Outlook 2013: Unified Communications & Collaboration

By Khali Henderson and Kelly Teal Comments
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"Integration opportunities will be abundant, and channel partners with expertise in interoperability among disparate systems will be very busy. Most of the UC&C systems today interoperate but getting them to co-exist and work smoothly in a co-mingled environment can be challenging. Integrators with this experience and successful track records should have a great 2013."
—ScanSource Communications' Brian Cuppett

"New business models enable smaller resellers to generate new recurring revenue streams without making a capital investment in hosted/cloud infrastructure. Seek out the vendors that have mature hosted/cloud technologies and a partnership model that benefits resellers."
—Frost & Sullivan's Elka Popova

“Entertain differentiated partnerships. The UC vendor race has been dominated by Microsoft and Cisco; however, there are a growing number of known platforms — think Google — and up-and-comers that can provide a unique, differentiated UC experience."
—Wainhouse Research’s Bill Haskins

Channel Challenges. Partners in the UC&C space face their share of challenges in the coming year. Many lack the requisite training, sources said, and too many continue to rely on a transactional, rather than a consultative, sales strategy. Both of those shortcomings must be addressed; the need for such changes will become more apparent as hardware demand drops in favor of software and wireless options, our panel noted.

"Business and technical education; moving up-market; and complex sales skills development."
—Concierge Communications' Clark Atwood

"From line-of-business managers to CFOs and CEOs — the search is not for technology but for tools or solutions that will address real day-to-day business problems and issues. Customers don’t ask for 'UC' or 'collaboration,' they ask, 'Can you solve my business problem?'"
—discussUC's Pam Avila

"Sales models based on selling traditional equipment and services need to change to take advantage of the residual cloud model. Partners will not be successful with cloud services if they try to goal and compensate teams as they do for traditional on-premise solutions."
—West IP Communications' James Whitemore

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