Dave Dyer, channel marketing manager for the indirect channel at Siemens Enterprise Communications makes a valid case for using the PBX as the conference ‘services provider’.
“Mega-trends such as Globalisation and Climate Control are driving the shape of business and developments in technology. The need for people to communicate effectively has always been critical, only now the challenge is greater – we need to do it without necessarily jumping into the nearest car or plane. For some time now, large enterprises have been able to use managed services to provide audio conferencing or video conferencing solutions and some have invested in their own infrastructure. Not so obvious is that SMEs have also faced the same issues, but the cost of the solutions and the technology has until now been prohibitive.
“HiPath OpenOffice ME from Siemens addresses this and provides SMEs with a unified communications appliance which takes the pain out of organising planned or ad-hoc conferencing. It provides a drag-and-drop interface which is intuitive, enabling a user to set up audio conferences from their desktop. Participants are then simply called on their preferred device and introduced into the conference. This can either be automatic or password protected for added security. This functionality is provided by the OpenScape Office Suite which is integrated within the OpenOffice Appliance. OpenScape Office also manages a user’s presence, so no matter where they are or what device they are using, they can easily enter the conference. Users can also use their Microsoft Outlook address book to invite people to participate in the conference. This is achieved by using a simple outlook ‘skin’ or plug in which anyone can load.
“This approach has numerous benefits for the end user and the channel. The end user gets a set of tools which really do speed up their business by removing the roadblocks to successful communication, making it simpler to contact and be contacted, but with a set of solutions specifically designed for them – not some downsized corporate monolith with a server farm to spare.
“For the reseller, they get the key to high margins through a solution which differentiates them from the masses, but which is designed from the outset to be channel friendly. This means that technical training is minimal and mostly online and IT integration requirements are kept to a minimum.”