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The Peer-to-Peer blog is a forum for Channel Partners readers with the goal of stimulating discussion among partners about important issues impacting their business. The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Channel Partners editors or publishers. If you are interested in submitting a blog, please contact Editor-in-Chief Lorna Garey,

Invest in Yourself, Enjoy the Returns

- Blog

David ByrdIn an industry where acronyms and obscure terms are prevalent and created every day, Unified Communications is just the latest in a long line of telecommunication solutions that VARs, agents and integrators need to adopt. Consequently, the requirement to re-create themselves again is rapidly approaching, if not past. Recently, while on an IP-related panel during IT EXPO, an audience member stated that his customer base was not transitioning to IP communications and he saw no need to promote it nor any of the related technologies. “Wow!" was my reaction. Who were his customers? What industries did they represent? When had they last upgraded their communications or IT infrastructure? I wanted to ask a lot of questions, but since I was one of the IP community experts the audience had come to hear, I and others could only respond with a knowingly nod that his world was about to change.

The vision you have for your customers' business is just as important as the one you create for yours. Too many mission statements are focused on your success and not the success of your customers. Therefore, it is important that you look ahead and identify what enhancements, products or services will improve areas of their business. It is your responsibility as a trusted partner to invest in understanding new technologies and solutions so that you can accurately inform your customers of fads or real and beneficial changes.

UC and devices and applications that support mobility are much more than fads. However, deployment scenarios and productivity gains vary from business to business and industry to industry. With few exceptions, your customers will need your assistance to establish what, when and how they will adapt to these solution areas.

Earlier this week, 3 million tablets were sold over four days. The world is rapidly approaching 100 million tablets sold. Although this represents a very small percentage of the global population (7 billion), it is significant for a product area that is less than five years old. Given the demand for tablets, what then is your recommendation to incorporating their usage within the business? Without understanding their capabilities, the existing business infrastructure, operational practices, goals and such, you cannot offer a useful recommendation.

Your customers may not be demanding IP communications, UC, mobility or BYOD, but you should be offering relevant advice and forward-looking proposals. Broadvox created its VAR Partner Program because implementing VoIP/SIP Trunking requires more experience and skill than most SMBs have within house. And as we have added hosted IP PBXs and UC to our portfolio, the importance of your role increases.

Rest assured that learning new things and improving your value to your customers and prospects will be a good investment.

David Byrd is vice president of marketing and sales for Broadvox , and is responsible for marketing and channel sales programs to SMBs, enterprises and carriers as well as defining the product offering. Prior to joining Broadvox, David was the vice president of Channels and Alliances for Eftia and Telcordia. As director of eBusiness Development with i2 Technologies, he developed major partnerships with many of the leaders in Internet eCommerce and supply chain management. As CEO of Planet Hollywood Online he was a pioneer in using early Internet technologies to build a branded entertainment and eCommerce website company partnered with Planet Hollywood. Having over 20 years of telecom sales and marketing experience, he has held executive positions with Hewlett-Packard, Sprint and Ericsson.


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