Unified communications (UC) software such as Microsoft Lync is becoming popular, but the margins are slender – often just one or two per cent – as this technology is already a commodity.
Many organisations are also still getting to grips with the software, and perhaps do not understand all the benefits. Rather than simply offering UC to as many customers as possible, resellers could address how they can add more value and boost adoption rates.
Issues can concern internal communications, with companies failing to explain the benefits of UC to employees, or staff members becoming bewildered by the loss of their desk phone.
Furthermore, the quality of the physical experience depends on the devices employees use to communicate with the UC platform. UC peripherals must provide choice and offer comfort and flexibility. They can also lift margins.
Any new services should also be business enablers, allowing users to work more flexibly as well as in a mobile environment.
So UC uptake is lower than I think it should be. A laptop with an integrated webcam and microphone might be ignored in favour of the mobile handset, which will cost the business more.
As a result, end customers may remain dissatisfied with UC or may demand simpler and cheaper low-end systems. There is also competition from freeware such as Skype and Google Talk. If that happens, margins on the whole will suffer.
While it may seem contradictory, for many resellers this can actually be a fantastic opportunity. Businesses using UC do not want to waste this initial investment and so will be open to suggestions that address the UC adoption issue.
This not only benefits customers, but can create an additional revenue stream. Services such as training courses could also be layered on top of UC implementations.
Adoption of UC will continue to grow, especially thanks to the Lync effect.
John Howard is EMEA director of B2B at Logitech
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