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PBX Still Packs A Punch

Posted on 27/06/2013

The traditional PBX still packs a hefty punch in a world where hosted and IP-based solutions are the latest contenders to its crown. But it’s a heavyweight contest that doesn’t really exist as rival technologies happily exist together, complementing rather than competing against each other.  

That’s the view of Paul Burn, Head of System Sales at Nimans who says resellers have never had so much choice when targeting new business. 

“There’s no immediate revolution coming or a nuclear bomb dropping that if you’re not involved in, your business will die. We’ve all got to evolve and we are evolving. There’s a perception of a raging battle between rival technologies but in reality it simply doesn’t exist.” 

He continued: “The whole point is to objectively assess on its merit the best solution that fits the end user. The industry doesn’t decide which way the market goes; it’s the customer that shapes that. The market itself never moves at the pace of technology. Essentially a phone system is viewed as a long term investment. It’s not based on fashion or a two-year contract – perhaps like a mobile phone. It could take over five years to change a phone system and even then it may result in replacing one CPE platform for another so overall churn and rotation can be very slow. 

“It depends what a customer wants to do and where their business is heading. Generally a new system has to do more than the existing one, otherwise what’s the point in upgrading?” 

Paul says there are two types of customers – ones that want to just make general calls and ones that want to use technology as a business tool. “There’s still a lot of people whose businesses only require them to make and receive calls. But there are others where selling technology sells them business benefits. A bit like changing a car from one that does 20 mpg to one that does 60mpg. There’s a financial and productivity benefit rather than just basing a decision on perhaps a customer changing their car just because they are bored of the colour.  

“There’s a lot of media hype about CPE, hosted and the Cloud etc. As an industry we seem almost obsessed by it but the end users aren’t. They want a solution that makes their business more cost effective. That could be any platform. Ease and simplicity are other vital factors. 

“From a reseller perspective, how many end users, if you told them about a certain type of technology, would actually want it? It’s a bit like asking how long is a piece of string. There’s no easy answer. 

“As an industry we need to make sure that resellers are armed with enough information to sell a solution that they think best fits an end user. If they understand the various technologies then they’ve got more chance of winning a deal because they’ve got more guns or tools in the bag. Resellers have got more choice then they’ve ever had – cloud-based, software and hardware-based solutions, SIP and hosted. A switched-on reseller will know that he can send his salesman into any business and there’s nothing he will be asked for that he doesn’t have a tool in the bag for. That’s a really great position to be in. Technology heavy or really simple – there’s a set of clothes for every occasion.” 

Paul concluded: “The PBX is alive and well. Sales are very strong for us and we have an awful lot of resellers where we are discussing the future of their PBX business. Have they got hosted in their bag as well? Of course they have! Do they use it where they feel it’s appropriate, course they do. Are we scared of it? No. We embrace it as its part of our overall portfolio and even the system manufacturers are adopting various cloud-based elements. It’s a bit like stoking up a fight that doesn’t exist. We are all dipping in and out of the various technologies and it’s evolving all the time.”

eCommerce by: Cohesion Digital