Convergence, especially around unified networks, seems to be a tired old phrase in the channel, until you start exploring just how far the concept has actually been implemented and what the level of understanding is around it.
Because most firms have legacy systems with components from multiple vendors, implementing a smooth, unified communications system, that can be accessed anyplace, anytime, anywhere, requires a lot of technical expertise and is more of a minefield than most people would admit.
A lot of resellers have shied away from pushing unified networks because they feel they are lacking certain technical skills and do not have the time or resources to invest in training staff up to the required standard.
However, on the flip side, there are a range of third party support services on offer from suppliers such as Comms-care to help VARs plug any skills gaps in their own workforce and secure that all important sale.
Most firms, particularly those without their own IT department, will immediately turn to the channel for the advice and implementation of a unified network, and more often than not it is a recurring revenue stream for the partner in terms of support and maintenance and future upgrades.
The benefits of a unified network for the customers themselves are immense which means it will hopefully make an easier sell for the channel. Employees on the move can access the company system when needed and managers can finally get that mobile workforce that they have been dreaming about.
In addition, staff are happier because of increased flexible working which means they are not chained to their desks or restrained by outdated IT equipment. It could also help cut down on travelling costs which will encourage those firms looking to reduce their carbon footprint to invest in a unified network. However, unified communications are not all about cutting costs, they are also about adding functionality either way the customer cannot lose.
So if all that has been stopping you is worry over a lack of skills, try the third party support route and you could find a whole new revenue stream opening up for you.
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