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Here’s how to sell a unified communications
system: hard cost savings over three years, $40,000; total price for system,
services and support, $31,000. Throw in zero-percent financing and the deal is
a no-brainer.

That’s what Ryan Halper, founder of Cynnex Networks, an IT unified
communications solutions provider specializing in small business, found when
customer Wolfgang Puck Coffee was looking to improve the integration between
the phone systems of its two offices, one in Seattle and the other in Orange County, Calif.

Because while unified communications offers many features that executives and
users really like, when it comes to laying out the cash those wallets just may
stay closed. Factor in attractive ROI and their grip may loosen a bit. Tell
them they don’t need to pay the cash up front and the wallet is likely to open.

"Zero-percent financing made the decision instantaneous," Halper says.

Cynnex had already installed Cisco Systems phones in the Wolfgang Puck Coffee’s
main office in Seattle, making the company an early adopter of hosted VOIP
(voice over IP). But the second location still ran with a legacy voice and data
environment, and the company wanted to make the two offices work better

Cynnex deployed Cisco’s UC 500 and 700 series IP phones and integrated them to
provide some of the sophisticated communications capability that Wolfgang Puck
Coffee had requested. The company, which serves the hospitality industry and
hotels with its estate-grown coffee brand, employed about five customer service
representatives in its small in-house call center. The new system gave them
automatic call distribution that queued up callers who were on hold and sent overflow
calls down to the California office.

The system also enabled extension dialing between the two offices and provided
conferencing capabilities and features such as integrated messaging between
voice mail and the company’s IMAP e-mail.

"VOIP doesn’t always represent a cost savings, but in Wolfgang Puck
Coffee’s case it had a positive financial ROI," Halper says. "They
saved a lot of money and got a much more robust communications platform."

Halper says the $40,000 saved over three years came from reduced
telecommunications costs paid to carriers. That estimate did not include any
savings from improved productivity or better collaboration.

The zero-percent financing, provided by Cisco for the entire package of
hardware, software, services and support, put Wolfgang Puck Coffee’s monthly
leasing bill at about $1,000 a month, which was more than paid for by the
monthly telecom savings.

Halper, whose company also offers wireless networking solutions to multihousing
customers, tells Channel Insider that he has seen a stronger interest among end
customers in IT communications solutions since Cisco extended its zero-percent
financing offer in January.

"It’s not going to be the single defining reason why someone is going to
buy from you," he says. "I still need to win in all the areas where I
normally and historically would have won. But it does give me an upper hand at
the moment of purchasing."

Halper notes that while Cisco for the last three years has offered zero-percent
financing off and on for particular SKUs, it was never available for
everything. But as of a month ago, the company "opened the floodgates for
it," Halper says.

"It’s now
available for every Cisco product, service and support offering,
" he
says. "That’s huge. There are now a number of deals on the table that I
will certainly be much better positioned to win with that in my tool bag."