Brexit, Brexit, Brexit, it seems to have been the only topic on the news since the historic referendum result in June 2016. Today we consider another exit, not from the EU, but from the legacy world of on premise PBX systems and the migration to the world of cloud.
VanillaIP are one the UK’s leading cloud communications providers and they are at the forefront of the cloud revolution. They are introducing a new programme ‘PBXIT‘ where they focus on the benefits and commercial advantages of making the move from traditional PBX systems over to the cloud. They are so confident that you can realise the benefits of PBXIT they will back you with a special commercial support package, including free licences.
In the late 1990’s there was a radical shift, in a similar vein, in the mobile communications world. Iain Sinnott, Sales Director at VanillaIP was an influential figure at that time as head of the Martin Dawes Dealer Channel and now recognises the parallels with the shift from on premise PBX systems to the new world of cloud communications.
To understand more about how the program transformed the mobile communications market back then, and its relevance now, we spoke to Wayne Skellon who is the Managing Director of Challenger Mobile Communications. Challenger Mobile are one of the UK’s largest independent, business to business, telecoms specialists and Wayne understands why industries need to transform.
The VanillaIP PBXIT program has parallels with the evolution you went through with Challenger Mobile back in the 90’s?
“It does, and I have to say I am not surprised to see VanillaIP deliver program like this. It was Iain Sinnott, then head of Martin Dawes dealer channel, that headed up the Connexions program which helped us move from a standard commission dealer, in a growing mobile space, to a secure revenue base owner with much more control and much more value to our name.”
How did the program work back then?
“We received commission from the networks for each connection, offset the cost of the handset, giving it free to the customer, and kept the profit. Very lucrative but only if you kept selling and customers came back to you.”
“The Martin Dawes program recognised that our success was their success and decided to share the real value with us by creating a revenue only model, but this presented a challenge. We were used to a capital sale and receiving the cash to pay our bills and staff, so to switch to revenue was difficult which is why the Connexions program included a cash advance and recharge element which supported us through a 14-month curve to self-financing. Simple really but unique at the time. Here we are, 28 years later with a valuable business which includes the mobile customers and a growing number of cloud comms customers, connected through VanillaIP naturally.”
Would you recommend a radical move from PBX to Cloud using a program like PBXIT?
“Iain would be the first to tell you we took a long time to study the program, question the elements Martin Dawes delivered and ensure we understood the requirements on our business, but we knew the future was in revenue, so we went for it.”
“The PBX guys know more about their world than I do but if they believe the industry will end up dominated by cloud solutions I would suggest looking for a way to get there early and supported by a supplier that is planning for you both to win, not just themselves.”
The correlation between the radical shift that occurred then in mobile communications and the undoubted shift that is occurring now in the world of cloud and PBX is obvious. As one of the most innovative providers, VanillaIP, understand better than most the scale of the transformation required by resellers to make the jump now. Their services are aimed at helping resellers make the transition as effectively as possible.
UC Today also spoke to Iain to understand why the PBXIT program can be so valuable to the communications industry.
“Unlike the mobile revolution we are not just talking about a different economic model, we are talking about a technology move and that is not easy. Part of the difficulty is the continued success and competence of many PBX solutions but that is no longer the real driving force. Business owners will be planning either a commercial exit or future growth and in either case no individual player can buck this current trend towards cloud, but there is now a very real danger that business that remain in the traditional PBX world will see their value fall.”
We then spoke to Paul Billingham, Director and Co-founder of Knight Corporate Finance. Knight help business owners obtain funding for expansion or examine the best exit strategies to provide them with the best return on investment. Paul was able to explain that the reality is that merger and acquisition, and investment, funds are far more interested in ICT or communication resellers who have a significant element of hosted/cloud solutions. This has made the sale of traditional PBX businesses much more challenging. Active M&A players are looking to reduce costs by centralising support, reducing property overheads and slimming down the headcount. They are not looking for bricks and mortar, vans and a store room full of spare parts.
The PBXIT program has been designed to help a PBX specialist make a calculated and controlled move across to a cloud solution without losing control of the relationship and reputation they have built up. It offers practical and commercial support and of course a portfolio of services broad enough to fully replace the current PBX functionality.
VanillaIPs commercial support will include free Smart User Licenses for all extensions for 12 months when connected within a bespoke deployment timeline agreed with the reseller.
You can learn more about the PBXIT program, the promotional offer, and how it can transform your business, in a free webinar which will take place on Thursday the 11th of October at 11.00am. Registration Here.