jump to navigation

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

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

shutterstock_242602495

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.

Telcos missing out on Digital Disruption opportunity whilst CPaaS providers act October 27, 2016

Posted by Matthew Townend in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

shutterstock_309062636

You cannot help but read about how digital disruption is helping revolutionise existing businesses and enable new businesses to establish and disrupt complex industries. I think most people would also agree that at the heart of most business models are communications of different types.

So why is it that we find that Traditional model and fixed Telecoms companies are in general leaving this market opportunity to the CPaaS and development market to address?

Today, Cavell launches a report co-authored by Matthew Townend, Research and Consulting Director at Cavell, and Mike Wilkinson, one of the most respected senior marketing figures in the Technology market, former VP Product Marketing at Broadsoft and a pioneer in the whole UC and VoIP marketplaces.

In the report “The Communications Platform as a Service Market – Market Opportunities for Service Providers”, Cavell are exploring why companies like UBER, AIRBNB & WhatsApp all have chosen CPaaS providers like Twilio to power the transformation we are witnessing.

The paper addresses why the longstanding traditional Service Providers have not been able to embrace this opportunity, and what they might have to do in the future to be relevant both to these large scale global players, but also to their traditional national Enterprise customers who seek to establish new business processes and value propositions.

Matthew Townend, commented:

“As we move into a period of Digital transformation, we want to have real-time communications embedded into all sorts of business and consumer applications, and users want communication delivered in the context of their business and personal lives, however, not in the way vendors and communications providers prescribe it. Communications providers are going to have to deliver CPaaS platforms and capabilities that enable this change. “

“We are already seeing Business customers who demand their communications be imbedded in their vertical applications, as in their business they spend their life in say a hospitality business process tool. They do not want to receive it in the PBX or Cloud vendors UC all singing all dancing portal.”

For more details on the report please click here.

Cavell are Co-Hosting an industry dinner with the Internet Telephony Service Provider Association (ITSPA) in London, where we will be exploring these issues with a group of different service providers whilst also enjoying a great dinner and networking opportunity. Matt and Mike will both be at the dinner. For more details and how to book tickets please visit our website.

The concept of selling UC is dying! Service Providers offer industry/sector specific propositions to meet customer demand September 13, 2016

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

shutterstock_150110996

 

For well over a decade, the industry has been talking about Unified Communications, with vendors trying to push the idea that end users want to unify all their communications through one interface (normally vendor specific), and that they need to utilise a number of new communications mediums through this interface (including: Video, Presence, Collaboration, etc.).

When we look at the players who have been successful in selling hosted communications both in the UK and Europe, we see that very few are selling a concept of UC at all. What they have done well is they have segmented their customer base and they have produced bundled solutions that understand the “Context” within which the customer is operating and have offered solutions accordingly. Yes, there are some customers who want an all-singing, all-dancing UC experience, like you see in most vendors videos, but this appears to be a minority.

Our recent research on the Hosted Comms market shows that most service providers have developed their segmentation further, and they are now offering solutions that are designed to suit their customers’ needs in relation to the Vertical industry segment they operate in.

Figures have shown that 41% of the service providers tracked by Cavell, offer a selection of vertical solutions, 66% of which offer a public sector proposition, some providers selling solutions specifically tailored for one of the following public sector segments: local government, central government, education, healthcare, housing, public administration, justice, and emergency services.

The main commercial segments have been Financial (41%), Retail (38%) and Hospitality (23%). Other prevalent business categories vertically targeted by service providers are construction, media, travel & transport, and organisations operating in the legal sector. Cavell has also witnessed signs of verticalisation in technology, automotive, recruitment, logistics, manufacturing, third sector and professional services.

Matthew Townend, Director of Research & Consulting at Cavell stated: “The increased verticalisation shows an increasing requirement for Service Providers to offer solutions that recognise the context that their customers work and communicate in, rather than attempting to offer a broad based UC solution that attempts to dictate how they should communicate”.


Cavell Group have launched their latest UK Hosted VoIP and SIP Trunking market reports on the 2nd of September. For more information, please read our previous blog post.

Cavell is beginning latest round of research on the UK Hosted VoIP and SIP Trunking markets July 7, 2016

Posted by Dominic Black in VoIP Numbers.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Cavell is commencing our latest round of research on the Hosted VoIP and SIP Trunking markets and is looking for input from Service Providers into our survey. As many of you are aware, the data that is inputed for our research is used to build a total market picture for the VoIP and SIP markets across the UK and individual company data is confidential.

Cavell will be running a webinar in August to go over the top level findings with those companies that have contributed to the survey and will receive discount codes to our upcoming European VoIP Summits.

