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New revenue opportunity for IT channel

North Supply has secured exclusive distribution rights in the UK for innovaphone IP telephony and Unified Communications (UC) solutions and is looking to the print and IT reseller community to expand its network of channel partners

Established in 1992, North Supply has been a certified BT partner for over 25 years. The ISO 22301 (Business Continuity Management) and ISO 27001 (Information Security Management) accredited telephony solution specialist, has supplied products and services to over 50,000 customers throughout the UK.

Managing Director Richard Potts said that the German-engineered innovaphone portfolio which includes VoIP gateways, PBX IP telephony system, myPBX UC solution and myApps UC client, is ideal for channel vendors already operating in or looking to make the move into the profitable telecoms sector. “In addition to the core IP PBX offering there is also a new Apps based software platform; user desktop Unified Communications client; a range of IP handsets, PKMs, DECT + WI-FI phones; IP Video Door Access units; plus more specialist applications such as call
recording, operator consoles, fax server, web RTC, conferencing, professional on hold and auto attendant messaging services all of which add value to the base solution for both the customer and the reseller.”

He continued: “As data and voice continue to converge more and more IT resellers and VARS are offering voice solutions that complement their current suite of products and services. We have worked closely with innovaphone to develop a margin-rich model that provides channel partners with a great opportunity to attract new customers, as well as increase stickiness with existing clients.”

Potts points out that whilst North Supply is actively looking to expand its partner network, the strategy is very much about reach and relevance. “Our overall aim is to maximise coverage and penetration nationwide, and we will be looking to appoint partners based on geographical need or ones with specific vertical market expertise for example. What we don’t want to do is create a situation where we have too many partners covering the same region who would in effect be competing with each other.”

A logical step
Potts argues that for dealers already used to dealing with IT infrastructure, making the move into telecoms doesn’t require a huge step-change. The innovaphone IP PBX is PoE powered and requires CAT5 cabling, data switches etc. to operate – all of which are standard offerings from VARs and IT resellers.

“Innovaphone is a logical step for resellers who already provide IT/data related voice products such as Cisco, as well as dealers who want to add voice capability to their portfolio. It is an ideal solution for customers that operate across multiple sites and want a system that is integrated, provides the capability to reallocate licenses and automatically invokes failover as required. Moreover, it is a very secure system using protocols such as STUN and TURN, making it ideal for businesses where data security is paramount,” he explained.

Attractive rewards
The different partner levels are successive, offer high margins and perfectly complement each other. Resellers can dip their toe in the water by acting as a consultant and enjoy attractive rewards for referrals. This, says Potts is an attractive model for resellers with limited in-house technical resource or who are unable to initially invest in engineer training. “Essentially referral partners provide the lead and North Supply will manage the entire process from pre-sales, demonstration and quote, through to installation and aftersales technical support,” he explained.

In order to be accredited as an Innovaphone Authorised IP Connect Partner, sales and technical staff have to successfully complete UK-based training which will enable them to set up standard installations. “There are also more advanced partner levels reflecting greater margins, but typically IP Connect Partners would enjoy up to 30 per cent margins,” Potts said.

Innovaphone Authorised Sales Agents – partners are responsible for configuring and selling in the solution but the installation is managed by North Supply can earn up to 20 per cent revenue.

Potts explained that North Supply has adapted innovaphone’s established partner programme to resonate with the UK market. “The partner programme operates in 35 countries globally and has been hugely successful but there were some nuances we changed including the introduction of higher margins and the availability of UK-based training courses.

“Once a partner is recruited, in partnership with innovaphone, we will supply all of the training and product knowledge they need to sell,” Potts said.

Tools and resources
Partners have access to a wealth of tools and resources including an online quote tool. This easy to use tool produces a proposal and partners can tailor the quote to add in products and services that are bespoke to them. “This makes system configuration simple and easy for partners as well as enabling higher accredited partners to do bespoke builds,” Potts explained.

North Supply also offer partners: telephone and desktop sales support, portable demonstration systems to support onsite customer sales visits, dedicated customer demonstration suite, system configuration and pre-staging service that aims to reduce installation time, range of warranty, software assurance and advanced replacement services, sales and engineer training and an online training portal.

North Supply is committed to helping partners to make the most of this established market by offering them a wealth of growth opportunities. “We offer a multi-tiered approach where additional levels of margin are available for higher levels of commitment. Partners can be up and running in as little as half a day while others looking to achieve a higher level of accreditation can expect to invest around three days initially in training. Partners who invest in sales/engineer accreditation training will enjoy higher margins – in essence – the higher the commitment the higher the reward,” Potts said in conclusion.

innovaphone IP PBX: key features:

Flexible solution that can be sold as an on-premise, private or public cloud solution

On-premise comprises a series of pure IP gateways with some variants supporting traditional analogue and ISDN lines in addition to SIP

Virtual appliance – the IPVA can operate in both VMWARE and Hyper V environments

New V13 Apps based software platform has the look and feel of a mobile app that is modern, flexible and different

Powerful IP gateways that can cater for customer requirements ranging from five to 25,000 users, tailored for single and multi-site applications and support full redundancy

PoE powered with a super quick start-up time

The gateways is also a UC server, supports reverse proxy and therefore prevents the need for additional hardware to offer UC capability

Flexible licensing model that allows reuse of licenses when migrating from on-premise to cloud

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