Mobility Brings Solid Opportunities to the Channel
Customers are plentiful, little financial investment is required, and most opportunities fall under the higher-margin "services" category.
Woe to the VAR, integrator, or telecom dealer who believes that because smartphones and their connections to the world are provided by someone else--carriers--no mobility knowledge is needed in their own business. In fact, every sales person attempting to position themselves as a "trusted advisor" must have a basic understanding of the role of mobility and the potential of mobile UC. Customers are looking for tools and solutions to deal with a growing number of remote workers and mobile workers; plus, a younger generation is constantly pushing the boundaries of communication technology.
But there is really good news: The growing use of smartphones and tablet devices in the business world is creating some very interesting and potentially profitable opportunities for the "converged channel" (VARs, integrators and telecom dealers). Mobile UC is providing one set of opportunities, and BYOD another set. And the better news is...both sets of opportunities can improve positioning with the customer, add to revenue, offer little competition and require no real financial investment.
How real are the opportunities? In the Gartner CIO Agenda 2012 study, mobile technology and solutions ranked second on the list of "agenda" items for CIOs.
The opportunities for someone in the converged channel are varied, starting with Mobile UC:
1. One of the most obvious opportunities is for those already offering a VoIP product that has Mobile UC capabilities in some form. This opportunity starts with a "mobility" discussion that can lead to incremental revenue from adding Mobile UC capabilities to the customer's existing voice system.
2. The need for a solid Mobile UC solution could also lead to an overall communication system upgrade or an entirely new system for an existing or new customer.
3. Along these same lines comes the potential for network and Wi-Fi assessments (professional services) as well as projects to upgrade network infrastructure to accommodate increased voice traffic or adding Wi-Fi for internal smartphone users.
Now to BYOD opportunities, which again are mostly services-based:
1. Develop a policies and procedures template for managing BYOD in the enterprise. For the customer's IT department, controlling BYOD –to protect company data as well as control mobile spending--is a growing issue. Replication (re-use of the template with minor customization) is a good way to create additional high-margin business. Existing and new customers are candidates for this service that would provide high margins plus be a competitive differentiator.
2. For MSPs there is an opportunity to add Mobile Device Management (MDM) to their offerings. MDM software is now readily available to secure and manage mobile applications, documents, and devices. As BYOD continues to grow across enterprises, MDM software sales and services will grow also.
3. Security is one of the most serious concerns with BYOD. Company data is now residing on personal smartphones, which can be lost or hacked. Companies that had taken great steps to secure their information from Internet intrusion are now finding it vulnerable via smartphones. Develop expertise in this area and reach out to existing and new customers as well as other channel partners that need to add "security expertise" to their portfolio but don't have the training or knowledge to do it themselves.
4. Carriers are aggressively looking to engage those in the channel as agents for business sales. With BYOD and Mobile UC growing, these carriers are actively engaged in finding ways to capture the business customer, and the agent model is their immediate best bet to reach that customer. This type of engagement offers a lucrative recurring revenue stream for little effort or financial commitment.
The opportunities surrounding the rapid growth of Mobile UC and BYOD are many and varied for the channel. The strongest reasons for involvement in this area are:
* Customers are plentiful and competition is still minimal
* Little financial investment is required
* The majority of opportunities fall under the higher-margin "services" category
If you're working in the channel: Don't miss out!