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Digital Transformers – ‘Robots in disguise’ no longer…

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Digital transformation is underway in more than two-thirds of businesses according to recent research by Nemertes, but the scope of those initiatives, and their degree of success is not easy to read.

Nemertes Research recently published a study that assessed digital trends and current projects in 368 companies globally, and which offered as its baseline for the research a useful definition of Digital Transformation.

Digital Transformation – What’s in a name?

In essence, the Nemertes Research definition of digital transformation is based on 3 interlocking goals.

The first is the innovative use of technology across a business. The second is materially and significantly improving (or introducing) a process or deliverable that leads inexorably to the third goal – increasing value.

The interdependent nature of these three goals can make for spectacular success in gearing a business for innovation and growth, but can equally lead to catastrophe where one component fails. Businesses might deploy all the radical new technologies they can get their hands on (and of course cost justify), but if they do not materially improve a process or establish a breakaway innovation, no value is generated and the required transformation won’t materialise.

Leaders looking for that attainment believe their businesses must pick up the pace of enterprise digitisation. They recognize that customer, employee and partner expectations are shaped by digital capabilities, that new competitors are emerging with rapidly scalable business models, and that most of their boardroom’s most troublesome scenarios are digital in their origins.

From the amount of coverage on view in the mainstream, financial and industry media its clear that Digital Transformation is on the agenda in every business, and therein lies the challenge: Every business is at a different milestone in its understanding and execution of digitisation, and even within those already embarked on the journey, the leadership team will comprise laggards on one side of the boardroom table and blue-sky digital freethinkers on the other.

Its worryingly easy for business leaders to get enmeshed in debates about current ‘hot’ technologies or fixate on becoming the cliched “Uber of (Insert Industry Here)” A more appropriate starting point is a shared perspective on business and technology trends that are driving enterprise digitization in their specific context, and a consensus on which are business-critical and, just as importantly, which can be put aside. Strategy is after all as much about what we say we are NOT going to do as much as the big bold statements saying what we are!

Stereotypically it has fallen to the CIO or their equivalent to build this shared view. Increasingly, line of business leaders, whether in finance, sales, marketing or operations are being given (or taking for themselves) the lead in defining and responding to drivers for digital transformation.

Changes in business models, consumer behavior and workforce expectations will have a significant impact on the shape and momentum of digital enterprise transformation in the next 5-10 years.

‘Its not Business, its Personal’

Customers, even in the B2B market, are increasingly looking for products and services that align with their preferences and traits as individuals rather than as collective and homogenous market segments.

To achieve this degree of customisation, businesses are turning to digital innovations in research, manufacturing, sales and service. On the other hand, customers want simple, non-intrusive interactions that deliver their desired results. This will remain a challenging balance for business to achieve, but the chances of success are enhance by digitisation.

Information is Key to the New Customer Experience

Organisations across every sector are accelerating their efforts to build, deliver or partner on information-based services which in turn drive the adoption of subscription and bundled models of consumption. This will require sophisticated interfaces where customers can source combinations of products and services from a range of providers. This concept of partnering and brokering of services via published interfaces reflects a major change that is characteristic of Digital Transformation.

A perfect example of this can be seen in the heart of our own industry.

With the high penetration of smartphones and the rapid evolution of internet services as the basis for business tools, service providers have been forced to seek alternative revenue streams. Although consumption of internet bandwidth has increased exponentially, its abundantly clear that neither customer nor telco can be said to be happy with either the experience or the financial outcome.

As customer reliance on over-the-top (OTT) services grows, they pay more for their bandwidth as compared to traditional telecom services. To the chagrin of the established providers, this internet bandwidth is a relatively insignificant component of their revenue model, regardless of the increased demand.

In response, many service providers have started to expose valuable APIs to both internal as well as external application builders. In doing so they can offer high-value application-ready data such as billing, location and messaging and generate an incremental and reliable source of revenue (as well as an ecosystem of partnerships and potential acquisitions that are ‘cool’ – a trait not often identified with your average telco.)

What’s more we are only at the beginning of this. Research indicates that less than 25% of mobile applications use APIs, creating significant headspace for telecom API providers. With the predicted further growth in mobile applications, and the IoT behemoth entering stage right, the demand for telecom APIs is inevitably going to increase in the immediate and mid-term future.

The Spiral Staircase of Data

A vast well of data in all its forms is now available for consumption, and in consuming it and allowing it to drive behaviour, businesses and individuals generate yet more data.

