Phil Gale, OneVoice Programme Manager at Westcon Group UK says the distributor is working to support resellers targeting small businesses, “One of the key drivers we have witnessed is the demand from small businesses for home working solutions which includes IP-telephony, extending the corporate PBX, setting up a virtual call centre – it is all about making small business feel bigger.
There isn’t one specific IP telephony product flying off the shelf yet. IP telephony for small businesses is currently at the education phase and with our OneVoice program we are informing and engaging resellers to get in front of smaller businesses to tell them about what IP telephony can do for them. There are already small businesses who are evangelical about what IP telephony brings them, but these tend to be businesses that are already utilising their network.
Our OneVoice program is designed to exactly do this – bring in resellers to sell convergence to the SMB market. We cover every aspect for a reseller to achieve success in this market, training courses to achieve Cisco accreditation, sales support such as SalesVision giving professional presentation materials, and LeadVision, real qualified leads to get those first sales. When a reseller gets a sale, we provide professional services support to help specify the equipment required, and double-check the solution design. We can help install a solution when a reseller is still building their experience.”
Gale adds that success with SMBs requires a solution-sell and that with OneVoice their resellers know that they have the core Cisco product but also a host of best-of-breed vendors providing supporting products, such as Sony videoconferencing.
“There is a major replacement element to PBX market for small businesses, many businesses bought their systems around 2000 to cover the risks that Y2K posed. It now depends on the reliability of their current systems – businesses always tend to sweat the asset to the very end, and whether the cost and business benefits of IP-telephony outweighs the costs of keeping a legacy PBX going.
We are hearing a great deal about unified communications, and this is gaining adoption in the enterprise market, though at the moment for most small businesses the costs are outweighing the benefits, and I think it will take a while for small businesses to justify the cost.”
Meanwhile Neil Moulton, Head of Voice Sales, for Westcon commented, “The major players such as Cisco have worked hard with small businesses to understand their needs, and the result is products such as Cisco Call Manager Express – these are specifically designed for small business, and not scaled down versions of enterprise solutions.
Hosted PBX is of interest in the sub-20 extension market – this is where Cisco will position Linksys One. We are beginning to see carriers providing SLAs around voice/SIP and the bandwidths to provide voice features – this will grow. In the meantime, resellers will look to distributors to provide wholesale/white label services to enable them to gain a foothold in the market without any significant capital outlay.”