Andy Hollingworth, Opal Head of Reseller Channel says that over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a number of interesting trends and developments in the Channel.
“The credit crunch, while possibly over-reported in the media, has had some very real impacts on our Channel Partners, and it is a useful barometer into what’s going to happen in the industry in 2009.
This is in part due to the SME market, which has never been under so much pressure to cut costs whilst ensuring the maximum benefit and ROI is gained from the technology it invests in. This in turn has impacted on our Channel Partners, who are looking for new and innovative ways to add value and increase margin wherever possible.
As such, we’ve seen increasing demand for Next Generation Network (NGN) technologies from our Partners, and a real shift away from ‘low margin voice minutes’, to new, more innovative services and price structures, such as bundled lines, calls and broadband propositions.
Our Partners are quite rightly identifying that by picking up these trends early – and moving from minutes-based solutions to IP-based alternatives, they can offer their customers more forward thinking technologies, that lock the customer in and provide the opportunity to increase life-time value.
The benefits of NGNs are well documented, but what’s important to SMEs is that these present a more cost-effective, adaptable and greater value communication solution. We see the huge opportunity presented by NGNs as one of the key tools available to allow SMEs to weather the economic storm, meaning demand has never been higher.
So, in summary, from Opal’s perspective, 2008 was about the Channel migrating toward new, NGN technologies while the ‘voice minutes’ model becomes more and more outdated, fuelled in part, by the threat of a recession.”