Friction

In 15 years, cloud communications had not even hit 15% penetration of the market. A pandemic pushed it to 25% (maybe 30%). That means it wasn’t really anything the CSPs did; they just answered the phone when people called (and if they didn’t drop the ball, they got a customer).

UCaaS messaging centered around voice and PBX replacement, yet when the pandemic hit, businesses were buying Facetime and MS Teams. This functionality was built into every UCaaS bundle. How did UCaaS miss the boat?

Cisco Webex, PGi, and GoTo had been offering video conferencing for years, but Zoom swooped in and stole the show. Even on the education sector, when schools went virtual, did any of the legacy players take market share? Marketers should examine that to find out why.

As I think through the MS Teams win, I chalk that up to Microsoft marketing muscle and the fact that Office365 was already in front of so many businesses. It made sense for businesses to leverage that on the fly and to lean on it as it is embedded now – email, messaging, documents. The unified inbox.

When enabled, the MS Teams app will contain docs, email, chat, presence, SMS, voicemail, video and conferencing. That’s kind of the Holy Grail the market has been waiting for. Microsoft’s plan to extend MS Teams infiltration to every business is moving forward. Every Metaswitch shop will be pushing MS Teams as the “softphone” going forward.

A lot went into play to get to here for Microsoft including many gyrations of Lync, Skype, Office. Also, a ton of marketing especially to their partners to explain capabilities, uses, and licensing.

Why did Zoom win so big? 1 Million phones in 24 months! Was it the price, the pandemic, or a confluence of factors? Is $10 the price point to move seats? MS Teams Direct Routing runs between $5 and $10 per seat, so perhaps that is the sweet spot.

Or was it the simple (frictionless) way to add voice? No phone was shipped, just a tab on the Zoom app was turned on. In other words, voice is the pull-through (fly-wheel) from the video service.

It took 8×8 and RingCentral over 10 years to hit 1M seats. In 2020, both pushed out Meetings apps. This is chasing the after market leader. Does anyone have a Zoom problem? Because if you aren’t solving a problem your market has, harder to get traction.

I’ll leave you with this: How easy is it to buy from your company? I secret shop the cloud comms space frequently. It is not simple or easy. Too much friction with unnecessary steps. It should be signup, download the softphone and a test call happens in 5 minutes.

For Microsoft users it was just easy to transition to MS Teams. Most companies already use some Microsoft product. Not a lot of friction to upgrade or add more products. Also, Microsoft is salient (top of mind). Marketing and ease of business are the two ways to win.

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