Please follow the links for each survey below, each one should take around 5 minutes and your input is greatly appreciated

Hosted VoIP

SIP Trunking

If you would like to discuss this research or speak to one of our analysts, please contact Dominic Black at dominic.black@cavellgroup.com

 

GoDaddy enters the VoIP communications space with acquisition of FreedomVoice May 19, 2016

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

GoDaddy have acquired FreedomVoice, a US based VoIP Provider, to deliver voice services to their portfolio of services tailored towards SME customers. With 14m customer globally, GoDaddy has a huge opportunity to cross sell services to these customers and recognises that voice communications solutions are key to SME customers and this acquisition will enable them to target their customers effectively.

FreedomVoice cost GoDaddy a reported $42 million in cash plus up to $5 million in potential future milestones payments with most of the team remaining with FreedomVoice. With over 200,000 SME customers, the synergies between the two companies are clear. It will be interesting to see whether GoDaddy can find ways to use technologies like WebRTC to deliver integrated voice products into their current solutions to really deliver an differentiated voice product to their customers.

Read about the acquisition here

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

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

IMG_8865.JPG

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.

IMG_8879.JPG

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?

Screenshot 2016-05-13 09.29.42.png

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.

“I want to be the platform”,  “No, I want to be the platform”… “Who is going to be the Communications Platform of the future?” May 11, 2016

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

In a week, when Vonage USA spends $230m on Nexmo, a Communication Platform business that most of you will not have heard of, and when a traditional communication hardware provider like Genband spends a large proportion of its annual conference talking about its own “Kandy” Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) platform, many Service Providers will be wondering what is all the fuss about.

Well, it’s simple: 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.

Where the battle is going to be won and lost is by making communications relevant and in context of customers and consumers’ current and future working patterns, and help revolutionize business process or disrupt markets with new models of working. This is going to require many to have the capability and ability to move quickly and agilely whilst maintaining low costs in serving these requirements.

Gone are the days when it was about UC and Providers being proud that they have packed a whole load of irrelevant features into their UC client or equipment, often provided by slow moving vendors.

The future is about providing a platform that people can integrate and develop on, to jointly solve both specific and generic customer problems. This development may be done by the Platform provider or by enabling developers externally to access the platform and develop their own solutions on top.

Not surprisingly traditional ecosystems are also being reinvented with people realizing the majority of the value will be in providing the platform. Traditional Vendors are pitching themselves against their Service Provider customers, and System Integrators are realizing that they might own the key to accessing the development resources. Within this melee, new providers such as Twillio and Nexmo have filled this void, offering developers with a global platform on which they can develop.

At the recent Genband Conference we started to hear the Service Provider angle with CenturyLink describing how they are looking to build such a platform, which will bring them the benefit of quick and agile product development for their own customers. They will be able to go to a 2 or 3 developers with a brief of their requirements and potentially get custom differentiated apps developed cheaper and quicker than previous models.

It’s not all over for the Service providers as a couple of key questions are still to be answered in many cases:

  • Who has the ability to: sell, assure, bill and deliver these applications?
  • Who either has their own development resources or controls access to these resources?
  • Who can provide a truly global or regional capability for customer?
  • Who can translate customer business requirements into real life solutions?
  • Who has the ability to potentially integrate to multiple platforms for a customer?

In up coming posts and research we are exploring these questions further, and we are already running strategy sessions with Service Providers to answer these questions.

For more details please contact: Matthew.Townend@cavellgroup.com or Dominic.Black@cavellgroup.com.

Genband looking at new approaches – Outcome as a Service & Kandy June 12, 2014

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Genband Perspectives 14 has seen a range of speakers discuss the role of Genband in the future as it looks to move away from what it calls a level 2 supplier to a level 3 or level 4 supplier. Ultimately rather than just selling products and services to its customer it starts to offer “Outcome as a Service” where it can jointly take the risk with the customer and share in their success.

The other theme has been how “Kandy” capability will allow customers to quickly build new services, and build on existing Genband Product capability alongside the new capabilities that have recently been made available with acquisitions such as FRING, UREACH and WebRTC can bring.

“Outcome as a service” is certainly an interesting principal, as many Service Providers have found the requirement to commit to large capex risks and being landed with inflexible licensing regimes stifles the development of their business.

Currently the Outcome as a Service principal seems to be supported by increase flexibility around the way you can use licenses, the ability to buy services from the cloud on a consumer basis (Genband Nuvea) and the ability to offset capital costs against future energy saving.

The focus on potential savings for service providers in reducing power consumption and cost were really interesting. David Walsh CEO of Genband highlighted that the thousands of central offices that power the PSTN in the US use more than 12 billion kilowatt hours of power every year, which compares to the power consumption of more than one million homes annually and the CO2 emissions of more than two million cars. He highlighted that moving to a modern infrastructure can offer energy savings in the region of 88%, space savigns of 85% and CO2 of 40+%.

