Jabra steps up play in rarified contact centre market

Jabra steps up play in rarified contact centre market

Headset and UC maker adds distributor in New Zealand

Unified communications hardware vendor Jabra has appointed Distribution Central as its third distributor in New Zealand, as it turns up the heat on the contact centre side of the business.

The company says that a deal with Distribution Central’s Unity Systems’ UC division was set to be finalised, and would add 22 potential resellers to Jabra’s partner ecosystem. Unity joins incumbents Westcon and 24/7.

“The traditional way we’ve won business in New Zealand was through Westcon and 24/7, and that lead us to a different subset of customers,” says Jabra’s ANZ MD Fulvio Toniotti. “We’ve got the UC play with 24/7 and Westcon, but in the call centre market, Unity brings a bigger strength in that area. That was what we were looking for in that niche. We were missing out some opporutnities not being in early, that’s for sure.”

The contact centre industry in New Zealand present a narrow niche for any vendor. Statistics on the Contact Centre Institute of New Zealand website indicate there are only about 29,000 “seats” in the entire country, while other statistics suggest the number of employers in this sector rank in the hundreds.

Toniotti says these are questions Jabra considers when trying to distinguish itself from other vendors in this tight market. Jabra says it relies heavily on its distributors. It recently participated in Westcon’s Imagine NZ conference, with two members of Jabra’s Sydney-based team making an appearance at the Auckland event.

“What tends to happen is sometimes we’ll lead the relationship, find the opportunity and put it back into the channel, and in other cases they will lead the engagement and we’ll support them with sales and technology requirements for putting the proposals together to get the right solutions,” says Toniotti. “But either way we do find that we’re more successful when we’re involved in the engagement with the customer.”

Toniotti suggests that partners can help secure a customer deal by making sure that in a mult-million dollar investment in data, cabling, servers and other equipment, the “quality of investment” won’t be put “in jeopardy in the last three feet, as we call it”.

Jabra had three distributors when Toniotti started in early 2011. (Express Data had signed on with Jabra in mid-2010). But Toniotti says the vendor wanted more focus on the call centre market.

Signing on of Distribution Central’s Unity comes a few months after the vendor launched its WIN Partner Programme, which provides access to online training modules through its Ecademy, and lead generation tools through its PartnerNet portal.

Toniotti says the contact centre sector may provide SI’s and resellers opportunities as backlashes against outsourcing and offshoring, and bring some of those jobs back to New Zealand. He also sees the trends of home agents and mobile agents playing into Jabra’s portfolio and R&D investment.

“You have to have the flexibility of going from a noisy, saturated environment with a lot of people jabbering away to the home agent who wants a cup of coffee while they’re talking,” he says.

“Jabra has to understand the needs and wants the agencies have and what kind of agents they need to attract. There’s a lot of flexibility, but the key in terms of quality is the key in terms of choice of the contact centre headset.”

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