If memory serves me correctly, five years ago, we used to position VoIP versus traditional PSTN-based dialtone. Then came the hosted concept and theme focus has turned to an on-premise VoIP versus Hosted VoIP. Today we are seeing hosted PBX service providers beginning to further differentiate themselves by targeting niche vertical markets by building on their application integration capabilities.
Hosted PBX price wars are continuing to heat up for the fourth year. The biggest battleground appear to be the growing small business market where integration capabilities coupled with soft entry costs are playing a dominant role in SMB’s choice of a unified communications platform. Most small businesses prefer to gradually increase their operating expenses while gaining immediate access to the critical unified communications technology rather than incurring a large one-time capital expense.
SMBs, however are accustomed to relying on VARs, Solutions Providers and other technology consultants which is why channel partners are becoming increasingly important to Hosted PBX/VoIP carriers and service providers. VARs, system integrators, IT consultants and the like, usually small businesses themselves, they’ve been helping other small businesses with their technology needs for a long time. At the Channel Partners Conference and Expo in March of 2011 (Las Vegas), there was a lot of talk about hosted PBX and cloud-based VoIP services that VARs can white label, manage and support as their own. Essentially, the hosted PBX solutions are transforming VARs into cloud services providers.
For some independent software vendors, hosted VoIP service will become an important component of their overall software product strategy. Integration potential of hosted VoIP service will play an important role in their choice of platform… Other VARs, Distributors and Managed Service Providers also need to figure out their own hosted PBX strategies as small businesses drifts away from on-premise, up-front IT purchases and margins in other hosted services such as hosted email continue to shrink.
DLS, for its part, continues to incorporate ability to integrate its hosted PBX service with other software platforms through an API as a part of its core strategy to build partner relationships with the ISV’s who are interested in adding unified communications to their current product or SAAS offerings in areas such as EMR, ERP and CRM. The integration can be performed by the DLS Software Studios Professional Services team, customer’s internal software development group or a 3rd party vendor. White label and integrated hosted PBX service are also a considerable part of DLS’s future business strategy as we recognize the tremendous value that partners bring to the table.