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The Changing Face Of Distribution

Posted on 11/12/2012

2013 will see the comms distribution industry continue to evolve and diversify. Take Nimans for example - once a bastion of the traditional ‘voice’ sector but now a fully converged supply partner with a rapidly growing reputation in network services and data infrastructure.

But whilst some resellers have embraced similar developments, others still need to adopt their business models to fully capitalise on market opportunities, according to Group Sales and Business Development Director,Richard Carter. He says a more ‘joined up comms picture’ is set to emerge based on recurring revenue streams.

“Cost per user pricing will become much more prevalent this year,” Carter explained. “It comes down to the mobile phone analogy. Many businesses are paying upwards of £40 a month to equip their staff with mobile phones, without particular issues. So if you can provide e-mail and voice services at £15 per month most would view this as a financially attractive proposition. However, if you do the maths this equates to £9,000 over a five year period (for a 10 user system) so there’s huge revenue potential for resellers to explore.

“In addition there’s the flexibility to add more technology further down the line to accommodate business growth or other changes in circumstance.”

He added: “As long as resellers are seen to be delivering value then they will have happy customers. What the mobile phone world did was to deliver more and more, hence the advent of the smartphone. For a reseller it should be about not just delivering a phone signal but also desktop functionality with Microsoft Exchange, call recording and maybe video and CCTV down the same data ‘pipe’ on a cost per month basis.

“This model will grow in popularity throughout 2013 but it’s important for resellers to change their mindset. Email and voice integrated with a UC package is a very compelling opportunity. It’s less than the cost of leasing an average car, so customers are happy with that. If they bring on new staff just increase the monthly fee. They like the idea of moving away from capital outlay to operating expense.”

Video conferencing is another key cornerstone for resellers in 2013, as Carter emphasised: “The future about video for our resellers is not selling to some high end blue chip organisation but targeting smaller companies whose owners are probably using Skype or Facetime etc. Room systems are now available from as little as £3,000 retail so it’s now reaching a tipping point in terms of price for a small business to ask: Why wouldn’t they have it?

“A few saved business trips and it will soon pay for itself. If the price is broken down into a monthly lease of around £150 that’s not a lot of money for a business to comfortably afford. Momentum will continue to build, creating more revenue opportunities. It’s about starting to understand what affordable is, not to a very small business but an SMB outfit, based on small monthly payments over say a five year period.”

Nimans predicts wholesale mobile will continue to thrive this year - and to help resellers understand the pros and cons the company has produced a handy reseller guide. The 20-page booklet, entitled: ‘Is Wholesale Mobile Right For Me?’ takes an objective view of the advantages and responsibilities required - to enable dealers to make an informed overall decision.

As an official Joined Up Communications wholesale channel partner with O2, Nimans offers a range of solutions from connections to hardware, as Carter concluded: “Wholesale Mobile offers a host of opportunities for resellers both from a customer retention and cross-sell position and to increase business value. But it’s not for everyone. The reality for resellers is that many of the mobile networks have moved into other arenas such as fixed line, broadband and data. Potentially a reseller risks customer erosion and losing margins. Wholesale gives them complete control so they can bill under their own name using their existing billing platform or using Nimans’ bureau services.”

eCommerce by: Cohesion Digital