We caught up with one company that’s doing incredibly well in the new age of vendor churn – Pragma. With their exceptional partnership with Ericsson-LG, Pragma can offer an exciting opportunity for the resellers and channel partners who want to do something new. We caught up with Will Morey, Sales and Marketing Director for Pragma, to discuss what the business is seeing in the industry today.
Legacy is a Positive, not a Negative
As vendors and service providers continue to evolve, with new entrants making their way into the communication space, there are two distinct camps for UK customers. The first is the cloud-focused camp, while the second is often referred to as the “legacy” space. I asked Will what he thought about getting the title of a “legacy” provider, and he told me it’s interesting because legacy can be interpreted in many different ways.
“Legacy can be a huge strength in some cases. If you take our relationship with Ericsson-LG for instance. The legacy they have comes from really understanding the voice market. They’ve been providing business telecommunications solutions globally for more than 30 years, which means that they have an exceptional understanding of the functionality, features, and development of the product they’re selling. I think having a legacy player in the cloud space is a phenomenal strength.”
Pragma can offer their customers almost anything they could need, with on-premises, private cloud solutions, virtualised products, and the public cloud too. “We can cover all these bases with a product that’s been evolving for 30+ years. We wear the label of “legacy provider” with pride.”
Is There Still a Market for On-Premises Technology?
Despite the obviously growing importance of the cloud marketplace, it’s worth noting that not every company is making a move to the cloud instantly. There’s still a great deal of comfort and practicality involved in maintaining some of your infrastructure on-premises. No matter how innovative the cloud might be, many providers agree that the combination strategy is the winner right now.
“I think there’s a great argument for both systems. Our on-premises solutions are growing significantly, alongside our cloud solutions. The wonderful thing about our on-premises solutions is that Ericsson-LG is continuing to invest their R&D there too. They’re delivering innovative technology not just in the cloud, but on-premises as well.”
Everyone is competing with the same product
One of the biggest shifts in the marketplace lately, is that ‘pure cloud play’ vendors who used to take a direct approach are starting to embrace the channel instead. A large portion of the business being done today in the UK is indirect through channel partners. I asked Will what’s driving the move to Pragma for their customers.
“What gets us in the door for almost every meeting is a conversation about the cloud. Resellers are looking to add cloud vendors to their portfolio, and whilst there is a plethora of cloud service providers to choose from, they almost all offer a solution based on one or two generic SIP platforms that delivery very similar functionality. This means that most resellers are offering the same or very similar cloud services.
According to Will, today’s resellers don’t just want an off-the-peg solution anymore. They’re looking for differentiation in a crowded and competitive marketplace where so many players are offering the same thing.“iPECS Cloud offers true PBX functionality with easy migration from on-premises to cloud and on site back up and unified communications bundled with every seat. We also provide CRM and Skype for Business integration. This means our resellers stand out from the crowd and deliver real value to their customers.”
“The types of resellers available are changing too. We used to just have traditional resellers, but now we have mobile, AV and IT companies engaging too. There are so many people trying to own the end user relationship as the marketplace opens up. You need to put an exciting deal on the table, or someone else will beat you to it.”
How Is Pragma Doing in Terms of Retention?
As many vendor and distribution organisations start to worry about churn, Pragma has remained very comfortable. Will told me that they’re doing very well with retention because it’s a core component of their business model.
“We build strong and personal relationships with our resellers to ensure we understand their business goals and what they need from a supplier in order to keep winning”
Even the way Pragma work with Ericsson-LG is interesting because it makes them a core and closely linked component in their vendors go to market model. “A key thing for us is collaboration. That’s something we talk about a lot when we discuss vendor switching. We don’t just have a relationship with our resellers, but with Ericsson-LG too. We offer them unique insights from our channel partners, and they use that feedback to directly impact product development.”
Will also noted that Pragma commits to running their product and development plans past their customers before they bring anything new to market.
“We have the Pragma Partner Council, where we introduce new products and services to a small group before we launch them. It’s this open and inclusive approach that set us apart from other vendors, distributors or service providers.”
Pragma offers a refreshing approach for their partners, where they both share success. Perhaps that’s why Pragma continue to thrive in this age of vendor churn.