It is not unusual for a VAR to ask our channel managers how to improve their sales of SIP. However, it is the wrong the question. The VAR should never lead with SIP. The Broadvox VAR Partner Program was established because VARs are critical to communicating the benefits and hurdles in transitioning from a TDM to VoIP/SIP Trunking infrastructure. Ninety plus percent of our channel is made up of VARs that sell IP PBXs, IADs, phones and other equipment. VARs represent 99% of the successful members of our channel as evolving an IT infrastructure is much more difficult than simply installing new broadband or converting to a SIP Trunking service provider. In fact a successful VAR should make it clear to their prospects that the solution they will proposed and deliver is not about SIP at all.
Today, VARs need to be the technology and process experts that can communicate the value of Unified Communications (UC) and balance their solution with regard to premise based equipment and cloud computing. There will never be a situation where hardware is not required. VARs need to remove their fear of becoming obsolete as cloud computing sucks the air out of the room. Cloud computing requires the business to still maintain laptops, PC clients, phones, PDAs, mobile devices, security hardware and software, internal wiring, wireless access points, routers, etc. Each of these in turn must be selected to meet existing and future requirements for some period of time. At which point, they will need to upgraded or replace with new more relevant technology. Finally, it should never be a world where it is cloud computing versus premise solutions. Solutions should always consider the customer goals and objectives, industry, competition, business requirements, business processes, resources, acquisition cost, operating cost and other factors in determining the physical and virtual elements of the precise solution. The role of the VAR is ongoing not concluding at a point in time.
Quantifying the benefits of UC for a prospect or customer is important to drive the decision process. Business owners and C-level executives do not have feature comparisons and bottom line price at the top of their decision criteria. They want to know facts. VARs and Systems Integrators should have ready numbers to reflect productivity improvements generically at a minimum and preferably by industry vertical. For example, generically I read that UC improves employee productivity by saving 32 minutes per day (no references cited). However, Microsoft documents that after deploying UC their employees saved 28 minutes per day through improved communications with an annualized benefit of $86,000,000. Additional metrics identifying estimated and actual costs savings for travel, audio conferencing, reduced CO2 emissions and other cost elements are also identified. When a VAR is prepared to articulate these types of results versus the usual value statements of proposed benefits, the decision process is made much easier.
SIP is an enabler of UC. It is not the driver of the decision process. The driver of the decision process should be the VAR.
See you Monday with another original recipe…perhaps a dessert. We’ll see!