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How a Savvy Service Provider can Survive and Grow – Part I August 11, 2017

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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Many businesses in the UK, small, medium and large are suffering. Pressures created by fears of what BREXIT may bring, austerity reducing the flow of money and challenging economic conditions, mean they are searching for efficiencies and cost saving opportunities to maintain and grow. These are requirements that the savvy Service Provider can meet to grow their own business. Services have become increasingly competitive and the number of Service Providers in the UK now exceeds 95, so business customers have choice, and this creates the need for Service Providers to increase the attractiveness of their offerings creating stickiness to maintain their current clients and to introduce new value-added services to increase their client base.

Value Added Services that Improve Customer Service

Good customer service is key to business success in every sector and the market research firm Cavell are reporting an increasing demand for call centre features for business telephone users beyond the contact centre. They surmise that this is a direct result of the drive to improve customer services.  The business goal is to collect data from communications that will provide information to help the business to make customer communications better and enable multiple communication channels to be utilised beyond voice, including social media and instant messaging. Call Recording and Analytics are the two key basic call centre offering in demand and large platform providers are increasingly developing these capabilities, or collaborating to be able to offer these services to SME and large enterprise businesses.

Call recording has been available for a while and is a mature product. The key applications have been MIFID II for financial Service tracking and PCI compliant call recording for where credit card details are collected over the phone. The recent change, is that there is an increasing use of Call Recording to provide the business with the data to target areas for improvement through staff training and to secure details of customer interactions for future reference and to improve customer service.

Analytics is the second growing offering. Businesses are increasingly using Analytics on every customer inbound channel to gather information to help them to sell better and to understand what media their customers are using to communicate with them. This data helps them to understand how their customer is interacting. Demand for these analytic products is very high. Service Providers such 8×8 have invested in building their own analytics solutions and others are collaborating with providers like Akixi, Dubber and Tollring to be able to offer analytics solutions. The data provided helps the business to understand how to manage calls effectively and to identify future possibilities for new products.

Stay tuned for our upcoming posts where we will be covering what else we have seen makes Service Providers successful in this ever-changing and highly-competitive market.

Also, if you wish to contribute to our market research (due to be released on August 31st), please follow the links below. All participants will receive one ticket at our upcoming European VoIP Summit and have the opportunity to join our webinar on September 7th where we will be communicating our top-level results and some of the main trends we have seen in the UK Hosted VoIP and SIP Trunking market in the last six months.

Hosted VoIP Survey

SIP Trunking Survey

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Genband Perspectives 2016: Contextual Communications, Disruptors, the Future of Service Providers, CPaaS and Kandy May 13, 2016

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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David Walsh saw the rise of Contextual Communications being one of the drivers of increased communication. His belief that by enabling people to communicate with whatever device and through any application that they want will increase the level of communications between parties which will in turn facilitate collaboration and increased productivity.

XO, the largest SIP Trunking provider in the USA, gave a good example of this with their Contact Center solution which use the Kandy platform with WebRTC integrations to allow customers to contact them using any medium that they want, be it voice, email, IM or video. By giving customers the choice of communication, they are able to improve the customer experience and address the customers’ needs – a key priority for contact centres.

Disruptors are driving innovation as companies look for ways to stay relevant in their industry

Katrina Troughton says that IBM are seeing that business leaders are facing more challenges then ever before. With the lifespan of Fortune 500 companies dropping under 15 years due to disruption, CEOs are looking at ways that they can keep their employees engaged and stay relevant in today’s market. There is a big push for companies to innovate to survive but many find it difficult to do so as they don’t have the skills.

This is relevant to VoIP providers as an increasing homogenisation of products, where differentiation is around pricing and features, is becoming ubiquitous across the board. As the Service Providers have a great understanding of their customers, as they work with them on a daily basis and understand their challenges, they are in an unique position to be able to give them the tools to communicate and enable greater collaboration.

What will a Service Provider look like in the future?

The issue for Service Providers is that they have generally been poor at creating their own applications as they do not have the development skills to create solutions for their customers, as their focus is around providing a voice service, not enabling collaboration. Roy Timor-Russo of Genband thinks that Genband will be able to fill that role of adding value with their apps and knowledge of what has worked for other Service Providers in other markets and alongside the Service Providers core voice competency.

Genband see their position in the market is providing the platform for application developers to integrate their features into. As one of the first movers into the CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service), the Kandy platform was built to allow developers to build applications for Service Providers, Enterprises and Vendors to quicken the time to market. David Walsh highlighted in the press conference at the end of the first day the need for all members of the telecoms ecosystem to be able to ‘Fail Quick’ with new features and that long development times do not always translate into successful stories. 90% of applications built will not be a success but there needs to be an acceptance and understanding that failure will yield results.

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It is still unclear what role Service Providers will play in the future, whether they will simply be running dumb ‘pipes’ or their customer will be facing background, meaning that they are well positioned to understand their customers needs and build the solutions to fit certain business verticals. What will be interesting is whether there will be a demand for a basic VoIP/UC solution in the future and how Service Providers will be able to cope with an increasingly development driven approach.

Is Kandy going to be future?

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We have seen a number of CPaaS providers appear over the last few years and it is still not clear who will emerge as a success. What is interesting and will be a challenge for Genband going down the route of Kandy and CPaaS is how they will maintain revenues in the future as customers adopt a ‘Click to Consume’ model, choosing only the applications that are relevant to themselves. From a company that is used to selling large CAPEX solutions, making a move to tight margins on applications over a base price of $2/user/month may prove difficult in the short term. Genband have created a good story with the Kandy platform and it will be interesting to see how the CPaaS ecosystem progresses in the future.