Comms Business Magazine met up with Pragma Distribution exactly one year after the distributor opened their Burgess Hill doors for trading to find out what was happening. Well it seems a lot is going on as Editor Ian Hunter reports.
Good timing has never gone out of fashion in business. Being in the right place at the right time tends to give you a great starting point from which to build a business. All you need then is the right products and a certain nous about the market. Enter Pragma Distribution, channel veterans David George, Tim Brooks and Will Morey and a product range backed by two of the largest firms in the business – Ericsson and LG.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): What have been the highlights from the first year in the life of Pragma?
Pragma: There’s been many of course but we would pick out the following. We have over 100 resellers on board selling the Ericsson-LG iPECS solutions; these are new channel partners where we have competed for business against other vendor products.
Significantly during our first year we have introduced an innovative ‘Four reason to Upgrade’ promotion plan for older systems that has really made an impact in the market.
By running the campaign resellers not only drove new sales opportunities but also secured their customers and maintenance base. We developed the campaign to provide a truly compelling proposition that ensured customers made the positive decision to upgrade.
This included additional discount supported by Ericsson-LG available only as part of this promotion and 0% Finance to minimise any cash impact on customers as they upgrade, The plan helps users access the latest technologies supporting mobility, collaboration, SIP trunking, remote working and a whole range of other applications. The iPECS is significantly more power efficient than the preceding systems in the LG family leading to energy and cost savings for customers and a greener office.
Pragma made the whole process very easy for our resellers and provided a wide array of support. The promotional plan has been very successful and it helped resellers to really drive growth in their business.
Both E-LG and Pragma have been delighted with the way in which we have successfully repositioned the product range enabling existing resellers to do much more business and attracting new resellers that had been selling say Avaya or Siemens systems. It was clear to us at the outset that iPECS was not a low end product but a fully featured and functional SME to Mid Market solution for business.
The last year has also been rewarding in terms of reseller reaction to our ethos of treating customers as customers. Many distributors and vendors treat the channel as just a route to the end-user customer whereas we treat the Channel as our customers and give them reasons to continue buying from us – a refreshing change we are told.
During this time we have developed a fantastic team of people here at Pragma; sales, technical, logistics and administration – everyone works with our customers and for our customers’ benefit. For example, we carry out training up and down the length of the UK rather than proscribing customers come to us at their cost and inconvenience.
Likewise we have launched E-LG products here that were not hitherto available in the UK such as a Gigabit handset range, an easy to use and cost effective call recording solution and an Android based videophone for the desktop.
Latterly we have expanded our products and services range by launching the Pragma Networks Division complete with an iPECS optimised SIP trunk offering with end-to-end support.
CBM: Clearly you are not standing still; in fact you have just returned from a one week trip to Korea. What news have you brought back with you?
Pragma: During the week we attended a two and a half day product road map briefing and the message we have returned to the UK with is that E-LG are investing considerably in iPECS and other products to further open up opportunities for their partners. This, together with an overwhelming display of goodwill and support for ourselves and the UK market means that we can take the product in to new markets and application areas and also take on established vendors in those markets.
The new product road map will be announced in the UK this October jointly by E-LG and us.
There will be more to come. Pragma and E-LG have a keen eye on the hosted telephony market and with E-LG part owned by one of the world’s most renowned carrier equipment vendors all we can say at this point is that we are going to see a very different approach and deployment model that will excite the market.
CBM: What UK initiatives will see in the coming year?
Pragma: We will shortly be formally announcing a new partnership with Tollring to market their iCALL suite of applications which includes call logging, call recording, click to dial and contact centre management. We intend to work very closely with Tollring, as we do with all our vendor partners, to ensure a professional level of reseller support on their products.
Managing Director Tim Brooks concludes, “We are working with and recruiting more good people to support our customers. Pragma has no artificially contrived accreditation or training schemes which also means healthy margins are retained. This is pragmatism at work in the Channel – all of our energies are focussed on helping our customers.
The work we have undertaken at Pragma in repositioning the E-LG iPECS and our overall customer support levels means that resellers will find the iPECS a stunning proposition that will result in leading resellers or those who have not previously considered the product for their portfolio engaging with us.”
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