Objectworld's Unified Communications Hooks Up with Microsoft SBSBy Sharon Linsenbach | Posted 2008-11-13 Email Print
Unified communications vendor Objectworld says its integration with Microsoft Small Business Server will simplify unified communications for small businesses and create new opportunities for IT solution providers.
Looking to simplify complexity and also lower costs to help its channel partners make inroads into the small and midsize business market, unified communications vendor Objectworld will integrate its UC offering with Microsoft's Small Business Server/Essential Business Server offerings.
For Microsoft partners already selling Microsoft Small Business Server/Essential Business Server, the UC solution offers an incremental revenue stream that will keep their customers focused on Microsoft-compatible solution sets and drive more revenues, according to Objectworld's Vincent Guihan, director of marketing and sales.
The integration between the two may be just the salve the unified communications market needs in uncertain economic times. Larger enterprises that had once embraced unified communications projects are now cutting back their IT spending, Guihan says.
"UC slowed down despite all the excitement about it," says Guihan, "because when solution providers research it, they discover that a lot of vendors aren’t delivering solutions that are cost-effective and easy to deploy," at which point both interest and feasibility fizzle.
Even if customers remain interested, solutions often aren’t feasible for SMBs and midmarket customers by the time they total up the cost of the hardware and software and add in the need for four to six weeks of deployment and integration, says Guihan.
That's why vendors focusing on winning unified communications deals in the SMB space—including Cisco, Avaya, NEC Unified Solutions and Objectworld—have looked to simplify their offerings and lower their pricing.
Objectworld's strategy is to deliver turnkey UC solution packages that are easy to deploy and with much lower price points, says Guihan. He says that approach has immunized Objectworld solution providers from slowing demand and decreasing sales.
Objectworld’s solutions with Microsoft’s
Microsoft does have its own UC solution, Office Communication Server, but that offering is targeted to larger enterprises and won’t result in a conflict of interest for channel partners, according to Guihan.
"Microsoft OCS is targeted for a desktop productivity play and is very useful for large organizations whose employees need to work more effectively with each other," says Guihan. Objectworld’s channel partners are focused more on customers who need end-to-end services that are more basic and allow them to work with external customers, like voice mail and fax capabilities, he says.
He says the interoperability will open up new opportunities both for Objectworld’s channel to tap into smaller, underserved Microsoft customers and for Microsoft’s channel to take advantage of the ability to reach smaller customers.
"We want to make it clear to Microsoft partners that our products are out there, they’re simple to deploy, they take 15 minutes per user to set up, and they work like every other Microsoft product they’ve used," he says.
Guihan says the ability for solution providers to sell very simple, end-to-end UC solutions at a very low cost allows for much more competitive positioning and is driving new business for both Objectworld and Microsoft.
"We aren’t seeing any slowdown, honestly; we’re actually seeing an uptick in interest and sales," says Guihan.