James Slaney started his own ISP at just 18, and had sold it by the time he was 21. After 20 years operating in the telecoms industry, He jointly conceived the idea for Call Recording and Communication Capture Platform Dubber in 2011, now living in London Slaney spoke to Comms Business about his business.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): Can you take me through your Channel strategy and why it is unique?
James Slaney (JS): Dubber works purely in the channel and is the only vendor in this space that operates a SaaS pricing model using the channel as its route to market. Dubber provides its solution to partners and service providers along with the support services you’d expect in a traditional channel model. We also view telecoms operators themselves as an important distribution partner, providing the platform to them to custom package and sell onto their customers directly.
CBM: This market is well established, how are you competing with the dominant players? How are you going to prise customers away from legacy players?
JS: Much of our competition will present users with capacity and scalability issues beyond a certain point. Only larger corporations and anyone with a sizeable infrastructure and budget can realistically afford to implement them in the first place, which presents us with opportunities on two fronts.
Firstly, while it’s true that many are not necessarily ready to ‘rip and replace’, where they have invested heavily in similar solutions, as they grow their user base, they simply cannot facilitate the increased capacity in an economical way.
So that’s the opportunity for us here, for users to utilise Dubber in tandem what they have already. With a foot in the door, we expect to see Dubber become the dominant platform as legacy systems require upgrades and licence renewals, and new users are pushed onto Dubber.
Secondly, it’s making a solution available to a whole slew of SMEs who couldn’t previously afford to implement call recording, let alone anything with additional communication services with voice intelligence capabilities.
The beauty of Dubber is there is no CAPEX involved, and our partners are still able to sell and maintain their existing legacy platforms but then offer Dubber as an additional service on top. We’re helping our channel partners future proof their business with very low risk. That’s not saying they need to start selling Dubber exclusively from day one, but when they have the capacity and the time to do so, we’re confident they will gradually start to switch their customers over.
Everyone right now is looking for ways to drive recurring revenues and that’s where we see ourselves as having a massive point of differentiation. This is not just about making a single sale, but having an ongoing and growing revenue stream.
CBM: What do you perceive as the major partner challenges right now?
JS: It’s probably the mind-set of a lot of organisations in the channel, who have been thinking the same way for the last 20 years, especially when it comes to our part of their business. The challenge therefore is how do they stand out and be different, offering innovative solutions that they can deliver to market in a fast and affordable manner.
There’s a slightly different mind-set in the UK to the US. In the States, Dubber has partners that are demanding to know, what the product roadmap is, where innovation is coming from, what they can leverage from Dubber to achieve all of this. Today, partners in the UK are starting to adapt to this way of thinking.
It’s a very competitive market in the UK, and margins are always being cannibalised. Winning business and standing out seems to be based on price rather than innovation. This means the UK are needing to focus on growing their recurring revenues without massive capital expenditure, and do so across a large section of their customer base.
Our job is to challenge this mind-set and encourage the UK market to realise the opportunity this kind of solution could be for them and how it could help them expand reach with a minimum of risk.
CBM: Is the call recording space ripe for digital disruption in your opinion? Why?
JS: The market for call recording has stagnated for a number of years and right now, there’s no-one going to market with a comparable on-demand solution to Dubber. When there’s a very steadfast mind-set that is reluctant to pursue innovation, it can be crippling, and ultimately self-defeating. Innovation is about more than just the technology, but the business model the channel is deploying, and right now, that needs to change as much as anything.
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