Platform thinking and solution-oriented selling as the new standards in telecommunications2. July 2018 Published by Raphael Doerr
Almost every SME uses the cloud nowadays, whether it’s for mobile working, data backup or sharing information. With the rise of technologies like VoIP and SIP, this also applies to business telephony. In Sweden, for example, I noticed the trend among SMEs to switching from on-site systems, including a PBX system and hardware, to telephone functionalities in the cloud. That’s not surprising, since the cloud offers companies important benefits, such as lower costs, flexibility and user-friendliness. But even with their cloud communications solutions, SMEs still need some kind of equipment – whether it’s mobile, desktop or cordless telephony. And to give companies the best service, these hardware devices should be compatible with their cloud solution. What does this mean for the telecommunications industry?
Different communication requirements
First, let’s take a step back. Previously, most companies used traditional on-site PBX systems combined with telephones from the same supplier to ensure interoperability. That’s completely different today. Companies are dependent on different providers for their software solutions and hardware devices. In addition, they have different expectations of their devices. In the past, the business telephone was mainly used to make phone calls, while today it’s about much more than that. For instance, think about advanced call routing, audio and video conferencing, the use of business applications or even computer telephony integration (CTI).
Focus on end customers
For telecommunications manufacturers and cloud providers, this means they need to work together to meet end users’ needs. They need to invest in interop testing to ensure the interoperability and certification of hardware for cloud platforms. For years, cloud providers have relied on various third-party hardware manufacturers with certified devices for their platform. A new trend is emerging in Sweden: Cloud providers and hardware manufacturers are joining forces through acquisitions and mergers. That allows them to link cloud platforms and hardware devices so that they can serve the end customer together. It’s almost like going back to the 90s, when end users were supported by a single manufacturer for their telephony. This kind of ‘platform thinking’ is the new standard and offers end users a complete communication solution.
From reseller to service partner
For telecommunications manufacturers, collaboration means providing the end user with the best service, with guaranteed end-to-end functionality and the stability, credibility and quality of a well-known partner. But this also requires a different kind sales and service. It’s no longer a matter of resellers selling a solution and setting up the required devices. Thanks to functions like auto-provisioning, on-site set-up is history. We are working toward a service provider model, for example, with companies paying a monthly fee for online and offline service by resellers.
It also means that telecommunications companies need to be aware that they are expected to offer comprehensive communication solutions. At Gigaset, for example, we offer a combination of traditional desktop phones, DECT systems and smartphones. To ensure optimum interoperability, all our products are certified for large and small cloud and software platforms. To that end, we work closely with local and international premium partners. It’s our way of responding to the developments in the market and ensuring continuous availability, optimum coverage and the right communication features for all business users worldwide. Because we should always remember, it’s the provider’s overall service that the end customer needs for their business, and this service has to be inspired by the perfect hardware solutions – preferably ours. This combination is what we at Gigaset call ‘solution-oriented selling’.