What Pain Does UCaaS Solve?

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

What Pain Does UCaaS Solve?

There is rarely actual discussion in LinkedIn Groups any more. If there are comments, they are undisguised pitches for companies. In this particular discussion, the reader can conclude that most people know very little about the market that they are in. Apparently, competitive analysis is not a high priority.

The article about Google partnering with RingCentral to add some additional UCaaS features to its Google for Work (GfW) suite was posted. This partnership is just noise really. RC has had integration with GfW for almost a year. The surprising thing is that no one realizes that Microsoft and Google have been battling it out for years. Google Docs versus Microsoft Office. Gmail versus Hotmail. Bing trying to compete with Google.

Office365 has over 50 million users. Skype has hundreds of millions users. Skype for Business is a merger of Lync and Skype that is now bundled with Office365 in various iterations.

I'd like to point out that 50 million users is more users than RC, 8x8 and all of Broadsoft combined (not including the BSFT users who are only on SIP trunking). So it might be significant. It would be more significant if the users of Office365 were trained on it - but you can say that about any platform including Broadsoft.

Slack got to 3 million daily users in three short years due to ease of use and functionality.

With WebRTC and so many apps adding video chat and voice calling functionality, UCaaS providers better figure this stuff out fast - adoption, ease of use, migration, integration, training and frictionless sales.

What real pain point does a UC&C Platform really solve?

If it was a problem that was more than voice, the UC providers would NOT appear to be Polycom distributors. When it falls down the scope to just voice, you are either selling it wrong; you don't know the benefits at all; or you are not hitting a target audience.

The SPIFF Wars of 2016 point to a problem with sales. Either there are too many Hosted VoIP provider in North America (there are!) or there are not enough businesses that see the need for this vaguely marketed comms platform.

Slack didn't have a CMO (chief marketing officer) for two years!!! It grew by word of mouth. How come that hasn't happened with a UCaaS platform? Even Hipchat grows via WOM.

WebRTC, APIs and integrations have us at a point where voice calls happen anywhere. That is bad news for VoIP companies who have sell as a voice replacement because there isn't much voice to replace, so you better be cheap.

When a channel partner goes to a master agent for UCaaS, he has well over 20 VoIP providers to choose from. How does he choose? VoIP companies better get clear on that fast because it is getting expensive to get attention. 6X MRR anyone?

Google+RC isn't going to work any better than AT&T @Home did. As for Google sticking to search, they have over 5 million businesses using it. And again that is more that most other companies have by a long shot!

Mitel is confused. Now that they can't take Polycom off the plate, what now? Try to buy Shoretel again, since Shoretel announced they were looking to sell? What does that solve? Oh, right, nothing, It is about maximizing shareholder value, not about the customer.

When you look at the landscape, RC, 8x8 and others, especially Panterra, are jamming as much functionality into the product that they can. Conferencing, screen share, video chat, IM, presence, analytics, reporting, ad nauseum. What effect does that have? Think Microsoft Office 2013. Most people use about 3-7 features and the rest is beyond them. It is bloatware. And without constant training for users, what good is it?

It is to appeal to a broad audience, which is old market thinking. Mass products for the masses, like Kellogg's Corn Flakes. Slack is for a limited audience. APIs, bots and integrations make it even more appealing to that same audience- and more useful It doesn't result in market creep, just usefulness.

Microsoft, Cisco, Google and to some extent most companies are looking for broad appeal. Everyone is our market. That is such broken thinking that I can't even wrap my head around it any more.

Even AT&T and Verizon have left that thinking in telecom.

When you think about the most successful CLECs (almost an oxymoron, I know) they had no more than 65K customers. USLEC was at 30K. 8x8 is at almost 50K. Yes RC claims over 300K but most of those are paying about $38 per month, but count them if you want. There are 25 million SMB in the US. What percentage is that? The UC space has been spending money since 2003. And it has less customers than GfW. The biggest has 300K very small businesses. Sales are getting more expensive because your marketing sucks. Everything for Everybody means nothing to most everyone.

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