Analyst MZA released their 2005 Q3 figures for the UK PBX market last month. See this web site news items for December and February issue Comms Business Magazine.
Simon Longhurst, Channel Development Manager at distributor IDL Mettoni, believes it was encouraging to see the huge jump in IP extensions in Q3/05, compared to 2004, a rise which we have also seen in our own business, with ARC solutions sales onto Cisco IP Telephony platforms in 2005 at over twice the turnover of that seen 2004.
The figures confirm that IPT is now firmly accepted as a technology, and so there is less cause for sales channels to justify IP solutions against TDM and/or Hybrid offerings. Hence we should see an end to defensive tactics from traditional hardware vendors, who have used reliability and functionality arguments against IPT in the last few years.
It also seems that at last the channel is moving away from the ‘one cable and cheaper calls’ mentality of earlier IP telephony sales, towards that of justifying IPT more intelligently, from a business, technology, end user and customer perspective.
Applications have been the key here, with XML , LDAP, and CRM integrations and call handling enhancements seeing much interest from customers. These not only provide users with benefit from their new telephony device, but also help justify the expenditure of both the enhanced network and associated IPT platform. It is our strong belief that one factor in the success of vendors such as Cisco in the last 12 months, is that they are more open to third party developers such as IDL, who can provide complimentary value added products to the IPT platform, which in turn has pulled through more IPT sales and increased their total value.
The only concern is that the SME market did not perform as well with only 10% of extension sales in the < 100 market and the main growth in >1000. Whilst it is normal for larger businesses to be early adopters, it points to more work required in the mid market indirect channels, to replicate the success of the vendor based direct sales operations.