What next?

Comms Business talks to Mark Whitehead, Director of Channel Sales, GCI Channel Solutions, and asks how can resellers improve both their top line and bottom line? Should they be looking at their product portfolio?

Mark Whitehead says that it is a really important time for the reseller community and if you’re a MSP (Managed Service Provider) he says you will have seen hardware revenues eroding and the vendors taking the initiative selling cloud services to their customers.

“Entering into new emerging markets is where I think the reseller has the best chance of stopping churn, improving ARPU (Average Revenue per User) and increasing the value of their business. Resellers and CSPs selling combinations of hosted voice, cloud and data are seeing impressive business valuations, some upward of ten times EBITDA!”

Comms Business Magazine (CBM): What type of products should Resellers be considering to add to their portfolios today and why?

Mark Whitehead (MW): Hosted Lync (Skype for Business), hosted desktop, hosted voice (Broadsoft) and data (Ethernet and MPLS), are all products the reseller should be considering. It’s not enough to take one element in today’s channel market because at least one of your competitors will be able to provide everything. This is extremely attractive to customers because it gives them a single bill, better pricing leverage and easier fault finding and support. Many of our partners win business because they can provide the end-to-end solution through GCI Channel Solutions.

As many of these new technologies can go from book to bill in the same month, they are extremely attractive when taking cash flow into perspective. Having a portfolio of these products also increases the value of the business so overall they are very compelling.

CBM: One of the major concerns Resellers have when taking on new products is the overall investment they must make in skill sets and Marketing. How can that cost be mitigated?

MW: GCI Channel Solutions position these offerings to the Channel so that the main thing the Reseller needs to invest is time; time to learn the benefits and what great outcomes they can provide for their customers. GCI have made these investments already, offering a 10GB core network with access to all the major UK carriers as well as our own LLU EFM offering and our fully owned resilient IP voice network. The network is underpinned by two ISO 27001 Data Centres at Media City in Manchester and our ex Nuclear Smartbunker in Lincolnshire.

In terms of support and delivery GCI empowers resellers by giving them access to Channel Gateway portal, which enables them to deploy everything form a broadband line to hosted desktop seat.

GCI even provide the white label marketing material to support these services. Our Partner Playbooks allow our resellers to access everything from presentation slide decks to white label product sheets. This enables resellers to take these products to their customer base very quickly.

CBM: What are typical market sectors or customer characteristics for these products and what kind of returns can resellers expect?

MW: We are seeing some definite trends in these emerging technologies. Since launching our Hosted Desktop product most of our growth has been in the financial and legal sectors. However, my team won a £230K contact for 240 hosted desktops with a GCI telecoms reseller for a charity who wanted to refresh their IT infrastructure after their IT manager left. This was despite the reseller having no experience in selling hosted desktop or IT support.

Hosted Lync has been GCIs default enterprise offering when we engage with our resellers and interest in this service is increasing rapidly. GCI have great references in this area with over 56 thousand seats deployed.

Broadsoft with UC Office capability has given us the ability to support resellers in the SME sector and is ideal when the end user wants to take the step up from SIP and PBX to a fully hosted solution.

Underlying trends are seen in businesses that try to reduce cost or improve their business systems often at times of a major technology refresh. The products and services I have mentioned give the customer more flexibility and ability to grow their systems and business.

To support these new emerging technologies we still need good low cost data options but if you want to drive real growth and impressive GP the focus now needs to be in hosted voice and cloud services.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine