We’ve been covering cloud here at TMC for two decades – back when we called these companies in this space ASPs and over these twenty years or so, there has been one constant in how they've gone to market. The initial target is small companies known as SMBs and then later they work up to larger companies. Grasshopper is an extreme example… They call themselves the entrepreneur’s phone system and while most have tried to move to larger installs, they seem to be stuck in place. Not that there is anything wrong with the approach, it’s just unusual.
Dialpad is unusual for the opposite reason, their cloud phone service almost starts at the very top of the market and stays there. One of the company’s first big installs was Motorola, where they support 22,000 employees.
There is a bit more to the story – Google owned Motorola and Dialpad sort of spun out of Google – not precisely but they shared many workers. Point being, it isn’t like Motorola execs awoke one day and said, hey, let’s go with a new company to run our business on.
I spoke with Craig Walker and John Finch recently about Dialpad and what makes them different. They must be doing something to get the attention of the big guys because Uber just became a customer and so has a university, video content producer and a number of others.
Perhaps what these customers are seeing is what Andy Abramson just wrote about recently after testing Dialpad for a while:
The Dialpad iPad app is very different and may be the best softphone ever created bar none. First off, it rings at the same time as the SIM ring to my mobile phones. Second the audio quality is second to none. On a thirty five minute call with the CEO of a client yesterday not one pop, or drop or anything that one wouldn't have experienced on a cell phone call. Third is the ease of use and very clean, easy to use interface. It's natural and effortless, much like Skype was in its pre-Microsoft days. The consistency between the desktop, smartphone and iPad in look and feel makes it that way. If you are using the desktop app or plug-in, you'll have no learning curve as the UI (user interface) is identical. About the only drawback is the non-ringing when you have the app in the foreground, which is likely an Apple iOS notification issue. In many ways Dialpad's app on the iPad reminded me of the first experience I had with Gizmo, the company acquired by Google that was perhaps along with Truphone, the only real rivals to Skype. The Gizmo app always had this very natural, phone like feel to it, and also had the sound quality that was natural too.
Craig said to me his customers see them as the Netflix of phone systems, they replace the old system of going to a store, showing a card and having to deal with physical VCR tapes.
In contrast, Dialpad allows single sign-on with Google or Microsoft Office 365 credentials and integrates seamlessly with services like LinkedIn so you know who is calling and contacts you might have in common.
There is also integration with SMS and MMS meaning your business can now take these texts without any additional technology needed. Uberconference connectivity is built in as well– it’s a great conferencing service and this should be considered a differentiator.
What really differentiates them though is their building on cloud, desk and mobile at once. For some of the other companies in the space, the mobile solution is an afterthought – because mobile didn’t even exist when they launched. WebRTC too is another native tech which is built-in.
Craig thinks the company is more flexible and can better adapt than the competition. Without a doubt, this makes them a serious threat to the entire telecom market. CIOs need to play close attention here and choose the platform which is best for their workplace. There is a constant though and that is mobile. Workers want to use it whenever possible. If the majority of CIOs agree that Dialpad does really have the superior integrated mobile solution, we can expect them to win much more business before the rest of the market catches up.