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How a Savvy Service Provider can Survive and Grow – Part III August 23, 2017

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shutterstock_150110996Creating Bundles of Success

We have frequently heard that selling telephony services on features is simply emulating the old PBX sales approach and that hosted services benefits for a solution-based sale. Now we have figures to prove it. Cavell figures for 2016-17 confirm that where Service Providers in the channel are seeing success is in the SME where Service Providers are bundling a tight solution and with a very defined set of capabilities. The advantage of bundling is that it creates a solution-based proposition with a vertical or horizontal approach where the Channel understands their pricing, margin and the commercial and technical solution.

Vertical bundles are very strong, enabling the Service Provider to sell down a single vertical and targeting on features needed by that vertical. Cavell has seen a number of Service Providers target specific verticals by integrating into key business solutions that that vertical works with. It requires that the Service Provider understand the business processes of the customer and demonstrates this value to the customer.

Horizontal solutions can be equally strong with specialised CRM integration, or solutions with voicemail control options for road warrior use. Bundles can be commercial or technical, the secret is to tailor them to your target market and demonstrate an understanding of their requirements. A sound business approach for a Service Provider would be to start with commercial bundles and then develop into a technically integrated bundled solution as the customer requirements become clear. The approach for the Service Provider is to analyse your USPs, examine your customer base and products and then look at the rest of the market to determine your competition.

Bundling is more about how to do better with what you already have than about offering anything new.

Service Providers who embrace these opportunities and build solutions with specific value in mind are most likely to be the winners in the market.


If you wish to read more about how the market is changing, please get in touch for more information on Cavell’s market reports due to be released next week on Thursday, August 31st.

 

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

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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.

Preparing for GDPR? Everything you need to know at the upcoming European VoIP Summit. August 16, 2017

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As the General Data Protection Regulation is due to be implemented on May 25th 2018, businesses in the communications space need to plan and prepare accordingly.
In order to get you up to speed, we have organised a special session on Regulation Changes: GDPR at our upcoming European VoIP Summit on the 10th of October at the Hotel Arena in Amsterdam, presented by:

ICTRecht

If you are a Service Provider and find yourself asking what you should do next to ensure your business complies with the new regulations, this session is for you.

Visit our website for the complete Agenda.

Register here today

Have you seen our short European VoIP Summit highlights video?

We look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam on the 10th of October!Gold_Sponsors_EVSAms17

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

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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

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.

The inaugural Channel Leaders Conference: a great success! April 27, 2017

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Collage

Monday was an exciting day; the London Channel Leaders Conference (#CLeaders17) successfully launched in collaboration with Comms Business Magazine. Delegates enjoyed a day of panel talks on highly relevant topics such as ‘How Can You Guide Your Customers Through the Digital Age?’ and ‘Building Compelling Solutions (Verticalisation & Integration),’ networking opportunities and keynote presentations by Matt Townend, Director of the Cavell Group, and Kristine Olson-Chapman, Managing Director of TalkTalk Business. Digital Disruption, the UK Telecoms Market (find out more in our reports here), the Internet of Things (IoT) and the changing role of the Channel were also among the key topics of discussion.

Of these several recurring themes, the most prominent were falling traditional market revenues and rapidly changing customer requirements. The first panel discussion of the day was ‘How Can You Guide Your Customers Through the Digital Age?’.

Chaired by David Dungay, Deputy Editor of Comms Business, Ralph Page (Director of Global Strategic Solutions at Genband), Mike Wilkinson (VP Marketing & Product Management at Lumeon), and Dan Cunliffe (Managing Director of Pangea) tackled points on identifying when a customer is struggling to adopt a digital strategy. This lead to an interesting anecdote on smart water drains on the Isle of Wight by Dan Cunliffe, prompting further discussion on the IoT. Another hotly discussed point on the panel was where Channels can find immediate success in a rapidly changing industry, be it focussing on CPaaS, M2M or elsewhere.

