A disruptive approach to cloud comms – Twilio

Twilio has gone from strength to strength in the past year, recently closing its $3 billion acquisition of email API platform, SendGrid. Its success is driven by a growing global customer portfolio which is supported by its partner program, Twilio Build. Chetan Chaudhary, Global VP of Partners at Twilio, spoke to Comms Business about why he thinks the market is ready for disruption.

Comms Business Magazine (CBM): Can you give us an update on Build and the approach you are taking?

Chetan Chaudhary(CC): Twilio is a unique value proposition business because we have a blend of the cloud and the traditional comms business. We are a platform company and an API first company, my role is to see how we build routes to market, how do we build for our strategic ISVs, which SI relationships we need to leverage to drive to right sort of adoption of Twilio’s products in the market.

The channel team is relatively new compared with he rest of the business, we take an approach to allow developers to build on top of the platform and take it to market. Currently we have about 6 million developers building on top of the platform.

IS THE CHANNEL READY FOR CPAAS?

Is the Channel are embracing CPaaS to enable them to build more relevant solutions for their customers and stand out in an overcrowded market. Joining him will be Dom Black, Senior Analyst at the Cavell Group, and Justin Hamilton-Martin, Centile UK, Craig Walker, VP Cloud Services at ALE, Rick Hawkes, Sales Engineering Manager from Avaya and Robinder Koura, Head of Channel Sales – EMEA at Ringcentral .

CBM: Where are you making inroads with your SI community?

CC: We developed our call centre product called Flex because we noticed a lot of that market was driven through the SI community, both resellers and systems integrators. Flex is extremely open and allows for lots of integrations, you can essentially customise on every communications and UI level. However it really requires a set of systems integrators which are open to this new software approach.

We have been focusing on building that ecosystem for SI’s and enabling them to be resellers within our platform. I have spent the last six months building that reseller infrastructure so partners can have better visibility and control over individual accounts that they bring to Twilio, allowing them to have different pricing models and allowing us to go to market differently in certain verticals.

CBM: Are you attracting traditional partners?

CC: You would be amazed at the number of Cisco and Avaya partners that have been approaching us. Many of them have had a great 20 plus years with these types of vendors but with the advent of the cloud and the flexibility that the API approach from Twilio brings they are seeing cracks in their selling motions and they want to build a cloud first practice.

We are finding a software approach is the better one we think which is why a lot of these organisations are hiring software developers. They come to us to be a part of this builder community which can also give them all the same levels of security that their traditional vendors had.

CBM: What kind of functionality are your partners bringing to market?

CC: We have one ISV called CallTrackingMetrics, they have built out a complete business analytics solution so customers can now track their calls and route them into call infrastructure. This is a fantastic example of someone taking a traditional voice communication and phone numbers and making it into an application using our platform.

System integrators are taking our platform and in the case of Flex they are integrating into traditional infrastructure. I recently spoke with one of our SIs who wanted to use Flex for all their communications so they could have SMS, Voice, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Video all integrated into a single platform. But they also wanted the ability to integrate a Cisco IP phone inside the call centre. With Flex you can do that because it is entirely open, you could have a SIP endpoint, webRTC endpoint, an SMS endpoint and manage it all within Flex.

In the UK VoxSmart is taking a specialised communications application to the financial sector to enable them to have compliant communications across their different channels. They aren’t a huge company, but they are creating unique solutions in their sector and they are doing it at global scale. For the first time they are able to address financial institutions in EMEA and the rest of the world. They do that all through the Twilio platform.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine