Posted on 10/06/2013
Hosted and IP PBX platforms should be viewed as complementary rather than competing technologies. That’s the view of Paul Burn, Head of Systems Sales at Nimans who says meeting the needs of customers should always be the number one priority.
“There are arguments good and bad in both camps but it’s vital for a reseller to have the choice. An end user buying technology often likes to see what they are getting. Deploying an actual solution which they own and equipment that they have is a strong case for an IP PBX. Some companies are still nervous about reliance on a data infrastructure in a hosted environment. I think there’s an awful lot more features available on an IP PBX and more flexibility. If you talk about routing patterns and being able to control what’s happening on the PBX and the ability to dynamically change them in-house, via their IT Manager for example, they are in control.
“Hosted can also work very well. If you have lots of different applications and are paying individually for those then the cost can soon escalate. But bandwidth is key in a hosted environment. Depending on how many calls are being deployed dictates how much bandwidth is needed and falling costs make this much more attractive.”
Burn emphasised: “They are not necessarily rivals, they can both sit together. It should be an ‘as and when’ scenario for a reseller - one solution when it suits and the other when it suits. It’s not a competing one. There are very few resellers only selling one or the other. The key is to understand your customer’s needs and fit the right solution. At the end of the day in many ways the product is irrelevant. The only criteria is what the customer wants to happen in their business and how technology can help make that happen. It’s about identifying how their best needs are suited now and also in the future. It’s using technology to match their needs not making them match the technology.”
Nimans is enjoying particular success with its exclusive iQ PBX platform that’s ideally suited to novice and experienced resellers. Burn explained: “All systems are developing their fixed mobile convergence message, IP data integration and Lync integration. But as the iQ PBX uses Asterisk-based open standards that’s very attractive to the data market because it’s very much speaking their language in their language. It takes us into markets that not all other products can.”
He added: “We offer lots of training for the voice guys trying to get into IP. The iQ PBX is ideal because it’s a very simple system that can become complex as knowledge progresses. You can quote it very easily.
“Ultimately if you are going to install a system onto a customer’s network then it can be a tricky process. As soon as you are working with their firewall and messing with their security and involved in their e-mail it’s not easy. We recognise that it’s complicated if you are competent and it can get out of hand if you are not sure what you are doing – or engaging with partners that do.
“That’s why we place particular emphasis on helping partners not fall into any obvious traps - so they are not deploying any bad solutions and not giving products a bad name and eroding customer confidence.
“We have our own training academy that allows them to hone their skills on a free basis. Critical elements to arm resellers with enough skills to be able to sell these solutions is our main objective.”