Unified Communications will no longer be the sole domain of larger firms as Siemens Enterprise Communication unveils its new scalable Unified Communication and IP Telephony platform.
After a sneak preview at last month's CeBIT event in Hannover, Germany, Siemens Enterprise has shared full details of its new OpenScape Business product, which it claims will bring full Unified Communications (UC) feature functionality to SME-sized organisations in the Middle East in early Q1 of next fiscal year.
"There is a feeling that UC is a large enterprise solution and that SMEs don't need it," explains Anil Kumair Jain, Managing Director of Apac and Middle East. "That's not true. SMEs need UC more often than larger firms because they need to get the maximum out of their smaller workforce".
"SME needs to have multi-channels of communication and collaboration with in its ecosystem. It's clear now that SMEs are looking for a UC platform to fit within their infrastructure, without going into any kind of business process reengineering," he says.
Jain puts the emphasis on simplicity, believing that ease of use is a key to roll-out and adoption. "Everything should be as simple as click to dial," he says. "I want to just pick up a phone and dial and rest should happen by default. The good news is that the functionality of this new product is the same as what's on offer to larger scale businesses. Since voice communication is integrated with IT, automatically your desktop comes into the picture by which you have control on your communication channels."
"Networking of systems not only for voice but also UC is the need of the hour. Nobody wants to have a standalone platform which cannot be networked to another set up, whether it's Dubai, London or India. They should be able to network over IP," says Jain.
"We want to get closer to our tier two partners," says Marc Aghili, Senior VP for Business Development. "At the end of the day it is the bonding between the tier two and distributor which gets our products further. This gives us more focus in terms of market presence, local events and now a greater resource in the Middle East for the new product."
Aghili spoke of Siemens' reboot ahead of their 'amplifiedTEAMS' event in Dubai just two months ago, where the firm also secured their first OpenScape MX customer in the region via their partner NewRAS Technologies.
"What we have been doing in the last six months is building a large reseller network," says Jain. "The geography is big and this is how we have to address the market. What is happening is that IT is merging with voice, so if I need to sell these new products I need to have resellers with the right IT skills," he adds.
In addition, the Siemens team is referring to OpenScape Business as a 'real' channel product, since partners were involved with both the initial concept, as well as the development and design process. Then not only did Siemens conduct field trials, but all channel partners had the opportunity to liaise with technical staff, shaping their brief from an early stage.
Aghili and Jain agree this development partnership was very successful, allowing greater insights to the market through the channel. Despite the challenge of navigating different regions and their requirements, Jain believes the new process will be a new normal for Siemens Enterprise products being brought to market.