Racing Ahead

There’s too much talk of technology,” says Rauchle over coffee just before the 200 or so delegates for the Inter-Tel’s UK partner conference got down to business. “We prefer to talk about business processes and enhancements with resellers liking both the flexibility that our products provide and the ability to personalise the applications for their customers.”

Inter-Tel’s UK event followed on the heels of their Las Vegas conference in January where top achieving UK resellers previewed their new products ahead of those gathered here in Silverstone, Northampton. The motor racing theme was continued throughout event and on the grid for discussion was the Inter-Tel 5000 series launched last year and the larger 7000 series due for release later this summer.

Rauchle, who has been with the company since 1979, was keen to point to Inter-Tel’s heritage, “The 5000 series has been very successful since its introduction. Features, applications and pricing are very attractive and the product fully addresses the needs of IP market.We have had a great response to the product which typifies Inter-Tel’s history of getting features and deliverables right. Good engineering, good design, marketing and sales channels mean that we are very pleased with the result.”

At a time of year which seems to have become ‘the season’ for vendor conferences Rauchle could not resist a sideways swipe; “While Cisco and Avaya talk of a new world order we are here where the rubber meets the road doing the business.

“Both here and in the US the education sector is providing rich pickings. Our unique differentiator in that space is our ability to personalise features to requirements for say, security, announcement, broadcast messaging and home workers. Inter-Tel looks for channel partners where ‘the lights have gone on’ and where resellers can provide interaction and new ideas.”

For some time Inter-Tel’s sales had come from their flagship Axxess PBX product which continues to be developed for the converged and IP-enabled market serving both TDM and IP customers with proven technology and sells well confirms Rauchle.

The new 7000 series product is a soft IP PBX which is scaleable from SME to enterprise applications.

“7000 Series addresses up to 2500 ports today and is based on SIP architecture with presence and collaboration built in. Most significantly, all the Inter-Tel Axxess PBX features are also included – there has been no compromise. Housed in an Intel server form factor the 7000 Series will be available in the UK in mid 2006. It is important to preview the product here today to show resellers our next steps and that we have a clear understanding of where we are going. The technology is only a part of the 7000 story and we will be making a further announcement when the product is launched.

“Right now there is a lot of talk in the market of hosted IP PBX application – mostly talk and few deployments, but Inter-Tel wants a product for both theatres and the 7000 Series will provide those plays. The concept of hosted IP PBX makes sense but we all need to see the value proposition.”

In the US a managed services offering from Inter-Tel is very significant business and it is clear Rauchle is envisaging a greater role elsewhere: “Managed service is a big part of our operation as users like the one fixed monthly payment process. We would like to grow this into a global strategy however I think the hosted players have missed the point. It’s not about the location of the CPE it is about having a single point of contact for the user. Users like to see their comms systems on site – it gives them a sense of security.”

Looking sideways again Rauchle says he applauds Cisco joining in the applications market and acknowledging SIP, “We introduced SIP in late 2002 and are on version 4 of our unified communications applications so we welcome Cisco into the pool and are pleased to see them swimming in our direction.”

 

Comment:

As usual for Inter-Tel their BPC was a well organised and well oiled performance without any sign of being a contrived show.We forget that Inter-Tel is a very big company and it’s good that two of their five main board members regularly attend the event and are completely open to everyone and anyone that walks up to them with a question. In his address to the conference Inter-Tel Europe MD Chris Harris told delegates that users looked to the channel for advice and knowledge and urged resellers to rise to the challenges and skill up to meet the needs of the market. Right on, and 7000 Series looks a winner too.
 
Maren Bennette, maren@cbmagazine.co.uk
 

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