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channel management

the dye was cast); then Yealink stepped

into that marketplace big time. Still, no

cool-looking phones yet. More than half

the unified communications seats are

softphone-only today. But I ask: is there

an end point that makes a customer go

“wow” (like an iPhone or Pixel)?

For SD-WAN, the CPE will be a

white box (not a Cisco or ADTRAN).

Who will be the first provider to turn

that around and brand that customer

end point (a la WiredIQ’s Brainbox)?

For that matter, which provider

will brand their service with a color,

logo, design and slogan that buyers

recognize or remember? It’s a big

undertaking, for sure. Among the

“Big 4” (Charter, Comcast, AT&T

and Verizon), the only branding is

an umbrella term like Xfinity, U-

Verse or Spectrum. The exceptions

are Verizon Wireless One Talk and

FiOS. Not much branding happen-

ing, even from the big guys.

Microsoft Office365 will likely take

a lot of air out of the UC space by

sheer force of marketing coupled with

its partner ecosystem, in my opinion.

And that tipping point is coming fast.

Consolidation in the VoIP/UC

space has slowed down. It is similar

to retail. Meanwhile, say “fiber” and

some companies with throw a bag

of money at you if you actually own

fiber strands in the ground.

VoIP/UC needs to shake things

up if they don’t want to crash and

burn. Right now, it’s similar to shop-

ping at Sears and JC Penney – drab

and all the same. It comes down to

price – even with channel partners.

And that price is getting lower every

quarter. It is unsustainable.

There has been a lack of discern-

able value in service offerings – and a

sameness that has resulted in a com-

modity mindset for most telecom ser-

vices. One reason for the sector to

have this problem is that too many of

the CEOs are techies, not business-

minded executives. Some of these

CEOs should have stepped aside

to a chairman or CTO role already.

8x8 did that in 2013, and it drastically

changed the growth at that company.

It went from $100 million in revenue

to $210 million in just four years.

Without a CMO and a business-mind-

ed CEO, how does a board of directors

expect the company to grow? When the

sector is examined, the giants – Ring-

Central, Vonage, 8x8 – have the right

people with those titles, folks who have

visions for company growth.

Providers can take a page from Target,

Best Buy, Etsy, eBay and even Groupon.

All of these companies have had ebbs

and flows but have pivoted or re-focused

on the customer and the experience to

improve results. That’s what is needed in

our space, right now.


Peter Radizeski, presi-

dent of RAD-INFO INC,

started as a VAR, then

became an Agent. Now he

writes about the channel and

the telecom space while consulting to

service providers and occasionally still

selling some circuits.

July - August, 2017