Dave Pitts, Swyx’s Director of Channels for UK, Ireland & Scandinavia has told Comms Business Magazine, “The decision by Mitel to migrate to a single tier channel strategy is a slap in the face, not only to the distributors, some of whom have built their entire business around the Mitel offering, but also the majority of their resellers who rely on their distribution partners to help them build their own businesses.
It is true that the top 20% of resellers who are now comfortable with selling this technology may benefit from this direct relationship; they have the technical resources, and the experience to cope with dealing with a centralised operation. But what kind of signal does it send out to the rest of the channel?
The adoption of IP telephony by the majority of voice resellers is still in its infancy, many are enthusiastic, but still need their hands held to complete lucrative deals and become confident with the technology. I am sure that within this new arrangement Mitel will provide on-going support for major deals, but the question I ask is will they have the resources to help the smaller reseller win the smaller deal.
This highlights the value that a local Distributor can bring. Small resellers become big resellers by building relationships, relationships with their customer base and most importantly with their distributors. Good distributors provide more than an alternative credit line and stock, they can help the reseller determine what product set they need, how to put it together and how to price it, and can provide a direct conduit to the vendor should additional support be needed. Confidence and loyalty is built around a personal relationship with their local account manager, usually over a beer; something that cannot be satisfactorily achieved via a web-site, call-centre or with a few extra account managers.”