Aastra looks to shake off Ericsson legacy

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Canada-based telecommunications solution vendor Aastra is looking to re-establish its brand in New Zealand and around the world, in a bid to throw off the legacy that has remained since its purchase of Ericsson’s enterprise PBX division in 2008.

The company has taken up with a new distributor, Connector Systems, and is releasing a new product, the Aastra 400, in an attempt to spread its message in new markets, particularly the SMB space.

Stephen Fullelove, country manager for Aastra New Zealand, says 80-90% of the company’s current revenue base in New Zealand is with enterprises, where their goal is for two thirds to come from small businesses. 

“When we purchased the enterprise business of Ericsson in 2008 it gave us a huge customer base,” Fullelove says.

“But people had heard of Ericsson – they hadn’t heard of Aastra. So we’re trying to create our own identity.”

The change is very much a bid for growth rather than a change in direction, with existing distribution relationships such as that with Zintel Cogent set to continue. 

The bid for the SMB space will be focused on offering enterprise-level functionality at an affordable price, via the Aastra 400.

Tony Warhurst, Aastra’s director of sales and marketing for ANZ, says the system offers all types of Unified Communications (UC) apps, but customers only pay for the ones they use.

“Embedded UC means different things in different industries,” Warhurst says.

“Rather than tell customers what we can do, we ask them, ‘What do you need? What is UC to you?’”

Having said that, the company is keen to convince businesses who ‘just want a dial tone’ about the advantages of some of the tools, so is offering key applications for no charge for the first few months so that customers can test them out.

“I can’t believe there’s a business out there that can’t find an aspect of this system to benefit from,” Fullelove says.

Furthermore, as the system is written to open standards, this also provides an opportunity for distributors and resellers to add value, Warhurst says.

“I personally think everyone deserves this kind of functionality.”

Go here for more on the Aastra 400 series.

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