Jim  Burton
JIM BURTONFounder and CEO, CT Link, LLCCo-Founder, UCStrategiesJim Burton is Founder and CEO of CT Link, LLC. Burton founded the...
Read Full Bio >>

Jim Burton | April 30, 2010 |


The Near Term Success of UC Depends on the Channel

The Near Term Success of UC Depends on the Channel Yes there are successful UC resellers, VARs, and system integrators out there, but they are few and far between.

Yes there are successful UC resellers, VARs, and system integrators out there, but they are few and far between.

Over the past 4 years the communication vendors have been evolving their products and business models to address the Unified Communications (UC) market. And, as in the past, the critical element required to make the vendors and the market successful is not where it needs to be.I'm talking about the channel. Yes there are successful UC resellers, VARs, and system integrators out there, but they are few and far between.

If you look at the success stories touted by the major vendors, you see a handful of channel partners--but only a handful. And, if you look at many of those partners, you will see there are not many people in their organizations that understand and can deliver UC solutions. Some of the big name customers whom the vendors bring on stage at industry events have had to change channel partners because the partner that was handpicked by the vendor did not meet expectations.

The challenge of new technology and associated products waiting for a channel to evolve is nothing new. The communications industry has gone through three of these cycles over the past 20 years, starting with CTI, when resellers needed to understand how to link telephone systems and computer systems together. During this time, a small group of those early channel partners formed an association and appropriately called themselves the "CT Pioneers". They took the "arrows in the back" for the industry as they delivered solutions that required a new level of integration.

In the late '90s, a new layer of complexity--data networks--was added that the channel needed to accommodate, as IP PBXs took center stage. When Cisco acquired Selsius, it planned on leveraging Selsius' existing reseller base. Cisco soon found out that the resellers were not achieving the anticipated results, so the company swung its attention to telephony dealers, and while there was some improvement, sales still did not meet expectations. Over the next few years, Cisco developed programs and provided incentives to help make its resellers successful.

In today's UC environment, there are several new layers of complexity--desktop applications, integrating communications into business processes, and integrating communications silos. While the last item seems to be disappearing as the vendors provide integrated solutions, actually this puts even more pressure on the reseller, who must support new, possibly unfamiliar technology (e.g. an e-mail VAR supporting video, or vice versa).

There are many resellers that are slow to join the "real" UC market. They sell products that are branded as UC, but are nothing more than an IP PBX. For the UC market to be successful, the resellers will have to embrace UC and the new layers of complexity that go with it. Failing that, resellers will see declining revenues, as telephony prices decline, and declining margins as the IP PBX is commoditized.

The vendors who will be UC market leaders are those that can help the resellers make this migration from IP PBX selling to UC application design and implementation that will communications-enable business processes. It will take innovative programs, training, and support from the vendors to help their channel partners prosper. It will be interesting to see which vendors are up for the task.Yes there are successful UC resellers, VARs, and system integrators out there, but they are few and far between.


Enterprise Connect Orlando 2017
March 27-30 | Orlando, FL
Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem

Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Special Offer - Save $200 Off Advance Rates

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

April 5, 2017

Its no secret that the cloud offers significant benefits to enterprises - including cost reduction, scalability, higher efficiency, and more flexibility. If your phone system and contact center are

March 22, 2017

As today's competitive business environments push workforces into overdrive, many enterprises are seeking ways of streamlining workflows while optimizing productivity, business agility, and speed.

March 8, 2017

Enterprise IT's ability to innovate is critical to the success of the business -- 80% of CIOs agree. But the CIO role has never been more challenging than it is today, with rising operational respo

March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.