Exploring the iPECS and Partner Experience with Pragma
We discuss iPECS with Helen Ranaghan and Ed Savory of Pragma
Pragma is the sole distributor for Ericsson-LG in the UK. In 2012, the company went to Ericsson-LG with a proposition to sell their products and grow their market. Pragma is responsible for creating marketing collateral, driving products, and even helping Ericsson-LG to develop new solutions with regular feedback and analysis.
I had the opportunity to speak with Ed Savory and Helen Ranaghan about the iPECS range and the unique experience that Pragma delivers to channel partners. Ed is the Senior Business Development Manager for the South East region of the UK, while Helen handles the South West. Both help their existing partners to develop their solutions and grow their business while welcoming new partnerships into the mix too. They support their channels through training, user demonstrations, assistance with marketing, and much more.
Tell Us about the iPECS Platform
The flagship solution that Pragma offers to channel partners today, is their range of “iPECS” platforms. As Ed told me, iPECS is basically a banner covering every product that’s produced by Ericsson-LG. As a brand beneath the Ericsson-LG banner, iPECS covers:
- The iPECS Cloud – an evolution of on-premises IP-PBX delivering a full range of PBX functionality and features, together with the benefits of cloud technology
- The iPECS UCP – The Unified Communications platform offered by Ericsson-LG, designed for everyone from SMBs to Enterprise
- The iPECS eMG80 – Reliable telephony services that support traditional-style customers with standard needs, with the option to upgrade to UCP features
- The iPECS CM – The enterprise platform for unified communications designed to boost productivity and decrease costs. One major client using this platform is Next Retail
- The iPECS UCS – Savory noted that another solution under the iPECS banner is the “Unified Communications Solution” for small businesses who want to get next-level UC without having to invest in enterprise equipment
In A Really Busy Marketplace, How Are You Winning Deals?
While the iPECS range certainly has a lot to offer, it’s worth noting that the marketplace is extremely busy today. I asked Helen what makes the solution and Pragma’s channel so special. She told me:
“We’ve been working very closely with the channel to help them engage with end-users more effectively, and our products have been developing under the radar. We’ve been focusing on building a product that really differentiates on more than just price.”
One way that Pragma serves its channel is by helping them to target specific verticals in a more personalised way. For instance, the Pragma brochures have been rewritten to suit different healthcare, hospitality, and education markets, so resellers can speak the language that suits their vertical. It’s an interesting time for any reseller today, going through a transformation from the old CapEX world to the new OpEX environment. “Other vendors are struggling to give their partners that personal touch, but it’s something that we’ve focused on since the beginning, maintaining that level of proactive support.”
Ed chimed in to suggest that Pragma customers are seeing a more significant community in the partner space, with regular incentive trips, social events, and more.
“We even have Pragma partner councils where we get our partners together to deliver feedback on new products and services, and help guide Ericsson-LG R&D.”
Who buys IPECS?
For Pragma, getting ahead in today’s marketplace isn’t just about choosing the right price. Ed noted that when he first began working with Ericsson-LG their focus was exclusively SME in the UK, but this has evolved into a significant focus on mid-market and enterprise. “However, I think the product has moved on a lot since then, helping us to win larger deals. I think the brand has a much stronger name thanks to Pragma and the high-quality of our partners. We’re winning bigger deals, but we still focus very heavily on SMEs.”
Helen also suggested that the fact that Pragma are about to launch their own virtualised UCP will also help the company to differentiate themselves and win more markets.
“Customers like the idea of having a software-only solution that offers the same call control experience.”
Essentially, Pragma has every option for deployment available, all the way from IP PBX, to virtualised, and public or private cloud. That’s one of the major strengths of the company, along with their commitment to feature parity, which ensures that users get the same experience all the way from on-premises to the cloud.
Savory also told me that Pragma has another compelling update coming to the cloud this summer, which will allow them to run digital handsets through the cloud – something that no-one else can do.
How is Pragma Moving into the Applications Space?
Another thing that Pragma has been looking at lately – is the move into the Applications space. Helen told me that
“Applications are becoming a big part of the sale for both on-premises and cloud experiences. They’re a way to differentiate yourself from the standard on-premises and cloud solution.”
There’s a suite of applications available for iPECS that have been created natively by Ericsson-LG. At the same time, where the company doesn’t have a native solution, they also support quality third-party companies like Phonelink for CRM integration or Tollring’s iCall Suite v7 for call analytics. There’s even Skype for Business integration available.
When I asked which application is the most popular today, Ed told me that it has to be the mobile and tablet softphone app. “Almost every quote we have had lately is set up with mobile equipment. Some of our customers are even installing mobile apps instead of a DECT solution.”
Along with their broad range of additions, integrations, and applications, Pragma also has a new Athena headset range which is only available from them. In other words, they have everything the average company could need from communication, from on-premises systems to the cloud.
An Incredible Experience for Partners
While the products and iPECS platforms that Pragma offer certain help to set them apart, one of the most compelling things about this company is its approach to partner relationships. As a partner-driven company that’s seen a lot of success as of late, Pragma makes sure that every channel partner feels like part of a blossoming community. For instance, every year, the company sets a reseller target to achieve within a specific timeframe. The resellers with the best results on the league table get an all-expenses-paid trip. This year, Pragma will be taking their partners to Cape Town.
“It’s a great way to build on our community, and also a really nice way for us to say thank you to the partners that have grown with us.”