2018 CRN Impact Awards: CommsPlus and Panasonic

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2018 CRN Impact Awards: CommsPlus and Panasonic

Hosted collaboration has been slowly but surely growing over the past decade and now promises a real alternative to traditional on-premises telephony – which creates a threat for traditional resellers that can't offer a cloud solution.

This market shift motivated Melbourne-headquartered CommsPlus Distribution to launch a hosted solution for Panasonic that has been recognised as a finalist in the 'Distribution Performance' category of the 2018 CRN Impact Awards.

The distie partnered with local software provider Access4 – which was itself a finalist in the 2017 awards – to create PANAcloud.

PANAcloud is a hosted unified communications-as-a-service solution and partner program that provides Panasonic dealers with a cloud telephony solution for Panasonic SIP handsets, allowing them to tap into the growing cloud UC market and shift from traditional hardware resell to an annuity model.

Pricing was important. "Collectively we worked backwards," according to CommsPlus. "We started with what the market price needed to be for the partner to sell to the end customer, then created a suitable margin for the partner to make.

"Access4 then built a distribution price to allow CommsPlus to make sustainable margin on this product. This has ensured that at the distribution and reseller stage all parties can make healthy margins and ensure long-term business success."

It's still early days for the platform, but CommsPlus has high hopes for the launch – as well as ambitious revenue targets.

The platform uses Access4's proprietary SASBOSS provisioning system to provide dealers the capability for "seamless device procurement with zero touch provisioning of Panasonic handsets".

According to CommsPlus, "PANAcloud enables these dealers to keep their customers on a Panasonic solution and migrate them to the cloud at their own pace.

"For the customer they can run a hybrid solution with Access4 SIP trunking connecting to the existing PBX and Panasonic hosted end points in the same customer. This gives the customer a controlled migration to cloud.

"PANAcloud provides an all-important managed services product for Panasonic partner businesses that today are hardware sales-driven. This gives them a revenue diversification into annuity cloud revenue that will future proof their businesses, which are predominantly small to medium businesses," the distributor stated.

CommsPlus praised Access4 for its support. The independent software vendor built the development into its provisioning system to specifically cater specifically to Panasonic devices,
as well as providing engineering services, and working with Panasonic's product development team.

Access4 also provides an end-to-end billing management "so that dealers don’t need to invest in complicated billing systems".

Ruy Franco, sales and marketing director at Access4, said: "The solution will provide a fully supported and feature rich experience allowing customers to utilise the full potential of Panasonic handsets on the Access4 platform."

CommsPlus is a finalist in the 'Distribution Performance' category in the 2018 CRN Impact Awards. For a list of all finalists and further details on the awards, please head to the CRN Impact Awards hub. The awards take place during the CRN Pipeline conference. You can get more information and purchase tickets here.

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