As part of our Road to Recovery (RTR) series Simon Horton, VP of Sales, Europe at Sangoma spoke to Comms Business about their experience as a UC vendor during the COVID pandemic and how they are preparing partners to emerge stronger than ever.
CBM: What kind of impact is COVID having on your Channel right now?
SH: Obviously, the current situation is challenging. But we do sell UC systems – Unified Communications is at the heart of what we do at Sangoma. And we use our own systems, so we were prepared. We’ve been taking business phone calls to our business number ‘remotely’ for some time. And getting on conference calls from anywhere. So we were prepared. We’ve also had some impact to our business as you may expect.
CBM: Does recurring revenue protect Channel businesses more than others? Is there any such thing as a safe sector to sell into right now?
SH: To a certain extent, recurring revenue protects channel businesses during these times because there is no on-site maintenance or even on-site install to do. However, if a business closes, it closes, whether it’s serviced by the cloud or has an on-site system.
CBM: How is your product set helping end user businesses during this difficult time?
SH: First of all, Sangoma has a fully featured UC system. So anyone with one of our systems has been able to transition their company to work from home / remotely fairly easily. We also coincidentally announced headsets at the end of March. Headsets have been a big seller for the WFH crowd so they can stay on a conference call and go for a walkabout or go to the kitchen and make lunch at the same time (not that they are NOT paying attention to the call).
Second, a predictable sort of phenomena we’re seeing is articles about missing the sense of community, camaraderie and really just necessary human interaction that comes with chit-chat at a water cooler, coffee station or lunch room, and starting to see more and more articles about how to combat loneliness as we self-isolate right now. The need to be connected is more significant than ever now. And for many companies, that means video conference and collaboration calls.
At Sangoma, we recognize this because we saw this happening in our company as well. UC has most certainly helped. But there’s been a key ingredient missing. One way to help with overcoming the missing sense of community and human interaction is to utilize video more. And so we utilized it a lot in our company since we started the global WFH for our company in mid-March. And it’s been a big success.
Given what is going on out there around the world we’ve decided to make our video conferencing and collaboration service available for free. Sangoma Meet™ is our video conferencing and collaboration solution. Sangoma Meet is a web-based multi-party (up to 50) video conferencing solution that can be used with any WebRTC compatible browser such as Chrome. Sangoma Meet also fully encrypts its password protected video conferences. It is a stand-alone service that can be used independently or with our award-winning UC solutions. We’ll continue to offer it for free for as long as this new normal is normal. No gimmicks or anything – we are just trying to help as we’re all just trying to figure out the best way to stay connected. To be used with your company, your work teams, or even your family.
And customers clearly want ‘value’ in these times. They want to get extended features but don’t necessarily want to pay for them. And video is very important as you might expect. In that sense, Sangoma is well positioned since our UC products come with all features.
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