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The video market is as crowded as it's ever been, but to Phillips, who provided consulting between his departure from Polycom and his hiring at York Telecom two years later, it's still not that crowded.
"The VAR community even today is actually quite small," he said. "There can't be more than a few thousand people in the channel who actually know how to sell and implement videoconferencing properly."
A solution provider with detailed knowledge of how to do those things -- video, voice, collaboration -- plus derive significant revenue from advanced service offerings such as VNOC (video network operations center) hosted services, help desk, media services and consulting will be in high demand, Phillips contends.
"What [the market] needs is someone who can take up a position of dominance in the industry. No one at this point in time, from a customer perspective, is the dominant player, not even the service providers," he said. "So as I look across the landscape, York represents one of the best VARs for managed services around. I've been very impressed by both the people and the business."
In addition to its voice, video and collaboration focuses, York Telecom has a growing digital signage practice and a sizable presence in the public sector channel, including a 10-year streak of federal government business recently broadened by a five-year extension to its General Services Administration (GSA) contract.
"The way the company is structured opens up the possibility for scalability," said Phillips. "When I was at Polycom, York was always a great customer and partner, but we didn't always hear too much from them and they were a little bit below the radar. I've learned that they're a best-kept secret, and they have some really good customers. We're looking to get a lot more visibility."
Infonetics Research recently pegged annual revenue for enterprise videoconferencing as having grown 18 percent in 2010, becoming a $2.2 billion market by the beginning of 2011 and expected to more than double by 2015.
That kind of growth opportunity means solution providers and vendors need to sharpen their sales pitch, Phillips said, and put video in a more practical context.
"I see CIOs' eyes glaze over and they want to jump out the window," he said, when asked about challenges selling video to enterprise customers. "They need someone who can say. 'Don't panic, here's how to do it and, by the way, we'll manage it for you.' "
Too few vendors have shifted their focus on video sales through the channel from a conversation about endpoints to a conversation about services, Phillips said. But it’s managed services and integration services where solution providers can make the most money -- especially given video's place in the broader context of UC and cloud-based infrastructure.
"There's plenty of good product around," Phillips said. "What the vendors have to do is stop building products and consider what the endgame is."