We also heard from Murat Armbuster from COEffiect company that they will provide Service Provider with finance against these savings that will mean providers can fund the change to an IP Network without having to spend any capex 

With a lot of fan fair Paul Pluschkell (Genband new Silicon Valley veteran) pre announced (Kandy), although its not going to be launch to September we had a number of demonstrations and use case discussed. To cut through the hype what Kandy appears to be is a middleware that sits on top of all the core capabilities of existing Genband products and also links with WebRTC and newer services such as FRING. What it does is provides developers or Service Providers with tools that enable them to build services quickly and simply using simple APIs and tools.

As an example the FRING team demonstrated how you could build a simple concierge service onto a website in a couple of minutes, providing WebRTC based Video and Call Centre and Hunt Groups in a couple of minutes. I think Kandy demonstrates a change at Genband as they are clearly focusing more and more on enabling applications and developers on top of their platform rather than focusing on just selling core services. The question in my mind is whether Kandy will be a tool the service provider will use or will it be more for enabling developers to go over the top of carriers we will have to wait and see.

Lord Digby Jones and the problem with Unified Communications May 2, 2014

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

I found myself watching the UK TV program ‘The Troubleshooter’ with Lord Digby Jones, where he was advising a Freezer and Cooler manufacturer on setting up a new production line, he was showing how a small improvement in the way they worked on the line could offer huge benefits in terms of productivity and cost to the company.  In my youth, I had spent 1 happy year working for Black & Decker and learning all about the Japanese principles of Kaizen (continuous improvement) and JIT (just in time) stock management. At Black & Decker we were looking all the time at how we could improve productivity, whilst encouraging all our employees to see how this could be achieved.

It strikes me that this is the same issue that communication providers are facing,  as they look to engage into conversations with enterprises todays. Traditionally they have sold fixed & mobile lines & minutes often based on price or specific product feature differentiation.

As we see the emergence of new Hosted VoIP/ Unified Communications & Collaboration services, our approach and conversation with the enterprise may have to fundamentally change. We effectively now become a partner in helping them address how they can use communications & collaboration services to continuously improve their businesses.  Often some of the more advance UC services can be more expensive if you just compare them say on the ability to make a call and not look at the broader UC benefit.

So the challenge for providers who want to address this UC market, is how do I change my business to enter into what are very different conversations and approaches. Also the people I will be competing against will be changing as I will start to bump into some of the traditional System Integrators like Accenture, Fujitsu, who have augmented their consulting capabilities with technology.

Well, what we are seeing so far is providers starting to offer their own Professional Services and Consulting service at the front of the sales process to help bridge that gap, also we see the emergence of centralized team resources that either provide technical and bid support or take over the whole sales process for these sales.  In my past, I was Senior Director at UUNET/Worldcom and we purchased the Digex business (a managed hosting business) I decided that it would be impossible to fully integrate that business as the sales process was complex and very different to what our sales teams were used to at that time, so we established it as an overlay on top of the Sales Team which was very successful. The last I heard, it still has an overlay capability over 10 years later.

This is obviously an important issue when talking to some of the very largest enterprises, but we are seeing more and more businesses looking at how they can improve their business. I am seeing providers offer consulting packages where they will come into medium size business for 2 days for less than £2000 and provide that business with a view of how Comms & Collaboration can improve their performance.

So our sales forces and organisations maybe forced to go through a fundamental change over the next few years if we are going to help our customers, take advantage of the new opportunities that UC and VoIP are bringing us.

The Cavell Group have been advising providers worldwide on how this issue needs to be addressed for the last 10 years and have experienced the changing needs of a huge number of providers in that time. If you want to find out more about what the Cavell Group has achieved please visit www.cavellgroup.com and get in touch.

matthew.townend@cavellgroup.com

Mobile VoIP/UC due to Explode June 12, 2011

Posted by Matthew Townend in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

illume consulting has been having an amazingly interesting start to 2011 travelling to some of the most interesting markets in the world including; Palestine, Malaysia, Nigeria, Trinidad and most recently South Korea. South Korea maybe an example of what we are likely to see in Uk and other European Markets!. The explosion of mobile data is quite amazing, with growth rates that would make most network planner quake in their boots. One of the interesting dynamics in this market is the recent growth in MVoIP/UC applications, the handset market in South Korea is dominated by Samsung Android devices and we have seen the development of both straight MVoIP applications but also integrated Video/Social Networking & chat applications, the growth of these service has been particularly prominent in the last 6 months. These services include Kakaotalk, Tango & Hithere amongst others. Tango is a video calling applications, Kakaotalk is more of a chat based service & Hithere integration with messaging. With the increasing use of Apple Facetime these OTT video and chat services will be an interesting challenge to the existing mobile operators. VoIP operators who are looking at integration with mobile networks,y may want to look at these applications for a steer towards what capability they could offer in the future. Interestingly in pretty much all the above markets their is a significant move towards hosted VoIP based enterprise funtionality, we look forward to seeing how the Uk VoIP market is developing when we gather our latest figures at the end of June.