The channel was out in force at this month’s Unified Communications (UC) Expo, but exhibitors struggled to agree on the event’s purpose and how best to sell the technology.
More than 80 firms exhibited at London’s Olympia venue, many providing spokespeople for the event’s eight seminar theatres. Visitor numbers were recorded as 4,264, up by almost 400 on 2009.
Des Lekerman, joint managing director of services firm Eurodata Systems, spoke at the event, urging channel firms to focus on key tactical initiatives and measurable results when selling UC.
“Focus on business processes and productivity – can you demonstrate the gains?” he said.
Channel veteran and Brainfood Training director Martin Hill-Wilson offered a different view, speaking alongside Morris Pentel, president of the Customer Experience Foundation. The two explained how much of the IT industry ignores basic customer desires when developing and selling communications kit.
Pentel claimed the technological developments of the last two decades had offered little inherent value to end users.
“What we have managed to do is deliver worse customer service more effectively,” he said.
Hill-Wilson claimed investing in technologies and then attempting to drive customer demand was “a very expensive way to do business”.
“Vendors waste a tremendous amount of money in R&D,” he added. “Is the UC market just an emperor with no clothes? I do not really welcome people rebadging [technology] just to confuse everyone for the next five years.”
VAR Scalable Communications occupied a stand next to vendor
partner Mitel. Internal sales representative Craig Moore explained
that resellers need manufacturer support in the current marketplace.
“If the vendor is here, [end users] get introduced to the technology at the source,” he said.
Moore claimed leads generated at the event were characterised by “quality, rather than quantity”.
Gordon Birchall, marketing manager at comms reseller Midland Communications, said he felt visitor numbers had dropped a little on last year. He added that VAR attendees needed financial justification for exhibiting.
“For a reseller, it is all about return on investment,” he said.
But Lee Sinclair, sales director of BNS Distribution, claimed this was the only show his firm attended, doing so primarily for networking purposes.
“We are here to keep up our profile,” he said. Lekerman said: “We are coming here expecting to get our name out there and any business is a bonus. We cannot come expecting purchase orders.”
Struggling security titan makes three board appointments after investor took 5.8 per cent stake last month
Commvault ousted its CEO in May and has since undergone a radical refocus
As employees demand more flexible working environments, CRN asks how the channel is adapting to the changing working landscape
Wall Street less than impressed with Oracle's growth as cloud numbers remain hidden