Unified we stand, divided we fall

Unified we stand, divided we fall

Leon Mangan of Siemens Communications
Leon Mangan of Siemens Communications

With so many UC flavours coming to market in the last few years, there’s bound to be some debate over what UC stands for, and uncertainty over the user benefits. The perceptions vary wildly: isn’t UC an ‘early adopter’ technology for large companies? Does UC deliver simplified voice and data network management? How is the UC vision applied to vastly different small businesses, enterprises and government departments?

UC delivers integrated and automate communications, making the smallest or the most complex businesses more responsive and saving them money. However, the key difference in realising this market opportunity will be made by resellers working closely with UC vendors to support and differentiate their products. Working together, they can meet customer needs in a sector with targeted products and by watching changing market conditions, spot new opportunities.

Forward-looking vendors are helping resellers hit the spot for users with three critical approaches:

 

First, they don’t treat UC as a static product that their channel team walks away from once it’s launched. Effective channel teams provide exhaustive product briefings and training, regularly topped up with technical updates and refresher courses. Much of the delivery will be online – minimising downtime for the partner but maximising the benefit.

Second, smart vendors provide reseller training on refining their consulting skills – whatever the customer – and after care training. No-one respects a supplier that is big on promises and disappears when the tough questions come in. Selling today is about building an understanding of the customers business problems and issues, creating a solution which is differentiated from that of the competition and communicating effectively with your customer to make sure that they understand the benefits they will accrue.

Third, the best vendors are also working with reseller partners to build business strategies that get to the heart of different sectors’ requirements. These focus on resolving users’ daily needs and crises, and the business opportunities open to end-user organisations that are able to work smarter. Just a few examples show the way:

Carefully deployed UC platforms help small businesses streamline customer interactions and gain the edge over competitors. Small businesses represent over 80% of the economy, so this remains a huge opportunity.

UC is joining up office and mobile telephony to enable professional services firms to better manage customer demands and maximise staff utilisation – critical where time is their ‘raw material’.

As public services move online, taxpayers expect a common response from telephone, email and even SMS; even more strikingly, service teams that were once tied to depots and offices are being mobilised to deliver better community support and care.

Unified communications also deals with the curse of uncontrolled call expenses; UC platforms ensure staff calls are made off the Local Area Networks, not the main mobile networks, delivering savings that could make the difference between business failure and survival.

Because of this problem-solving approach, vendors are finding that, even in the downturn and dare we say it – recession – buying decisions aren’t frozen if resellers show endusers a way to transform productivity. Indeed UC can unlock doors which would otherwise be locked to the ‘do you wanna buy a new phone system’ approach.

The coup de gras delivered by UC is that it blends strong green credentials with strong cost saving capabilities. You can talk with your customers about reducing their carbon footprint and at the same time demonstrate how you will be able to reduce associated travel costs, a double whammy which is already proving to be a winning combination. In fact, it is difficult to think of a market sector or set of personal or business issues which you can’t address.

This is great news for all concerned with this wonderful market of ours – well it is if you have an award winning Unified Communications platform called HiPath OpenOffice in your portfolio anyway.

 
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