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How a Savvy Service Provider can Survive and Grow – Part II August 17, 2017

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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Delivering Tools to Increase Efficiency

Last week we touched on the value of Call Recording and Analytics – Another way to improve businesses competitiveness is to increase staff efficiency. Team Collaboration is a hot topic in the Service Provider space at the moment and directly addresses this need. Team software can build efficiencies into the way the business is communicating. Cavell report that the investments they are seeing in tools to help people to communicate better are huge. The starting point for team Collaboration was Internal messaging using IM services on a VoIP server. Early products were not very clever, or able to do much. The next step was to make it work better and allow teams to work more closely included SMS services with drag and drop capabilities and the ability to create workgroups providing the opportunity for integration of team solutions into the services offered by providers. Products such as Hipchat were free to download and initially were primarily used by developers, and they were provided as a standalone service. Slack today is still free to download but it has created the first company valued at over a billion dollars in under a year, and they have 1.5 million paid users as well as a free service with over 5m users.

Today, team Collaboration is becoming a ‘must have’ service offering and it is no longer just chatting on your own network, it is about integration into key business tools such as Salesforce and Google drive. Users of team software are able to automatically call files up or pull up salesforce details when talking. It is about linking products and making communications better, and as a result the number of integrated products has become a key differentiator between service offerings.

Team Collaboration is a product that sounds like it is a good fit for the large enterprise, but Cavell report that it is increasingly being used by small and medium businesses with remote workers. Launches from RingCentral, Broadsoft and Microsoft in the last few years as well as the standalone offers has invigorated the market and given Service Providers lots of choice of who to partner with to deliver these services to their customers. When launching new products, they are integrating messaging and Team Collaboration into their voice services with value adds such as click to dial. The approach is to create free, easy to use, communications solutions and offer links to call on the phone.

Many Collaboration software users are still not paying for their software, and Cavell speculate that Team Collaboration may become a competitive requirement for Service Providers in the future as companies look to enable their employees to communicate better. The issue that it may provide for Service Providers is can be consumed free but Service Providers will need to work on the sales challenge to learn to present and expand from selling lines and minutes to selling Collaboration – different sales techniques and a more consultative approach are needed as well as an understanding of how their customers work. But it’s not all bad news – integrated into services may not make any money per-se but it creates a stickiness that has a huge value to the Service Provider, since the more integrated the solution the less likely the customer is to change provider.

Stay tuned for our third post in the series where we will be touching on how smart bundles can be a game-changing differentiator.

If you wish to learn more about the industry, join us at the upcoming European VoIP Summit in Amsterdam on the 10th of October for an unmissable networking opportunity.


Cavell’s market reports offer in-depth analysis of the key market trends and are due to be released on August 31st. Please get in touch for more details.

Collaboration, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work – UC Expo 2017 May 24, 2017

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UC Expo in London last week was the perfect opportunity to catch up on the latest industry news and trends, meet existing and new customers and experience new products and technologies. Kicking off with a keynote talk from Red Bull on how their Formula 1 racing team uses collaboration tools to maximise performance on the track, hot topics included the Future of Work (encompassing discussions on work/life balance and the role of Artificial Intelligence) and the increasing importance of collaboration technologies such as Cisco Spark.

Using contact centres as an example, Noam Fine of i.am+ discussed the applications of AI in improving efficiency, agent turnover and increasing customer satisfaction. Within 3 years 85% of interactions between customer and company will be without human contact; replacing auto-attendants with AI that can answer questions using contextual information from the current call or background knowledge (location, purchasing history etc.) provides both a smoother customer experience and more fulfilling working environment, as agents are assigned based on experience and subject matter knowledge. On a more disconcerting note Ben Hammersley, Applied Futurist, explored the ‘AI Apocalypse’ and how AI threatens to disrupt the current workspace by computerising aspects of high paying knowledge-jobs, such as contract proofing in the legal profession. Nonetheless, he did provoke some thought about the benefits a business orientated Amazon Alexa could bring to the office environment. This was particularly interesting as Andrew Maher (Avaya) had earlier mentioned his belief that contextually powered AI solutions would be key throughout 2017/18.

Collaboration technology was also discussed frequently over the two day event. Using figures from KMPG, Snorre Kjesbu (Cisco) argued that 82% of CEOs do not know whether their products would still be relevant in 3 years’ time. The speed and innovation required to stay abreast of the rapid changes faced today was demonstrated by Cisco Spark and its accompany Board, which allows for wireless presenting, white boarding and of course video/audio conferencing. A panel discussion featuring speakers from 8×8, GCI, AT&T and Mitel covered UC Cloud Communications, discussing for example how long customers should commit to cloud for (answers ranged from 36-60 months) and the bundling of desk phones. How this affects continuously falling UC pricing will be interesting as providers seek to offer better service between soft- and hardware and offer financing options for equipment.

We greatly enjoyed the expo and are looking forward to seeing what next year’s topics will cover. In the meantime, our biannual research period has just launched, meaning we will be meeting Service Providers across the UK and Europe gathering information for our upcoming European market reports. If you wish to purchase last year’s reports or find out more about the topics covered in this post, please contact dominic.black@cavellgroup.com or francisca.dinga@cavellgroup.com.