Converged communications

Joel Chimoindes, CEO, Nuvias UC, explains why converged communications represents a huge growth opportunity for the Channel.

Nuvias UC recently gathered its partner community for a Tech Talks event at the Park Plaza Victoria in London. At the event, Joel Chimoindes, the company’s CEO, outlined why converged communications is a huge growth opportunity for the Channel. He also expects AI to be a key productivity driver moving forward.

“Being a converged communications provider of choice is key,” said Chimoindes. “That requires being partnered with the right companies and having the right skillset to capitalise on the opportunity.

“AI is another area that channel partners should be looking to leverage. Both of these capabilities are strong value propositions for end users.”

Chimoindes has worked in distribution for 30 years. He started as a technical support specialist at Imago Micro in Manchester in 1995, working his way up the ranks to head of its northern office.

Having left after 10 years, Chimoindes decided to work for a reseller. By his own admission, it was a role he was “terrible at”, and he soon moved on to a senior role at Clarity Technology, Tandberg’s first distribution business.

During his time there, Chimoindes grew the company into a £35 million business in three years. After Clarity Technology was acquired as part of Horizon Technology Group by Avnet Technology Solutions in 2008, he continued to work there before moving to TD Synnex, where he was responsible for its UK UC business, and then took on various European roles.

Chimoindes left TD Synnex to form his own distribution business focused on digital signage content creation delivery for channel partners, but decided to return to the company after two-and-a-half years. After another four-and-a-half-year stint running its Maverick AV Solutions business, he joined Nuvias UC last year.

Rollercoaster first year

Having endured a “rollercoaster” first 12 months in the job, Chimoindes said that the collaboration solutions market has so far proved to be a double-edge sword. After a tough first half of the year, he said that the market has significantly matured, opening up multiple avenues of opportunity.

“Business has been tough over the last 12 months,” said Chimoindes. “But we have seen increasing maturity in the market around collaboration solutions after the market declined 20 to 25 per cent last year, but since then we have improved and fixed some issues that needed to be addressed operationally and also made sure that, as we enter FY25, we continue to focus on our key growth areas as a business and helping our partners to grow too.

“We have had two significant inflection points in collaboration services: first as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and then with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now we’re at a point where sub-thousand-pound communication devices can be set up in a matter of hours by the end user.”

During his relatively short time at the helm, Chimoindes has made some big changes to the company’s structure that are already starting to bear fruit. The most significant one has been the recent investment in and delivery of converged communications services, bringing together the specialist business units (SBUs) of telephony, UCaaS, CCaaS and spaces services - all underpinned by Nuvias UC’s technical services business. Within those SBUs, he said, were marketing functions, vendor management, business development management and pre-sales capabilities.

“Moving forward, all organisations will require converged communications,” said Chimoindes. “Decisions are now being made at the platform migration end, with the choice of platform and provider flowing right the way through into the UCaaS and meeting room environment.

“Accordingly, we have made the conscious decision to go down the specialist distribution route with our delivery of converged communications. These SBUs will provide added value to our partners, opening up new opportunities for them and enabling them to scale up and get to revenue quickly.”

Gamechanging AI

AI has been a gamechanger for the Channel too, said Chimoindes. Its primary use, he said, should be in improving productivity for end users. He added, “That means partners will have to extend their skills and capabilities to understand how AI will increase productivity within their user base.

“That could include improving simple meeting scheduling or in the CCaaS environment where they can help agents make better quality calls and look for sales queues.”

Another big growth opportunity, said Chimoindes, is in CCaaS. Traditionally, he said that the market had been focused on high-end, large call centres, but now that has shifted to small and mid-market end users.

In terms of the PSTN switch-off in 2025, Chimoindes said that the telecoms market understands the issue and is well prepared for it. However, he added that there’s also a huge opportunity for IT companies to educate and ensure the successful transition of their SMB end users from traditional PBX phone systems to the cloud.

“The industry is doing a really good job of driving the message about the PSTN switch-off,” said Chimoindes. “But while we could certainly be doing more, perhaps government should also be helping to widen that message, particularly to SMBs.”

Moving forward, Chimoindes said that Nuvias UC will continue to selectively expand its partner base. It will also keep on investing in its technology and capabilities, he said.

Chimoindes concluded, “The further and deeper we go in terms of expanding our relationships with our vendors and partners, the more opportunity that will provide for everyone in our ecosystem. Therefore, the whole channel benefits.”

This interview appeared in our June 2024 print issue. You can read the magazine in full here.