Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog -
Rich Tehrani
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I recently met with Vertical's Bill Tauscher recently. You may recall I interviewed Bill Tauscher a while back. He gave a great presentation as a keynoter at ITEXPO in Miami a few weeks back and I am always impressed with his passion for the business. Bill was telling me about how he purchased Vertical Networks and the process of talking with other PBX companies in the space before making the acquisition. There are a handful of PBX companies around the 50 million dollar in revenue range as he points out. Putting together Vertical Networks and Artisoft into a new company named Vertical allows them to move up a rung on the ladder in terms of size and capability. I expect to see lots of great news from this new company.

Bill tells me business is booming. One of the reasons is the focus they've placed on automating retailers such as CVS, a major Vertical customer. You see companies in the retail market have pain and lots of it. They have centralized call centers as well as local branch telephones. In many cases these local branches have atrocious call abandonment levels and worse yet there is no way to measure or monitor what is going on at the branches in a cost effective way. Enter Vertical with a solution that is tailor made for such situations.

An interesting side note, Vertical is also behind the recent story floating around the web of McDonalds automating its drive troughs into centralized ordering centers. I am told McDonalds locations that have centralized ordering average 20-30 cents more per order than their typical counterparts. Another benefit of this concept is that they are able to handle more customers since the drive-through lines are now smaller.

Moreover, Vertical was a visionary in developing their distribution channel. They inked deals with Fujitsu and IBM early on and these companies quickly legitimized Vertical as a player allowing their products to easily be sold in companies that may be hesitant to deal with a smaller player directly.

The Vertical story shows me that companies can sell an IP-PBX and become super-successful because they choose a niche and think outside the box. If you sell IP PBXs and concentrate on cost alone you are dead IMO. Business is all about differentiation. Every category becomes commoditized over time. As Nadji Tehrani, TMC's CEO has espoused for years. Pick a Niche, stick to it. Focus on it and position yourself as a leader in your space. The riches will soon follow (OK this last sentence is my addition. Then again, it's my blog so I reserve the right to improve things :-)

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