It is important to note that while these tech trends won’t be new, we are still in the early days – and the market opportunity still lies before us. Take UCaaS for example. Despite being around for over 15 years, the market penetration hasn’t even reached 20%. In SD-WAN, there are less than 30K businesses on SD-WAN. (I originally thought it was 10K, but then Cisco announced they had 20k). It is still early days. And everything takes longer than we think, says Hofstadter’s Law.
We often talk about being the “Trusted Advisor” without talking about what that looks like. It doesn’t mean that you are an expert at everything. It means that you apply your knowledge, your contacts and your network to solve business problems. You don’t have to know everything. You do have to ask really good questions! If you ask the right questions, you can find out where your client is trying to go and what the hot buttons are. What pain are we trying to solve?
As a Trusted Advisor, you bring to the table a number of things, including best practices, real world experience, and what their competitors are doing. That knowledge coupled with really good questions puts you on the road to success. In this slide deck I have included a selection of questions to ask your customers in order to provide added value to them — and open up the conversation beyond just network. Good luck in 2020! and Happy Holidays from the RAD-INFO team.
Other trends discussed in this November 2019 webinar with AireSpring included SD-WAN, 5G. CPaaS, AI, IoT, Collaboration, and Cyber-Security. 5G isn’t going to be much different than 4G in actual experience (in my opinion), but it dovetails with Internet of Things (IOT) projects like connected cars and smart cities.
Artificial Intelligence has been around since 1956 but quantum computing, big data, machine learning and other advances in IT have brought it out of the lab. IBM Watson, Kandy by Ribbon, Amazon Alexa, Google AI, and other platforms have empowered AI for the SMB – with chatbots, virtual assistants, IVR & speech recognition, wearables, drug discovery, facial recognition and personalization of insurance.
I think UCaaS will give way to CPaaS whereby businesses buy dial-tone then add on functions that they want, like chatbot, ACD, IVR, voicemail-to-text, SMS and more. Bundles with Bronze, Silver and Gold should morph into verticals. For example, dry cleaners typically buy this package; if they use this POS system, they also get this. Although a really smart POS system will sell CPaaS as an add-on.
Collaboration is becoming a messy term. Video calls are increasing. Webinars and virtual meetings are common. HR departments use video calls for applicant screening. Slack, Workplace, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and more are allowing remote workers to collab/work together productively. That is the outcome we all were looking for.
Lastly, with hacks and breaches increasing at an incredible rate, the Cyber-security opportunity for partners lies in cloud back-up, cyber insurance and anti-phishing training. You don’t have to try to figure out DDoS from UTM (and all the other acronyms). Look for the window of opportunity – and supply it. Plenty of vendors to choose from (I mentioned dozens of them in the presentation below).