I do have to agree with some of this: “the imminent death of the PBX is the perfect forcing event to help you drive your customers away from on-prem PBX’s into cloud-based communications like UCaaS.” It takes a Trigger Event like a dead PBX to make a prospect move forward with a sale. However, there is no saying that the prospect wil choose to go cloud, especially if that PBX lasted 8-10 years!
Airespring launched a Cloud Key System. This plays into the tried and true telecom sales approach: Replace what they have but save them some money. It is this very problem that the RLECs face today: revenue decline because after 22 years of saving money, revenue can’t go up.
The Key System replacement will be an easier sale. No Change involved. That makes the sales process easier. (It will get bogged down with the phone/handset component though).
Cloud services has always been about flexibility, productivity and business process improvement. However, to get BPI something has to change. But selling Change is difficult.
I see a lot of innovation in the web conferencing space with Amazon Chime and now Amazon Alexa. Voice Assistants might take the pain out of conference calls.
A company called Voxeet added 3D sound to their conference service.
Seth Godin says just make better tacos. It is that simple.
That means the service delivery, customer care, user adoption and training will become a requirement in order for UCaaS to grow like predicted. Sales will need to be trained and re-trained in selling Change. These aspects will need vast improvement in order for UCaaS to grow.
Companies will need a Customer Evangelist or a very strong Product Manager (like TPX did).
Next, providers will need to use Big Data. Who are our customers? What Verticlas do we hit? How can we integrate better for them? What Friction can we remove?
I’m not the only voice for vertical integration. With 2000+ providers all shouting the same thing, with roughly the same feature set and willing to drop their pants on price to book ANY revenue at all, how will anyone compete in that pool?
Answer: by pivoting to get out of that pool.
You will need to do SOMETHING to stand out.
If not, CPaaS will win. It will win on price, simplicity and service delivery. CPaaS – whether that is Twilio, Nexmo (Vonage), Restcomm, Slingr or any of the other platforms – can sell online and deliver the DIDs and Dial-tone almost automatically. UCaaS is a lot of post-sale design.
When I look back on Grasshopper (now part of Citrix) or any other auto-attendant in the cloud, it was a simple concept for small business that was easy to buy, easy to set up and easy to sell. UCaaS is none of that.
There is a reason that most UCaaS Providers like Evolve IP and Fuze have had success in the mid-market sector (of what I consider 250-1000 employees). There is a reason that 8×8 and Vonage have championed their channel to chase mid-market and enterprise: these sales are BIG which moves the needle; these companies have IT staff that can help with deployment; and these companies are used to software projects failing.
In the SMB space of 100 and less, it is a lot of work in deployment, support, etc. It is a smaller revenue win. The costs almost outweigh the win. But why? Because the product is hard to figure out, etc. etc.
Simplify. Clarify. Position. Integrate. Go Vertical. Those are the keys to the game.