Thought Leadership CTAs-05


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Building strength in the hastening UCaaS gold rush

By Barry Ward


About the Author

Barry Ward

Product Director at Wavenet. Providing IT Directors and Network Architects in the UK access to leading enterprise technologies. With over 20 years of experience in the technology sector, Barry passionately seeks out some of the worlds most disruptive technologies. Staying ahead of the curve and justifying their introduction to the UK and EMEA marketplace to ensure the infrastructures of UK Enterprises keep pace with, and even lead, the rest of the world in their technological advances.


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The telecoms and ICT industry is now well into one of its biggest growth opportunities in modern history. Many organisations are now seeing the benefits of UC with the shift to home working. But the question is, what next?  We asked Barry Ward to share his views and industry insights. 


Barry Ward

What are the key considerations/priorities for resellers wanting to strengthen their position in the UCaaS market?


UCaaS over the past 12 months has fundamentally changed at pace. Previously an audio first approach based around the migration of legacy PBX functionality was the typical driving factor. Now with the explosion of Collaboration and Video first, then the move to integrated experience is critical. Many software vendors are utilising voice as a simple add on to their collaboration suites and software is delivered directly as an OTT solution such as Zoom.

Customers are now looking for integration with collaboration and other third-party applications to help streamline their customer experience and process. This again has pushed interoperability and integration as key differentiators in the market place. Microsoft is developing their Azure Communication Services with integrations into Dynamics, Salesforce with their voice integration show a shift in delivery means UCaaS providers need to be delivering integration into third-party applications to give resellers the ability to cross and upsell services and additional revenue.

In the past year, we have delivered a fantastic Microsoft Teams calling platform with simple reseller management and administration, and additional features such as call recording with sentiment analysis and integration into CRM. This has been phenomenal for our partners, but we must keep evolving so our partners can.


Where is the evolution of UCaaS taking the comms industry/channel, and the solutions for customers? (and what is the next wave of development/innovation for UCaaS?)


Looking at how Amazon with Connect and Microsoft, and their efforts in the Azure Communication Services shows evolution is gathering pace. The ability to develop applications and services using their infrastructure, and integrate with services such as their AI solutions bring a different way of thinking. It is a very exciting time as we see the opportunity to differentiate services becomes more achievable.

We are also seeing a move away from the more traditional call routing requirements as the main requirement and more into questions such as does it integrate with Teams and what CRM integration is possible? The battleground is now more focused on the desktop, if we can integrate with the applications customers are using on a day to day basis, then we can add value.

Management Information is playing an increasingly important role with the increase in remote and hybrid working. Taking information simply and easily from multiple sources. Recently we have invested heavily in developing our API and PowerBI templating to help deliver valuable management reports and to enable partners to deliver personalised reporting.



What partnership models should resellers look at across UCaaS channel providers to better serve customers and ensure their long-term sustainability?


There is no one size fits all and dependant on resources, ambition, customer base and many other factors to determine what is the best fit. Choosing a provider that can help define and support the chosen model is the only way to address the solution. Agency, reseller, dealer, distribution models can all still be relevant. 


What factors will weaken resellers' efforts to secure a slice of the UCaaS market, and how should they go about meeting future customer demands as UC&C evolves?


The ability to consume services directly from vendors has the potential to impact the channel. The agency model moves away from the relationship directly with the vendor and reduces the value channel partners can provide. Where the channel stands out is its relationship with the end-user customer. The added value resellers can introduce to bring in multiple elements, support, connectivity, integrations are hugely valuable, but customers expect an easy way to transact and consume services and this is a key area


Competition is hotting up as software vendors strengthen their position in the value chain and mobile operators get in on the UCaaS act and are well placed to drive mobile UCaaS. What must a reseller do to ensure they retain ownership of the customer in an ever-crowding market?


Resellers are seeing software creep and shadow IT in their customers. Is there ever 'customer ownership'? It is more of a relationship and the ability to provide multiple rather than a single solution is key. Doing the basics well, like service and support and being easy to do business with, go a long way. The right messaging to customers is key to ensure resellers are first in mind when customers are reviewing services, but also ensuring they have a solution that fits.



Tags: Barry Ward, Comms Dealer, Article, UCaaS

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