business, said: “Our partners and resellers are becoming increasingly skilled at communicating why effective planning and deployment of converged technologies are necessary to really transform a customer’s business, making it measurably more productive, agile and competitive. However, convergence may be high on the SME agenda but many businesses are failing to plan and fully understand the ROI. This clearly points to a need for education and support, a role the channel is already beginning to do.

“Convergence is a huge opportunity for the channel, but to maximise the sales potential, customers of all sizes need practical guidance and this should come from a trusted source. The Understanding Convergence Guide is designed to help our partners communicate the most appropriate path to convergence. As such, it provides clear advice about how best to approach a project, whether a business decides to embrace a wholesale change or a more gradual step by step migration, seeing the benefits as they go along.”

Further concern was raised by findings in the BT research that suggested many companies found the implementation experience difficult, with 65 per cent saying they found the process complicated. Indeed, many companies that have embarked on convergence projects have procured a complex variety of hardware and software based technologies and worked with multiple suppliers, which can be confusing and overwhelming.

Cornell said: “With an integrated approach to support, service and assurance, our partners can free their customers from juggling multiple management relationships, enabling them to focus on their core business whilst reaping the rewards of a converged communications solution.”

BT has told Comms Business Magazine that channel partners and resellers can download a copy of the guide at: https://msp.elateral.com/btic/