Telecom: Communications and Collaborations
Channel Take is happy to present to you our first editorial of 2022. Our theme for January is Telecom: Communications and Collaborations. Besides daily news, we will share theme-specific content on recent trends and developments in the coming weeks. Subscribe now to ensure that you do not miss out. We also welcome guest submissions and articles. If you have expertise in Telecom or UCaaS and would like to be published on Channel Take, please send us your submissions.
Telecom: Communications and Collaborations | A look at the premise
The changing dynamics of the modern-day hybrid workplace continue to dictate the innovations and evolution of the telecom industry world over. Businesses are increasingly dependent on technology to overcome the post-pandemic era’s unpredictability. Collaboration and communication solutions play a key role in redefining business-as-usual, enabling a seamless and uninterrupted work terrain. Rapid deployment and increased scalability remain critical factors that determine some of the choices businesses are making today. There is a resultant shift in focus from on-premises to cloud, blurring the lines between unified communications and collaborations even more. And the move to the cloud certainly makes it more affordable to smaller businesses.
Rising demand for UCaaS in SMBs
The overspill of demand for UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) beyond large enterprises has triggered the emergence of niche products and players that cater to smaller businesses. Many experienced UCaaS players are now viewing SMBs with heightened interest. Canada’s Sangoma, a leading Communications as a Service (CaaS) provider since 1984, positions its Switchvox line of Business Phone System as an enterprise-grade all-inclusive communications platform made available for smaller emerging businesses at affordable prices. A few years back, Sangoma acquired Digium and thereafter announced the release of Switchvox 7, featuring advanced conferencing features for greater collaboration and added functionality such as call pickup capabilities and improved performance and security. In early 2021, they completed the acquisition of Star2star, thereby evolving into a total provider of a fully-integrated suite of Cloud Communications Solutions. These consolidations and cloud advantages make Switchvox and other similar players more attractive to smaller businesses. Managed Service Providers and Value-added resellers partnering with smaller businesses take on an advisory role that goes beyond recommending and selling them the best suited UCaaS solution. Post-sale customer support and training and orientation capabilities are viewed as mandatory incentives.
What draws the partners?
Selling UCaaS requires lower investment and a shorter sales span compared to selling legacy voice systems. The availability of several white-label options has fanned the excitement of new entrepreneurs. For instance, the US-based leading UCaaS provider SkySwitch that launched in Canada 2 years back has offered a high-quality, white-labelled product since its inception. It is a comprehensive UCaaS solution with multiple features that require no investment in hardware, software or setup from its partners. It allows those funds to be instead used in marketing and strengthening the partner’s branding making it more attractive for the partner community.
Beyond the basics in workplace collaboration | Role of UCaaS
Focus has shifted from employee enablement to employee engagement and relationship fostering. Highly loaded platforms with competitive conferencing capabilities provide real-time engagement critical in a remote workspace. Leaders like RingCentral are featuring Team Messaging and Collaboration as a significant service offering. Not only have they integrated chat, email and file sharing in one view; they also feature built-in task managers and live video chat rooms to mimic a real-time team huddle. There are metrics to report and measure employee engagement at every level. Championing culture and values is a challenge in remote/ hybrid work. Platforms like Zoom now offer features such as Zoom Events and Large Meetings that help work around this limitation.
Accelerated Innovation | Evolution of UCaaS
Continued demand for technology to empower stakeholder collaborations _ particularly in maximizing employee efficiency and easing remote functioning _ fuels accelerated innovation. It triggers a quest for competitive differentiation that results in serial product enhancements giving birth to several new feature add-ons. Further, it feeds into building client-friendly single-vendor simplified solutions that go beyond UCaaS. They are evolved into more cumulative full-stack product portfolios. For instance, let us consider 8x8 XCaaS – Experience Communications Platform. After a series of product innovations and consolidations, 8x8 launched the XCaaS that integrates contact center, voice, video, chat, and APIs in one. XCaaS does not stop enabling the employees by providing a collaborative team experience. It also empowers them to engage with the customers by delivering AI-powered contact center capabilities and an embeddable platform that provides the customers with the flexibility to engage with the team in their preferred ways. Nextiva’s NextOS, too, brings customer and team communication tools in one place, thereby providing a complete workspace experience with built-in tools and ease of integration that is ideally suited for small-sized businesses. NextOS is a customer-first platform that has built collaboration around the customer, making it very performance-focused.
Some key trends to watch out for as they will be analyzed at length over the coming weeks.
It is the era of resilience. Quick adapters and re-inventors are bound to emerge winners of the decade. It is about breaking through dense competition and making a difference. It is a challenging yet interesting time for the industry!