David Perry, head of the Carrier VoIP and IMS team at Nortel says resellers need to be aware that today’s customer has a choice.
“Thanks to IP-based hosted services over broadband links, the traditional technical issues that made it difficult for service providers to deliver a fully-featured service cost-effectively to smaller sites have been overcome. And, as customers of all sizes are becoming more comfortable with buying a range of hosted IT services, attitudes have changed too, and hosted voice is now considered a viable option.
A reseller’s income stream for a traditional PABX sale tends to be an initial capital equipment purchase followed by recurring revenue for support contracts, upgrades, additional phones, lines and call minutes. Over the lifetime of an installation, this is an attractive proposition for resellers; the downside is that the recurring revenue is likely to need regular sales effort and is often not predictable.
In contrast, hosted services are priced per user, per month. Although initial revenue for installation planning, system integration and handset supply will be lower than the equivalent PABX sale, this is balanced out by the higher, more regular monthly payments which will require much less sales effort. The hosted option also makes it easy to bundle in other services such as broadband, hosted email and messaging services and mobile services. With each added element, revenue per user increases and the customer is more tightly tied in to the reseller, making it less likely that the customer will move some or all of his business to another provider.
Of course, not every customer will want to take a hosted service, either now or in the future. Offering both options, together with the expertise to help the customer make an informed choice, will ensure that the canny reseller remains ahead of the pack.”