Convergence taxes dealers

Convergence taxes dealers

Swyx struggles to recruit partners to sell IP telephony

Swyx is finding it tougher than expected to recruit dealers to the IP telephony market as the complexity of convergence confuses end users and VARs alike.

A month ago the IP telephony manufacturer launched Jump Start, a programme designed to attract about 30 new Swyx partners from the traditional telecoms dealer channel.

The technical and commercial incentives of the programme were designed to help dealers used to selling PBXs acclimatise to the concepts of IP telephony.

Although convergence is nothing new, Ralf Ebbinghaus, vice president of sales at Swyx, admitted the crossover of voice and data skills is still proving challenging.

“IT dealers struggle to understand concepts such as group calling, whereas comms dealers still cannot do the LAN stuff,” he said.

Russell Lux, a Swyx reseller for more than two years, warned that Swyx is not easy to install and maintain. “If you have been a PBX reseller and do not have our extensive knowledge of Microsoft, it could be a challenge,” he said.

Patrick Copping, business development director at Atiya Solutions, Swyx’s only Gold partner, applauded the move but questioned if Swyx was creating competition for its original pioneers.

Copping, like Paul Taylor of Frontier and Ian Fowan at HBT, are all ex-Swyx employees, now working in its channel. “I guess you could say Swyx is creating its own channel through its staff,” added Copping.

Mike Ballantine, business development manager at traditional phone manufacturer Aastra, warned that the complexity of IP telephony frightens people off. “We tell our dealers never to use technical jargon,” he said. “Just tell us what you want to do, and we will do it.”