Tech Data, Fonality Dial Up SMB Unified Communications

Tech Data is adding Fonality’s open source unified communications
(UC) systems to its Telephony Specialized Business Unit (SBU), allowing
solution providers to deliver more cost-effective UC solutions to SMB
customers.

Fonality’s UC capabilities are delivered via a hybrid-hosted model,
says Monica Cwiklinski, manager of Tech Data’s Telephony SBU. Resellers
install Fonality’s trixbox Pro IP-PBX appliance at a customer’s
location to deliver VOIP and UC capabilities, says Cwiklinski. Fonality
remotely manages and monitors the solution on behalf of solution
providers, allowing for recurring services revenue without significant
infrastructure build-outs or the need to provide on-site support. 

This model allows resellers to sell both the trixbox appliance and
the integration and support services that surround it, says Cwiklinski.
Fonality’s trixbox is delivered on an open-source platform, but that
doesn’t mean solution providers and their customers are left to their
own devices when it comes to service and support, she adds.

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“This model gives resellers the flexibility to determine how much of
the system is actually hosted based on end-customers’ needs and the
solution providers’ own comfort level with implementing, integrating
and supporting both open-source technology and UC solutions,” she says.

Depending on a solution provider’s expertise, Fonality can provide
24/7 systems monitoring, automatic software updates, business
continuity support and comprehensive reporting and tracking tools.

In addition to basic voice, messaging and conferencing, solution
providers can also use Fonality’s trixbox Pro to bring Microsoft
Outlook and CRM integration, voicemail to e-mail and call center
support.

The Fonality solution can also offer an "on ramp" to traditional
networking solution providers who may want to ease into a UC practice,
says Cwiklinski, since those solution providers will have extensive
support, training and sales resources to back them up.

“This can be a far easier solution to grasp for traditional
networking solution providers who are looking to add to their skill
sets,” she says.

While Tech Data’s Telephony SBU sells a number of UC solutions from
vendors such as Nortel, Cisco and 3Com, Fonality can be a great fit for
solution providers selling to the SMB market, says Todd Gronemeyer,
director of network product marketing at Tech Data.

“For solution providers whose end user customers might not have the
means to buy a full PBX or a VOIP solution, this can be a much more
cost effective solution, especially for SMBs,” he says.

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