Self-Development Key for Service Providers

Comms Business reports back from Cavell Group’s Cloud Comms Summit in London where the 6th outing of the event brought service providers together to discuss the current market trends, opportunities, threats and above all else – service differentiation.

Cloud Communications services have become increasingly competitive and as business customers have an array of solutions to choose from, Service Providers are challenged to increase the attractiveness of their offerings creating stickiness to maintain their current clients and to introduce new value-added services to increase their client base.

The Cloud Comms Summit is a great platform for Cavell Group to showcase their knowledge of the market as well as draw together major UK and international service providers to take part in workshops, panel debates as well as deliver keynotes.
The QEII Conference Centre was clearly more packed out than last year and the agenda, which reflected not only the obvious market trends and issues such as differentiation in a crowded market but also Cavell’s work on transformational issues such as improving customer interactions, contact centre, verticalisation and SD-WAN.

The Market

Cavell’s view on the Cloud Communications market was summed up as follows:

  • Service providers will not only reply on platform vendors to provide innovation and differentiation but look at self-development and integration of point solutions.
  • Owning the DS WAN relationship with the customer will be a key enabler for future services, insight and revenue.
  • The SIP trunking market is now being affected by SMEs moving directly to cloud solutions, and the lack of urgency demanded by the 2025 end of service date.
  • There will be significant product innovation, both around AI and Analytics, as enterprises seek to improve their interactions with customers.

Amongst these pointers from Cavell it is immediately clear that SIP trunk sales are slowing down. In the six months between the measurement points of June and December 2017 the number of SIP Trunks grew by just 139,000. Prior six month growth periods were 193,000 and 235,000 indicating a solid and consistent decline.

The Top Take-Aways

There was a lot happening at the Cloud Comms Summit without even going into the myriad of networking opportunities taking place so here are some highlights of the may observations we made.

  • The first wave of hosted telephony was all about PBX replacement but is now, after being stuck in that position for several years, starting to ride the wave of collaboration.
  • Did you know that there are nearly 100 hosted or cloud based telephony service provers in the UK but the top ten providers have 65% market share between them?
  • The market is mature but what happens in a mature market? According to Cavell the classic marketing activity to undertake includes: differentiation, segmenting your approach, develop a service based strategy, become more innovative, focus on the go to market strategy and examine merger and acquisition opportunities.
  • SD WAN is both a big threat and a big opportunity and along with team collaboration, Skype for Business and video calling integration seen as differentiators in the market. SD WAN is also seen as a viable alternative to MPLS but an enabler of QoS.
  • Cavell and the service providers we spoke to all see intelligent customer interaction becoming key value added part of SP propositions.
  • The changing workplace means users want different tools but team collaboration is still not seeing widespread adoption because service providers continue to struggle in their attempts to monetise the applications.
  • What are traditional (sounds strange to even say this) hosted telephony service provider concerned about? Well, according to many performers on the stage, they are worried about non-traditional competition from CPaaS providers but still see Microsoft as the biggest threat.

Quotes of The Day

Broadsoft: “Ten years from now every PBX that ever existed will be in the cloud.”

Centile: “Service Providers that don’t promote their own brand is positive for their channels.”

Ribbon: “There will always be room for innovators to enter the market.”

Cavell: “Many of the 97 Service Providers in the UK are Lifestyle Businesses.”

And finally, I’m not sure who said this but he was on stage: “The cheapest deskphone is to not have one – and go mobile.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine