Pragma conference reveals 'flexible' vision to partners

Channel only distributor Pragma has reinforced its commitment to its growing partner base by announcing a range of new products and support initiatives to address market disruption in the years ahead.

During the company's ‘On Course for Success' partner conference held at the famous golf venue The Belfry this month, the Pragma team underlined the strength of its partnership with manufacturer Ericsson-LG (ELG) which aims to satisfy customer demands for on-premise, hybrid or cloud communications solutions and a seamless upgrade path across all three.

Ahed Alkhatib (pictured above), VP of Global Sales at ELG Enterprise, told the 150 plus partners who attended that the success of last year's launch of ELG's iPECS Cloud solution, initially through Pragma's channel in the UK, had enabled partners to move into hefty mid-market opportunities and had helped Pragma achieve 30 per cent growth for the second year in succession. "The UK was a launch platform for iPECS Cloud and the growth has been astonishing," said Alkhatib. "Cloud is where the growth is and the applications and mobility sector is also growing. I would say that if you are not seeing this in your business, change your dynamic."

However, ELG and Pragma remain totally committed to on-premise applications too as Alkhatib confirmed. "On-premise business will decline by one or two per cent by 2019, but it's still worth £5 billion dollars globally," he said. "There is now a fragmented approach to solutions - no one size fits all - and none of our competitors have the cloud, hybrid and on-premise solutions we have in our kit bag."

Alkhatib pledged ELG's continued investment in on-premise solutions while adopting a comprehensive cloud evolution programme giving partners the opportunity to address SME and mid-market opportunities via ELG's Virtual UCP private cloud solutions, which Pragma Sales and Marketing Director Will Morey described as a 'massive step forward for partners'. And picking up on the flexibility theme, Morey said Pragma was perfectly placed to help resellers prioritise on the customer experience.

"Being digital is a challenge for you and your customers trying to adapt to new technologies," he told delegates. "You are seeing leads from social media and data is driving the decisions you are making every day. Flexibility enables us to compete and win. Some customers may want cloud, some will want on-premise, some will want a solution tailored to their needs and others will just want the cheapest. We can offer iPECS in the cupboard, in the data rack, in the cloud or anything in between. It's the same proposition. Cupboard to cloud is now at the heart of many reseller propositions."

"We are also delivering UC and mobility on top of our cloud solutions. Mobility and collaboration are key to any comms solution. Work is no longer a location. We can provide a consistent solution delivered on all mobile or desktop platforms. It's about access to data, knowledge and insight. It's not just about providing comms, it's about putting data at the fingertips to improve the customer experience. It's about analysing the touch points and enhancing the customer experience delivered through applications. We can integrate into these applications at a business process level to create a stickier relationship."

This was the cue for Daan Donders, founder and CEO of new Pragma partner SO WIFI, to explain how partners can get any businesses with footfall involved with their customers via its high end Wi-Fi solution, which through social media gathers visitors' personal data including age, gender, email address, location and behaviour. "You'll get insights into exactly who your customers are and build contact lists of proven visitors faster than ever before. This is not conference waffle. Everyone in this room is delivering," he said.

At the Pragma Partner Awards event finale Conceptunet (pictured left) secured the New Reseller of the Year Award for its private cloud deployment across 80 sites and 3,000 users for Oxleas Health Trust. Overall Reseller of the Year was Focus Group.