Based in Fountain Valley, Calif., systems provider D-Link has established a name for itself with its VoiceCenter products. These base units, gateways, and handsets are helping drive $1.2 billion in annual revenues for this 2,200-person company. Now D-Link executives want to round out their offerings with voice services.
The company recently announced a marketing partnership with New Global Telecom (NGT), a provider of wholesale hosted and trunk-based VoIP solutions. By pairing the companies' hardware offerings and telephony services, the partners hope to give small and mid-sized businesses one more reason to make the leap to VoIP (powered by D-Link, of course).
"Part of our strategy is to begin to offer more solution-oriented products and services to our customers, specifically in the SMB space," said D-Link Systems Executive Vice President Keith Karlsen. To achieve this, "it was necessary for us to provide the VoIP backend service as well, so that we could have a full portfolio, not only the hardware but through the entire service."
The deal is of particular note since D-Link is one of only three partners designated by Microsoft to make use of Microsoft's ResponsePoint telephony software, a phone system characterized by its ease of use and deployment.
Neither of the other ResponsePoint partners has announced a similar ITSP relationship. Aastra says it has no such arrangement. Syspine has some informal ties: Earlier this year, for instance, the company went on a road show with Cbeyond, according to Syspine Director of Sales and Marketing Robert Gordon. (Cbeyond is one of at least three Microsoft-approved ITSPs, along with Junction Networks and NGT).
Under the newly announced agreement between D-Link and NGT, NGT's Digital Voice phone services connect directly to the D-Link VoiceCenter phone system, based on Response Point software. The tie-in consists of a cross-marketing arrangement, with each side informing its own VARs of the availability of the complimentary technology.
D-Link is planning an extensive outreach effort to its VAR community, Karlsen said. Resellers will be able to get information at dedicated portals and through newsletters. A series of road shows and webinars will highlight ways in which a pairing of D-Link and NGT could better serve customers, while giving VARs something new to add to their offerings.
With 8,000 VARs in the fold, D-Link will need to narrow its marketing efforts. "Obviously we are not going to reach all of them, so we are looking to reach the 1,000 to 1,500 that are in sweet spot of this portfolio," Karlsen said. "We especially do want to see some degree of interest on the voice side, as opposed to just network technology." The addition of NGT technology is going to have strongest appeal to those already thinking about upgrading their voice solutions.
The partners are steering along the well-established lines in the realm of SMB telecommunications solutions: Convenience and cash. These are the twin stars by which the SMB community is assumed to navigate.
In this case, a joined D-Link and NGT solution will require that only small number of parameters be set, said Joe Melfi, D-Link technical marketing engineer. With an NGT account in place, the system can be up and running in a matter of minutes, he said.
As regards finances, D-Link estimates implementation of a SIP solution from D-Link and NGT might enable a small businesses to cut phone expenses by 50 percent as compared to the cost of running a traditional PSTN system.
As noted, D-Link and NGT both enjoy close relations with Microsoft, a fact Karlsen said has been instrumental in bringing the companies to this juncture. For starters, Microsoft introduced the two players. The software giant also has helped D-Link to develop deeply discounted demonstration products for its partners, and has lent personnel in support of the company's work. Microsoft's leasing arm has helped bring D-Link together with small business clients.
Sounds rosy, does it not? Yet while Karlsen isn't kicking, he says he still is waiting for the cha-ching.
"From a relationship perspective it has been great. Now we want to see results in some tremendous volumes. Then I will say: Fantastic!"