Many resellers of traditional, on-premise PABX hardware systems seem reluctant to add VoIP to their portfolio of services.
However, by doing so they could be missing out on business, especially as their customers are increasingly seeking alternatives to the high cost and the inflexibility of traditional telecommunications services and hardware-based phone systems.
At the same time, more businesses are looking at what they can move to the cloud.
Many have already stopped running their own servers and have moved email, web and line-of-business applications to the cloud.
Naturally, organisations will start to consider if they can also do away with their expensive, hard-to-maintain hardware-based phone system and opt for a more flexible and cost-effective hosted option.
Ignore or embrace VoIP?
How resellers of traditional PABX systems respond to these trends will determine their future. They can either ignore VoIP or embrace it.
Some will choose to hold out on VoIP in order to retain the lucrative margins on installing and servicing on-premise systems. But this approach is flawed for two reasons.
First, one of the motives for the organisations moving to VoIP is actually to avoid having to pay for those high margins.
Second, by not offering VoIP, traditional PABX providers risk not only generating less revenue from their customers, but also losing them all together to other providers who do.
Rather than seeing VoIP as a threat, they should seize the opportunity to proactively help manage their customers’ move to this technology and ensure they, and not a rival, are part of that journey.
Besides, a hosted VoIP service does have its own upsides for resellers.
As a ready-made platform, a hosted system enables resellers to enter the VoIP market rapidly with fewer overheads and minimal capital layout. Most hosted providers also don’t require their channel partners to sign up to expensive and onerous contracts or commit to buying stock, so it’s easier to get to get started.
Although the sale price of a hosted VoIP offering is less than that of an on-premise system, resellers can earn an ongoing revenue stream in the form of monthly subscriptions. They can also make commission on phone calls and other services, and there’s still margin to be made on the sale of new IP-capable handsets.
But how do resellers of traditional PABX systems make the switch to offering VoIP?
In our view the best approach is to partner with an established VoIP provider, which has already done the hard yards to develop a proven system and has support and service infrastructure in place.
By Cameron Beattie - Managing Director of Conversant – a provider of cloud-hosted communications systems, which enable businesses of any size to enjoy the benefits of an advanced PABX without having to buy the hardware.