Technology Reseller v72

01732 759725 08 INTERVIEW James Goulding talks to Nuvias UC CEO Joel Chimoindes about CCaaS, services and the ISDN switch-off in video collaboration everyone wants you to sell vast quantities, but it still requires specialism for it to be used properly at an end user level. There’s a dichotomy where the industry needs volume and professionalism at the same time, and that's really where video is now. “In a previous role (almost two years ago), we did a survey of 1,500 SMB resellers across Europe and looked at the average number of units bought by SMB resellers for video collaboration. That number was just three. When you go back to understand why the figure was so low, it was things like not enough margin in the deal because resellers didn't have the skills and capabilities to deploy it in an effective way.” Chimoindes points out that today, when selling video collaboration devices or UCaaS/CCaaS, resellers need an expanded range of capabilities, not just in network and platform integration and security but also in their understanding of workplace, HR and productivity issues, as well as traditional customer relationship management skills. “One thing that came through really strongly in the research is that no one was going back to the end user and saying ‘How are you using your equipment? Can we help you use it in a better way?’. And that still rings true today.” ISDN switch-off Which brings us to the ISDN switchoff. This is clearly a big opportunity for resellers and MSPs to go back to their customers and discuss their evolving communication and collaboration requirements. So, what does Chimoindes think of its postponement to January 2027? Like many in the industry, he has mixed feelings. “From an end user perspective, it's okay because their ability to spend money is still constrained. From a channel perspective, it's really frustrating. The channel has been prepared for this for a while and has taken advantage of the opportunity to move people from ISDN to IP solutions and at the same time to upsell to UCaaS and CCaaS. The fact that the ISDN switch-off has now been pushed out to 2027 is quite frustrating. I'm not saying it was unexpected, but it is frustrating.” Chimoindes says that while telco resellers already work closely with their end user customers, the number of businesses that have yet to do anything is a real opportunity for smaller IT resellers to engage with SMB customers looking for or needing information about migrating from legacy to IP communications, including UCaaS. “Our friends at Cavell Group shared some great research at one of our recent Tech Talks events. They surveyed 501 telecoms buyers in companies of multiple sizes and found that 80% were aware of the PSTN switch-off. That still means 20% weren’t. That's quite a large number. So there's still education to be done.” Businesses making that first move from ISDN to UCaaS is one market trend. A second highlighted by Chimoindes is that of businesses that have already switched to a UCaaS solution now looking to upgrade to more competitive solutions. Again, he cites a Cavell Group survey, this one showing that of the businesses that adopted a UCaaS solution in 2021, 70% had moved over from an on-premises PBX, with 30% coming from an alternative UCaaS solution. In 2023, the ratio changed to 50:50. “That tells us that customers that have already adopted UCaaS and IP-based solutions are now looking at how they move to the next one, because the market is getting more competitive. We've got two dynamics: we've got the move from ISDN, where people need to make their first leap to UCaaS and beyond; and then we've got the businesses that have already moved to UCaaS and are now looking at more competitive solutions.” For some, this could involve an upgrade to Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS), which is experiencing strong growth in the mid-market thanks to a strategic focus on customer experience Technology Reseller last met up with Joel Chimoindes, CEO of Nuvias UC, the week before Christmas to hear about his plans for the specialist distributor of voice, video, UC and CCaaS solutions. On May 29, after almost six months of lacklustre UK growth and constrained spending, we put in another call to see how those plans were progressing. The week before our call, Rishi Sunak had surprised (nearly) everyone by announcing a summer general election. Like many, Chimoindes is looking forward to life after July 4 when businesses can face the future with more certainty and perhaps free up their spending which, from Nuvias UC’s perspective, he characterised as patchy, with good growth in services and UCaaS/CCaaS offsetting tough conditions in hardware sales. Chimoindes shied away from describing the UC hardware market as commoditised, preferring the word maturing instead. “I was talking to someone yesterday about the distinction between maturing and commoditised, a word we often use in the IT industry without actually meaning it. Commoditised, to me, is when you are shipping thousands of units and margins are fairly low for everyone involved. We’re not at that stage yet in UC. We’re a maturing industry, but we’re not commoditised, and that brings with it some interesting dynamics. For example, Growth and maturity Joel Chimoindes