Four years on from its UK launch, Xelion is getting ready to release version 7.4. Comms Business caught up with Dave Reynolds, UK managing director, to find out more.
Xelion was founded in the Netherlands by Micha Cohen back in 1988 and developed its first cloud-based telephony solution in 2012 with a mission to optimise the efficiency and performance of business communication. The company entered the UK market four years later, with Dave Reynolds appointed UK managing director.
When asked what it was about Xelion that made him get onboard, Reynolds said the company’s software-first approach fitted with the direction he felt the world was heading in. “The big thing was that, long before anyone in UK was really thinking about software, Xelion was all about the software. It was all about apps.
“Even in an early version ten years ago, it still had a fully running desktop application for a soft phone – no one else had that at the time. Whilst it supports all the hardware, like traditional handsets you might have on your desk, Xelion always focused on the desktop.”
Reynolds points to one key reason why that approach will pay off in the long-term. He said, “It’s very easy to walk into a business that’s just got phones on desks and displace them and sell your service into them. But when people are using applications, it’s really hard to displace that.
“If you think about your personal mobile phone use, what would it take for you to not use WhatsApp anymore? But when you use a traditional old school desk phone, they all look the same. I loved the idea that the app [is the future]. I bought into that and I was sold on that very quickly. So that’s what we championed, and it paid off.”
Xelion might still be relatively new to the UK market but Reynolds has been slowly building out the team. The company’s first hires were to provide customer and sales support, and Xelion is about to recruit more staff. Reynolds added, “As a group, we’re up to 180,000 subscribers. That’s a decent number. It might not be at the same level as companies with close to a million seats, but we are happy with our growth. This month, October, will be our best month ever for the UK.”
The company is dedicated to the channel and has a partner-only policy here in the UK. Reynolds explained, “We trade exclusively through our wholesale partners, so we don’t have a direct division, and that’s really important – you’d never ever compete with us directly.”
As the company believes integration for UC deployments will play a major part in the future of the channel, Xelion has an Integration Market Place. This service for channel partners and their customers provides ‘pre-packaged’ integration for the Xelion platform with a host of leading UC applications. This is designed so that partners can spend less time and expenditure programming interfaces between Xelion and customers’ preferred back-office apps.
Reynolds explained that Xelion’s roadmap is built on user and partner feedback, with the team dedicated to “refining the product” through reviewing feature requests every week. The company will launch version 7.4 this autumn, and Reynolds explained that this update is “all about tweaking some of the features we added in 7.3”.
Users will shortly have access to new reporting modules and will benefit from improvements made to the WhatsApp integrator. Reynolds joked that “this is not going to be the most exciting in terms of new jazzy features”, but a major update to the platform is already on the horizon.
Xelion 8 will launch next year and, whilst Reynolds is keeping details under wraps at the moment, it’s clear he’s excited to bring this to partners and users alike in the months ahead. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for that…
Below: view of the Xelion platform on a laptop.