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I’m generally not fond of ‘top ten predictions for the New Year’ type posts, so, instead, I will focus on just one specific prediction. In 2011 – I expect to see a surge in new announcements of hosted business offerings from service providers.
I do not believe this is a bold prediction. Even in the last few months of 2010, we’ve seen service providers, who have historically been “trunking only”, make a move to deliver hosted/cloud offerings. BroadVox’s acquisition of Cypress has shown their interest in leveraging Cypress’s award-winning C3IP and C4IP “UC as a Service” solutions; separately, CBeyond’s acquisition of Aretta and MaximumASP likewise demonstrates movement more firmly into the hosted solution space.
Things tend to happen in the market when incentives align – it seems to me, that’s what’s happening here:
- Service providers that are “trunking only” are looking to go up the value chain, and, therefore, as I believe and have received feedback of, they are rightly concerned about commoditization problems, downward pricing pressure and a lack of differentiation.
- Market numbers continue to substantiate a large movement to hosted VoIP as businesses continue to adopt hosted models.
- The Agent and Channel community is looking for hosted solutions they can sell –clearly perceiving this demand as evident by, for example, the recent Channel Partners Conference – which pushed an agenda almost entirely devoted to hosted business solutions.
When “trunking only” service providers go ‘up the stack’ and also sell Hosted Business solutions – when they sell an app as well as connectivity and transport–customer feedback demonstrates a large growth in revenue and greater relevancy to the customer, with less churn and more customer mindshare. I expect to see many more similar announcements from service providers in 2011.
At our annual executive users’ conference in October, I talked about three ways the BroadSoft ecosystem can “connect our networks” in order to deliver the superior user experience and communication services being demanded today. In my opinion, our ecosystem needs to:
- Create the largest, innovative developer network
- Share our successes in order to grow awareness of hosted communication solutions
- Connect our networks to deliver ubiquitous high-definition voice and video
Let me share more on how you can drive growth and productive conversation in each of these areas.
Create the largest, innovative developer network
At BroadSoft we have spent the last 18 months investing in the design and development of our Xtended program, which is comprised of three elements: 1) RESTful APIs, 2) a robust developer program & 3) an e-Commerce enabled marketplace. We have committed both time and financial resources to all aspects of this program, enabling our customers to open their networks and mutually benefit from the investments of third party developers.
BroadSoft’s global service provider customers deliver communication services to over half a billion individuals in both their work and personal lives. A uniquely attractive audience to third-party developers, the desire and capabilities to build innovative applications will only increase as our ecosystem encourages this growth. Integration of communication services with additive innovative offerings and web-based applications, such as CRM services, increase the value of our IP-based networks, helping us retain our existing customers and attract new customers. So I am asking the BroadSoft customer base to:
- Open the Xtended APIs on their network
- Customize and launch an Xtended Marketplace and
- Join the community in recruiting new developers and promoting their applications
Everything that is needed to get started has been built and tested. Since BroadSoft Connections, I have personally reached out to several of our service provider customers who appreciate the value of BroadSoft Xtended. They have agreed to lead the charge in this effort – I hope you will join them.
Share our successes in order to grow awareness of hosted communication solutions
Another way we can jointly drive the adoption of hosted communications is by connecting our networks in terms of combined marketing power. By sharing our successes and detailed case studies, we help better define the value enterprises and individuals are experiencing through hosted communications. Through the global communication of such value, we will mutually drive the increased adoption of hosted unified communications, which has reached its highest growth level since 2008 (Dell’Oro Group, 2010).
While the awareness has grown significantly, we have a long way to go. We want every business owner and decision maker to realize they have a choice: to use a hosted service versus tying up people and capital on deploying out-dated enterprise based systems. I personally hear from our customers amazing and motivating success stories that they have helped enterprises succeed in their primary business purpose when they are no longer worried about their communication services. They are entrusting the experts in telecommunications to keep their businesses running.
I am asking all BroadSoft customers to share these success stories. In order to facilitate this openness, we introduced a new Web site, Xcelerate, with the single goal of helping you become more successful in launching and selling hosted UC. There are many great resources available on the site (Marketing Campaign Tools, Sales Battlecards, Demonstration Videos, and much more) and I encourage all BroadSoft customers to use these tools, while also contributing to the group.
Connect our networks to deliver ubiquitous high-definition voice and video
For a number of years, we have talked about the connection of our networks over IP to enable global high-definition voice and video. With the tremendous interest in high definition audio and video, we must connect our individual islands if we are to benefit from this growth. As I travel around the world, the interest level around SIP based video is exploding in both fixed and mobile networks and the time to interconnect is now. There are several companies, such as PCCW Global, focused on enabling this interconnectivity. I encourage everyone to talk with these companies in order to find ways to bridge our islands and take the upmost advantage of this unique opportunity before it passes us by.
The delivery of high-quality, superior communication experience, is our business. We cannot let others erode it. Let’s start by connecting our networks in these three ways. Please let me know what you think by commenting below.