Digium SwitchVox: Open Source UC Sales Are Climbing
How do you monetize open source solutions? The VAR Guy hears that question all the time. Here’s one potential answer: Check out Digium SwitchVox, a small business unified communications system built on Linux and Asterisk, the open source IP PBX. SwitchVox sales grew nearly 25 percent in 2009, according to Director of Product Marketing Tristan Barnum (pictured). Here’s what else Barnum had to say.
First, a little background. Digium acquired SwitchVox in September 2007. Since that time, Digium has aggressively built a channel partner program for its own Asterisk offerings as well as the SwitchVox product lineup. And in March 2010, Synnex agreed to distribute SwitchVox. Next up, Digium is expected to land near the top of The VAR Guy’s Second Annual Open Source 50 report, which tracks the most noteworthy open source channel partner programs. (The report will be published May 17.)
Now that you know the back story, let’s take a look at Digium’s SwitchVox business. According to Barnum:
“While the rest of the vendors in our space saw revenues decline somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% last year, Switchvox sales were up 23% in 2009. I think this shows that SMB customers are looking for alternatives to their expensive proprietary systems because of the current economic climate. The obvious choice is to seek out an open source or open source-based product like Switchvox that can do much more than their old systems, but for half the price! The VARs that are bringing open source solutions like Digium’s on board are winning business, even in this economy, and driving this tremendous growth for the Switchvox product line.”
Admittedly, Barnum’s statement contains some marketing jargon. But it’s difficult to argue with her core message: SwitchVox sales were up dramatically during the recession.
Still, it’s important to put SwitchVox’s momentum in proper context. During last week’s HP Americas Partner Conference and the rival Cisco Partner Summit, most VARs and solutions providers were focused on traditional unified communications offerings. The big competitive statements involved HP’s 3Com acquisition vs. Cisco. Plus, most pundits at the events focused on the convergence of networking, storage and servers in the data center.
There was nary a mention of Asterisk, nor was there concern about Digium’s open source options chipping away at traditional SMB options from Cisco and HP.
Check in with Digium’s Barnum, however, and the message is clear: More and more VARs are jumping on the SwitchVox bandwagon.