By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO
I’m going to hit on a few of topics.
One: The Panel
At the Channel Partners Expo, Qwest mentioned that it would need help from its partners to fulfill the government win it just received. If you are a small, minority-owned company, let your carriers know. If you have specific certifications or have been approved for state or government work, let your carrier partners know. It might result in a bigger relationship and more income.
Two: The Small Business PBX
Two actions to be noted this week: Microsoft and Digium. Digium bought Switchvox, hopefully the start of some consolidation in the space. There are too many players in the small biz phone system marketplace, in my opinion.
As John Wigboldus, vice president at Sutus, states: “The merger of Digium and Switchvox creates a real powerhouse in the space and puts real pressure on the other IP/PBX vendors to start differentiating themselves or I think we will see a wider consolidation start to happen.” Sutus already differentiates itself by being an office-in-a-box ¬ much more than as a PBX.
And then Microsoft jumps into the space with Response Point, an IP-based phone system software architecture. I’m thinking this isn’t an out-of-the-box-easy install for most small business. It is probably another “opportunity” for the Microsoft Integration Network, which means agents might want to take a look.
If small business wanted a DIY PBX, there are free ones: 3CX and FreePBX and Asterisk.
If small business wanted to shy away from PBX maintenance contracts and have ease of use, agents should be looking at the two boxes that sport incredible GUI’s: Switchvox and Sutus.
As an Agent, it is a good time to find a Strategic Partner for Phone Systems, like a Microsoft VAR or NETX. Lucky for Microcorp agents, the strategic partnership is in place with NEC.
Three: TEM and Master Agents
Telecom is funny about buzz words. We use the same ones over and over even when it isn’t clear what they mean, like WiMAX. Or TEM. Microcorp unveiled a new agent portal, Nautilus, at its agent show the week before the Channel Expo. Besides enhanced quoting and order tracking, the site has been enhanced to include TEM and inventory management capabilities. These added features give the agents two more tools to grow income from. Obviously, my cohorts on the partner panel have TEM capabilities as well. And as Dan Baldwin points out, with shrinking residuals due to price deflation, agents need more streams of income.
This is a good time for agents, master agents and carriers to talk and focus on specialization. If you as an agent have a niche, a certification, a strategic alliance, let your master agent know as well as your preferred carrier. Together you should be maximizing that specialty. The Long Tail is where the money is.