3Com and IBM first announced a relationship in the spring of 2006 where the VCX was ported to the IBM System-I platform. Brockmann & Company reported on the state of that relationship in notes from Voicecon (March 2007). Then, in mid-June 2007, IBM and Nortel made a similar announcement.
What does this mean to customers?
The prevailing thinking is that the key beneficiary of the System-I is the IBM customer, familiar with the platform, its Linux applications and partner support. Nobody will wake up and think, 'I like this VoIP system, and I'll like it even more on this fancy System-I.' Most will say, 'hey I've already got this fancy System-I server running my financials, my ERP, my CRM. I wonder if it could run my VoIP on it?'
Customers now have choices on the System-I for VoIP. The reseller can now say, 'would you like that with fries? baked potato?' This means the discussion doesn't have to be to do VoIP on System-I or not? but instead which of these two fine solutions would you prefer?
This changes the competitive framework and validates the risk IBM and 3Com took to implement the solution a year ago. It should accelerate the adoption of VoIP on System-I. We should expect more VoIP vendors climbing on-board this emerging market.
What do I say?
IBM resellers – we chose to specialize in brand A, because we wanted the best solution.
IBM resellers – we offer support for both brand A and brand B, because we believe in the future of VoIP on the System-I.
3Com employees – it's the best. You don't get just any reseller supporting the VCX. 3Com was the first with the IP PBX in 1998, and the first to deploy on the System-I in 2006.
Nortel employees – it's the best. Our company has been well known for voice services for many years. Our market leading relationship with both Lotus and Microsoft presents opportunities for integration that you can influence and shape.