IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Wireless Organization: Wi-Fi + Cloud = Profits

By installing Wi-Fi access points around a client’s facility, you can enable a hosted service to both wireless desk phones and mobile phones.

By John D'Annunzio

As we move further into 2017, small and midsize businesses are still flocking to the cloud to serve almost all of their business communications needs. This trend means both opportunities and challenges for VARs, managed service providers, and other channel pros, requiring new strategies for them to maximize profits and differentiate themselves in the burgeoning herd of cloud providers. This trend is expected to accelerate, according to Forrester Research’s January 2017 report Benchmark Your Enterprise Cloud Adoption, with 68 percent of enterprise infrastructure decision makers saying that developing a comprehensive cloud strategy is a high or critical priority.

Channel partners have a broad selection of solutions from a number of cloud telephony providers that they can offer to their SMB clients, and since VARs, MSPs, and other channel partners don’t have the up-front and ongoing costs that come with owning on-premises PBX and other telecom infrastructure, they are seeing profitability increase.

But many VARs need to go a step further to see maximized profitability and savings, and take a leap toward combining Wi-Fi with the cloud. As this year gets fully underway, the growing cloud telephony market will make this strategy essential, as the drive to combine Wi-Fi and cloud technologies accelerates. The added benefits are clear: By installing Wi-Fi access points around a client’s facility, IT providers enable a hosted service to both wireless desk phones and mobile phones, avoiding the high labor cost of running additional cabling. And this just scratches the surface of the savings.

Why Go Wi-Fi?
Many SMBs prefer incorporating Wi-Fi to drive cloud capabilities because it’s simply a better fit for their work styles. For example, VARs and MSPs can provide a mobile cloud telephony app that’s loaded onto the mobile phones used by an SMB’s employees, whether those phones are owned by the business or its employees via a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. This app approach provides SMB employees with all of the cloud telephony services they would get from a desk phone, but with the freedom to access those services anywhere, anytime, in the office, on the road, or at home.

This capability is also a direct benefit to the organization’s bottom line and brand. Customer service is improved, for example, since employees are now more reachable, while interoffice productivity increases because there is less phone tag between colleagues.

With this strategy, VARs and other channel partners can achieve a significant recurring revenue stream that, over the life of the contract, can add up to more than 150 percent of the earnings they would get from selling only the on-premises solution, according to internal research conducted by Samsung Wireless Enterprise. Cloud-based management also reduces costly truck rolls while still enabling the partner to sell professional services.  

This foundation built on Wi-Fi not only enables cloud telephony but also creates upscale opportunities for VARs and other channel partners. For example, VARs that offer digital signage or video surveillance could layer those services onto the WLAN. That strategy maximizes those customers’ revenue and profitability. Providing them with multiple services also minimizes the likelihood that they’ll seek out another channel partner with these offerings.

The bottom line is that SMBs increasingly prefer hosted solutions for just about every telecom and IT application: telephony, videoconferencing, digital signage, and more. By leveraging Wi-Fi, VARs, MSPs, and other channel pros can meet that demand while maximizing profitability and revenue.

JOHN D’ANNUNZIO, based in Richardson, Texas, is general manager, North America, Samsung Wireless Enterprise, and manages the company’s U.S. wireless product line, including enterprise-level Wi-Fi and IP phone systems.

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