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Unified Communications
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UC Mag
Paula Bernier
Executive Editor,

IP Communications Magazines

Esnatech Makes UC Easy

They say education is its own reward. On the other hand, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" makes a lot of sense - especially in these days of tight budgets and a shrinking workforce.


That's why Ontario-based esnatech has designed its unified communications solutions to allow business customers to enjoy them via their existing applications and processes.


"One of the things that we do a little bit differently than other people is we don't introduce a new product or a new platform to learn," says Davide Petramala, vice president of marketing and sales at esnatech. "What we try to do is we add this to the existing infrastructure.


"What I mean by that is that if someone today is using SalesForce.com or they're on Lotus and they're using Groupwise, that's their core business app," he continues. "We just add this [UC] functionality or services to the existing interface they're using within the background."


That means business users don't require training on how to use a new interface to enjoy the cost and other productivity benefits of unified communications.


"Unified communications is about unifying your business process and really giving you better productivity of all of the communications services you have," explains Mohammad Nezarati, president and CEO of esnatech. "So when a call comes in and I know that it's Paula calling it would be useful to know that Paula has called three times this week and these are the emails that Paula has sent me. So we have a search window that pops up automatically when we receive a new call that gives us a history of that call.


"We integrate with CRM systems in the back end," he continues. "We integrate with various different mail servers to integrate not only your mail but also your calendar and your contacts. So if I'm sitting in my car I can just hit a button and say the person's name and it will connect me to that person right through my office PBX without me having to pay for that call on my cell phone. It's really about unifying all of the different communications fields."


And users need not be on the same application or matching endpoints, he adds.


"You could be on Google and I could be on Exchange and [someone else] could be on Lotus, and we could all be using our systems in a very similar way," says Nezarati. "Basically, you stay within the application platform you're most used to and you're comfortable in. We'll just enable that for you."


Nezarati says the three key values esnatech brings to the table are mobility, presence and messaging. "We do all three of those particular features extremely well," he says.


The fact that esnatech offers a software-only solution and has expertise in integration makes for additional flexibility.


"We're not a PBX vendor so we're not tied to a specific switching fabric," says Petramala. Esnatech software can work with new or older phone or data gear from any supplier.


"Our legacy of 20 years has afforded us a great deal of knowledge in the area of PBX integration," adds Nezarati. "When we first started, most of the PBXs weren't even designed for third-party applications."


That experience is particularly useful for addressing the needs of customers like Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which had more than 80 sites with over 10 brands of PBXs, many from the mid-'80s.


"We went in and actually provided centralized messaging," Nezarati says. "So we removed over 40 different Octel systems and are providing centralized messaging to a dozen different PBXs in new generations like Cisco Call Manager, but also legacy ones, and merging them all together."


PG&E was sold through a partner, but esnatech was actively involved in the planning of that project, adds Nezarati.


Partnerships are also an important aspect of the esnatech business.


The company gets its software, and sometimes related services, to businesses primarily through go-to-market relationships with PBX vendors, which bundle the UC solutions into their PBX offers. Aastra, Mitel and Iwatsu combined represent 50 to 60 percent of esnatech's sales, says Nezarati.


Telecom and data VARs, ISPs, other software suppliers and hosted providers (which employ esnatech software to deliver cloud-based services) are also among esnatech's other channel partners, he adds.


But one of the newer channel opportunities for esnatech, says Nezarati, has been with Google resellers.


"About a year and a half ago we integrated our products with Google Apps," he says. "We recognized that Google had disruptive technology coming into the enterprise, and we predicted at that time that Google would start to make a dent by 2010-2011 in the enterprise. It looks like we were on track, maybe a little bit late, because this year they've had a lot more take in the SMB and enterprise space.


"So we have a number of Google resellers that are coming onboard now and selling our product, as well as telecom VARs," he continues, adding. "We have a real mish-mash of reseller types and personalities."


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