Posted on June 27, 2016
Paul Burn, Head of Category Sales at Nimans, assesses market trends.
Significance of price?
In respect of price there are two very distinct parts of the market evolving. The first is a price driven ‘mobile phone mentality’ which is based around who can be the cheapest each month. But as soon as features need to be considered, that’s a completely different ball game, where the PBX still shines.
Some middle ground is now emerging such as Unify’s cloud-based solution which is a hosted model but with PBX features. Moving forward this will become a very interesting section. In the price driven sector it’s not about features. It’s about offering a free handset or for a little bit more a lifetime licence, squeezing the monthly rate.
But when flexible features get discussed that’s when the hybrid model starts to become very attractive. In the beginning there was just PBX, then PBX and hosted but now there’s PBX, hosted and hybrid. This final area will grow in popularity.
Has the connectivity issue disappeared?
The same connectivity issues are always there. Bandwidth is the buzz word and one of the most important pillars of any cloud-based solution. Awareness continues to grow but it’s a lot more complicated than the old days when it was a relatively simple conversation about how many lines does a customer need. Bandwidth needs a deeper understanding and has to be explained more as there are more factors to consider such as is voice and data being run together or being kept separate. The quality and capacity of the bandwidth really does have a bearing on the overall solution. Get it wrong and everything can fall apart. We’ve known of complaints when systems, the architecture and the network have been blamed. But if there’s not enough bandwidth available that’s always going to be the overriding problem.
How practical is it to partner with two or more providers?
In general it should be reasonably practical to partner with different providers but I’d question the benefits of doing so. For me the best scenario is to have partners in each of the three sections; PBX, hosted and also hybrid – but not in multiple ways. You could have the same partner operating in two of the three sectors such as Unify.
It’s like a set of clothes. I can’t see it ever becoming like the traditional PBX market where resellers partner with lots of different vendors though. Contractual implications would hamper that for a start. It’s about choosing a partner that pushes enough of the buttons in a particular area.
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