The liveliest panel discussion however, was represented by ‘Suppliers and Vendor Selection:  Which Horse Should I Back in the Future?’ between Steve Harris (MD of Siphon/EVP UC Nuvias), Richard Bligh (COO of Gamma), Mark Timmermans (Director of Portfolio Development at BT Wholesale), Gary Gould (MD EMEA at ShoreTel) and Russell Lux (CEO of TelcoSwitch).

The variety of vendor and service provider businesses present, passionate panellists and importance of the topic created some great discussion on the fragmentation of the traditional vendor and service provider markets, as well as what products/verticalisations/service areas the channel should embrace. This was particularly relevant with the recent news on companies like Avaya. Discussion also touched on competing with the services provided by the likes of Twilio, Microsoft and Amazon and how cloud services can transform industries like distribution and logistics.

We would like to thank our Gold (Knight Corporate Finance, Strategic Imperatives, and TelcoSwitch) and Silver Sponsors for their contributions to making Channel Leaders a success, and also, Blabbermouth, whose drinks sponsorship fuelled a great networking opportunity at the end of the day.


If you did not manage to attend Channel Leaders 17 but are interested in the topics discussed, want to meet industry leaders and gain valuable insight into the European Telecoms industry, click here for our upcoming event in Amsterdam (10th October 2017), or use the email addresses below for more information regarding our next event in London (8th March 2018).

You can also contact francisca.dinga@cavellgroup.com or dominic.black@cavellgroup.com for further questions and sponsorship opportunities for both events.

For research into the European VoIP markets, click here for our website, or contact adam.kowalski@cavellgroup.com or dominic.black@cavellgroup.com

#CLeaders17: An unmissable day that will influence the strategy for your business going forward March 24, 2017

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We are currently undergoing some of the most fundamental changes to the ICT industry that anyone working within it has ever seen. That is why is it important for Channel Leaders to take a day out of their busy schedule to attend Channel Leaders 2017!

The conference combines practical knowledge with forward-thinking strategic advice and discussion. We believe that attendees will enjoy and benefit from an unmissable day that will influence their strategy for their business going forward. The content for the conference is a combination of expert analysis and thought-provoking views from respected analysts and commentators, delivered as keynote and panel sessions with input from some of the UK’s Channel leaders themselves.

We have over 20 speakers confirmed including: Russell Lux – CEO TelcoSwitch, Richard Bligh – COO Gamma, Steve Harris – CEO Siphon, Kristine Olson-Chapman – General Manager Talk Talk Business, John Whitty – CEO Solar Communications, Adam Zoldan Knight Corporate Finance. We also have a great lineup of sponsors.

View the agenda here.

Channel Leaders conference attendees will have a unique opportunity to network with their peers at this gathering of the senior management of the UK’s leading ICT Reseller businesses. Our agenda allows plenty of time for delegates to discuss business opportunities and build relationships.

To register, please click here.

BT Openreach separation agreed but still part of BT Group March 10, 2017

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This morning it was announced that BT and Ofcom have reached agreement on a long-term regulatory settlement that will see Openreach become a distinct, legally separate company with its own Board. However, the new entity will still report to the BT Group and ultimately the BT CEO Gavin Patterson.

The new company, Openreach Ltd, will have its own separate logo without BT and report to an independent board. It will also transfer over 32,000 employees to the new company however their pension rights etc. will be upheld.

The BT Announcement stated:

“This Board will set Openreach’s medium term and annual operating plans and determine which technologies are deployed, within a strategic and financial framework defined by BT. Openreach will be free to explore alternative co-investment models in private with third parties.

The Openreach CEO will report into the Openreach Chairman, with accountability to the BT Group Chief Executive with regards to certain legal and fiduciary duties that are consistent with BT’s responsibilities as a listed company.”

The question will be exactly what does this mean in terms of independence, and what benefits it will bring. TalkTalk responded favourably in a statement this morning but did reinforce that Ofcom’s job is not over yet.

