Cisco to Spark Some BroadCloud Competition

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| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Cisco to Spark Some BroadCloud Competition

As if it weren't bad enough that Microsoft was forcing its tech partners to become salespeople, and Broadsoft was nudging its white-label partners to the curb, now Cisco is hosting a unified comms platform.

"Hosted by Cisco and sold by partners, Spark is a "complete business collaboration service from the Cisco cloud that enables customers to message, meet or call anyone, anywhere and anytime." The new Cisco Spark service provides a single user experience, delivered through the cloud, enabling users' Cisco phones and videoconferencing devices to connect directly to the cloud." [source]

The competition for mid-market and enterprise clients is heating up. Maybe the predictions about UCaaS growth in the cloud comes from the fact that the vendors have stepped into the service provider space, which will put added pressure on their customers/competitors to get out the selling.

With Microsoft in the mix, it makes for a crowded market. Add in Avaya, MITEL, ShoreTel, WEST, ThinkingPhones, Evolve IP -- and it gets to be crowded in that waiting room at the enterprise buyer's office. (Like a physician's waiting room filled with patients and drug reps).

Cisco already has the HCS (Hosted Collaboration Solution) product, which Verizon is pimping heavily into the mid-market space (cue the video of Alex Doyle (of Broadsoft band fame)). Why add Spark? Likely because not everyone wants the HCS solution, which is built for bigger companies (more than 100 employees). A majority of North American businesses are less than 99 employees. You need to tackle that - Spark, Office365/Skype, VZ VCE, BroadCloud, and so on.

It is a big market. And most everyone wants to be all things to all people. (Wrong strategy!) It typically results in the mentality that we have one tool - a hammer - so everything is a nail, even when it isn't.

Just another note about Microsoft from Seeking Alpha on MS's acquisition of Talko: "Microsoft has made a string of productivity app purchases in recent years, as it tries to keep Google and upstarts such as Slack at bay. Past deals include Yammer (enterprise social networking), Sunrise (calendars), Acompli (e-mail), and Wunderlist (to-do lists)." No mention of Cisco in the analysis.

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