Mike Ballantine, Business Development Manager at Aastra Telecom says that with the average size of a PBX sold in the channel being under 40 extensions it is obvious that SME business is King for the typical reseller.
“However, as the level of sophistication of SME systems installed increases with new technologies such as CTI, Fixed-Mobile Convergence and Unified Communications, many in the channel are realising that they have not only the skills, but also the sales opportunities to expand into the larger corporate market.
The expansion limits of many vendors’ platforms are being extended to ensure that a dealer who can install and maintain a system for, say, 20 users can use exactly the same skills and experience to deploy and manage a much larger system, say in the 200 – 600 extension market.
Companies with over 100 employees tend to be demanding in their requirements from a modern communication solution. Pressures for flexible working practices mean that there are often home workers and remote or multiple sites which need to be tightly integrated. The home worker market has been driven by the availability of cheap and effective ADSL and a growing life style change for many people.
Multiple sites linked together as a single entity for ease of management and day to day running is now being challenged by the myriad of Centrex/IP Hosted solutions available, seemingly a new one every day.
VoIP on a single standalone system in the form of IP handsets for all users is a growing business, but some manufacturers are still able to offer the handset of choice for every user. This could be a simple analogue telephone, an integrated DECT handset, a digital handset, an IP handset, softphone of choice or even a Wi-Fi handset.
The additional support of SIP trunks in a PBX provides cost effective and flexible IP links to an operator’s network in the place of traditional ISDN30e. As well as cost savings, SIP trunks permit users a “virtual” local presence allowing users to have an apparent presence anywhere in the country or even worldwide, and easily move and divert numbers between exchanges.
Many vendors do not provide this breadth of choice which is essential for targeting the SME market, but the solutions are out there and, as with any size of market, be it Small or Enterprise, the customer will buy the solution that fits his needs and his pocket.