Dido Harding, Chief Executive Officer, TalkTalk commented:

“We welcome the agreement to create a legally separate Openreach. The new company will be better placed to deliver the improved investment and service that consumers and businesses deserve. This deal will require robust Ofcom monitoring and enforcement to ensure it delivers the improvements the regulator expects. We hope this is the start of a new deal for Britain’s broadband customers, who will be keen to see a clear timetable from Openreach setting out when their services will improve.” 

In essence, this seem a very positive move and we hope it brings what BT Gavin Patterson stated:

“I believe this agreement will serve the long-term interests of millions of UK households, businesses and service providers that rely on our infrastructure. It will also end a period of uncertainty for our people and support further investment in the UK’s digital infrastructure. 

 

 

 

 

#EVSLDN17: Who will run the Communications Platform of the future? January 31, 2017

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SONY DSCThe future is about providing a VoIP platform that people can integrate and develop on, to solve both specific and generic customer problems.

With an ever increasing number of Service Providers considering whether to buy or build their own platforms, there is a huge question of who will be running the Communications platform in the future. Service Providers, Vendors, System Integrators and Developers are all trying to work out what their role is going to be in this new world of communications and they may as well have to fight for their very future and relevance.

Find out more from the experts at the European VoIP Summit 2017
at the QEII Centre in London on 9th March:

  • Dean Elwood – CEO, Voxygen
  • Rob Pickering – MD, IPCortex
  • James Slaney – Co-founder, Dubber
  • Rob Cox – Commercial Director, Mondago
  • Prof. Matthew Wilson – CEO, Telecoms Cloud
  • Mike Wilkinson – VP Marketing & Product Management, Lumeon

These are just some of the experts who will be discussing the dynamics, providing input from all parts of the ecosystem and sharing their views on market opportunities for Service Providers.


With the Service Provider Pass you can bring your colleagues along to discover ideas on how to prepare for your future. It includes 3 tickets for £300+VAT offering you 20% off each ticket when bought together.

Book your ticket here

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We look forward to seeing you on the 9th of March!

The Fine Line of Trust in Customer Relationships #EVSLDN17 January 24, 2017

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Cavell are proud to announce the European VoIP Summit 2017 Guest Speaker: IBM’s Global Communications Industry Leader Rob van den Dam.

In a highly competitive market, telcos often struggle to differentiate their services and in their ongoing race to bring out new features and solutions they can find themselves at risk of losing focus on what remains constantly important: customer experience.

Join us for the European VoIP Summit 2017 on March 9th at the QEII Conference Centre, in London to discover the key to mastering:

The Fine Line of Trust in Customer Relationships

For customers, their ideal customer experience is prompt and effective response to queries, outstanding service and fair resolution to complaints, said van den Dam. But telcos are falling way short of that ideal. They generally rate average to good – but that’s not good enough. You really have to excel at customer experience if you’re going to be competitive.

Rob van den Dam’s Keynote Presentation touches on:

  • Findings from IBM’s global telecom consumer survey
  • Personal data to reshape customer experiences
  • Digital trust as the key factor in relationships between customers and providers
  • Telcos’ unique position in the personal data opportunity

Tickets are selling fast: register here today and be sure not to miss out on this unique opportunity!


About Rob van den Dam

SONY DSC Rob van den Dam leads strategic thought leadership in telecommunications and media & entertainment, developing future agendas, industry outlooks and business value realization studies.

He has over 25 years experience in the communications industry. Rob periodically presents at major industry conferences, such as ITU World, GSMA Mobile Asia, TMForum, CommunicAsia, Digiworld, Total Telecom and IBC.

He has published multiple articles in, amongst others, the Annual Review of Communications, Jnl of Telecommunications Management, European Communications, Total Telecom Magazine, Broadcast Engineering, Telecom Asia and Mobile Europe.