Like a bullet from a gun
In the run-up to Technology Live, taking place at the Business Design Centre, London on March 11, Technology Reseller is contacting key exhibitors to find more about what they will be showing at the event. To start the series, James Goulding speaks to Paul Gibbs, Sales Director of hosted telephony provider MyPhones
When Technology Reseller picked up the phone to MyPhones Sales Director Paul Gibbs in the middle of April, he had been in the role for just six weeks – but what a six weeks!
On the face of it, starting a new job at the beginning of March looks like serious bad timing. Gibbs disagrees, pointing out that the combination of frantic business activity and periods of reflection that many will have experienced during the Covid-19 lockdown has inspired the hosted telephony provider to implement changes that will underpin growth for years to come.
“It has been crazy,” he said. “Last month, we signed up double the normal number of new seats – half of them softphones – as customers prepared to work from home. We have even signed up new resellers during the lockdown period, which I never thought would happen.”
At the same time, Gibbs says that with no prospect of a return to the status quo ante there has been real energy and enthusiasm for preparing the company for the changed business climate that will exist once the lockdown is over.
“I said ‘Let’s be like a bullet from a gun when we come out of coronavirus, by giving our platform a totally different look and feel’. Everyone has got on board and is using the time to build something quite special,” he said.
Visitors to Technology Live will be among the first to see the fruits of these labours, with MyPhones using the event to showcase new branding, a new website and a revamped portal and sales configuration tool for its Altos hosted telephony platform.
Best kept secret
For IT resellers looking to broaden their recurring revenue base, Technology Live is an ideal opportunity to find out more about a company that Gibbs describes as “the industry’s best kept secret”.
MyPhones has a significant user base of about 72,500 seats, putting it in the Top 10 of UK hosted providers. It is also one of the fastest growing, adding 2,000 to 2,500 seats in a normal month (twice that last month), with an average end user customer deployment of about 12 seats.
MyPhones is a channel-only supplier and unlike most hosted telephony providers, which tend to be built on Broadsoft or Asterisk, it owns its own IP, its own code and its own switching. This helps resellers stand out in a crowded market, with around three in four opting to take the Altos product to market under their own brand.
“Resellers keep coming up against multiple rivals offering the same system, so there is strong demand to use a different brand, a different platform to differentiate themselves,” explained Gibbs. “In addition, we allow our resellers to be very aggressive commercially, as they are not pinned down by set pricing and can flex pricing very easily.”
Instead of having one price that also includes handsets and SIP channels, MyPhones offers a choice of licences (Gold, Silver and Silver Discounted) that
can be mixed and matched according to the needs of each user. If 10 people within an organisation require ring-tone only, a reseller can flex the price down accordingly.
The new portal MyPhones will be showing at Technology Live makes this process easier than ever thanks to a built-in configurator that simplifies the production of proposals and calculates a mean average buy price.
“At the moment we are a software only practice, but the plan is to bundle in hardware devices,” explained Gibbs. “A myriad of hardware devices can be plugged into our platform, but we are probably going to major with Cisco and Yealink. Resellers will be able to take their handsets from us in a bundled format and, where hardware is involved, we will move from 30-day licensing to term licensing (36 or 60 months).”
For the time being, MyPhones has no intention of bundling SIP channels with its licence, as the ability of partners to aggregate SIP channels from multiple providers remains a key competitive advantage, giving them the flexibility to pick and choose providers and make more margin.
“A second benefit,” said Gibbs, “is the ability to do things like local break-out in up to 32 countries. You could have 30 Gamma SIP channels plugged in; you could have 10 from Voiceflex; and then you could have 10 from DIDWW, which allows you to do local break-out in 32 countries.”
MyPhones already has a good mix of channel partners, including traditional telecoms dealers, copier dealers and IT resellers and is looking to recruit more. If you want to broaden your base of recurring revenue or are looking for a more flexible hosted telephony provider, make sure you visit MyPhones at Technology Live on March 11.