As this model of consumption spirals upwards, customers, business leaders, and their partners and employees will rely more on data to make decisions. Universal access to data will inform preferences and ideas, but will simultaneously put brakes on the rate at which decision and action follow, as the glut of inconsistent data of variable value makes it difficult to reach answers quickly and correctly. Businesses that don’t align with the information expectations of their customers will be challenged (and challenged publicly).

Ghosts in the Machines

Advanced automation, not just of discrete and rigid industrial processes but of ‘soft’ creative and social tasks, is now a reality.

Business must increasingly examine these for opportunities to drive efficiency and achieve growth. Clearly, automation has already fundamentally and irrevocably changed the form and nature of work in less skilled areas. It is increasingly replacing or enhancing activities that demand a degree of social and emotional intelligence, contextual knowledge or judgement. When automation takes on the activities once performed solely by skilled employees with a high sense of self-worth, everyone involved will need to adapt how they assess and demonstrate value, collaborating with and being guided by technology agents that elevate judgment, creativity and flexibility and not just accelerating outcomes.

Don’t Fence me In

Recognised boundaries across organisations, functions and roles are more fluid than at any time and are a defining characteristic of the digital enterprise.

Cross-industry models are drawing strategic players in historically isolated industries together, and long-standing industry ‘identities’ themselves may need to be redefined. For example, the automotive industry finds itself at the point of needing to redefine the very nature of its product – not by BMW or Ford – but by Apple and Google. Yet all parties to this radical and pivotal change, both incumbents and arrivistes, will need to collaborate with each other in order to reach their goal.

Scream if You Want to Go Faster

Most organisations, especially those ‘incumbents’, are challenged in trying to keep up with the dizzying rate of change in customer behavior and competitors who were ‘born digital’ and not yet even teenagers.

Risk assessment, regulatory compliance, governance, legacy IT systems, and globalisation can all serve as roadblocks for enterprises, while customers and competitors appear to move faster than ever. Larger companies must be adaptive, developing flexibility in the face of uncertainty and above all must avoid creating monolithic organisations and processes that are only optimized to a single outcome.

Please Be More Specific

Assessing and determining which of these seismic shifts are critical to your specific company and context is the necessary stage for digital transformation programs.

Leaders who can enable this shared vision will not just be rewarded with a starring role in the unfolding drama, but will be in for a decent share of the take and the royalties to follow.

At CommsVision 2016, our expert speakers and partner business leaders look forward to exploring with delegates how real businesses are meeting the challenge of enterprise digitization, and succeeding.

www.commsvision.com

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Dealing with disruption in the Age of the Platform

The new world of platform-driven communications takes centre stage at this year’s CommsVision at Gleneagles in November, for which I will be Content Director and Chair, and while the growth opportunities are significant, challenges must be overcome to realise the market potential

In May the World Economic Forum predicted the digital economy to return one hundred trillion dollars by 2025, disrupting the known industrial economy in the process. The numbers are mind-boggling, so how do they translate for comms channel businesses that could and should be at the heart of this transition?

To become and remain competitive, today’s enterprises must design and equip their business to create value, and the concept of a Business Platform can play a critical part in achieving this. A Platform can usefully be thought of as an integrated and open business model, not necessarily a specific technology, that determines how an organisation engages with its stakeholders, promotes technology innovation, designs its business processes and develops an effective culture and brand.

We are currently witnessing the inexorable rise of technology-enabled platforms for businesses, and their corresponding impact on the business communications marketplace is also keenly felt. Emerging software-based platforms for business communications, integrated with common business applications and complemented by new technologies such as sensors, analytics and machine learning, are leading a drive towards contextual communication and are changing the game.

The innate ability to serve the most appropriate communications medium (and supporting information) automatically to an individual or a team according to the real-time context of their location, activity or expertise is already established. In the imminent future this will encompass factors such as our reputation, our health status, proximity to problems or opportunities, or a myriad of other external human and technology factors.

 

Last month Microsoft agreed definitive terms to acquire LinkedIn, the world’s biggest professional social media platform for $26 billion, at a premium, making it the third largest acquisition in the history of the tech industry. Notwithstanding the ongoing debate about this valuation and Microsoft’s motives, this is clearly a ‘Platform’ play intended to parlay LinkedIn’s 430 million global subscribers (and significant expertise in data analysis) into a value generator across Microsoft’s solutions in CRM, Unified Communications and Office Productivity.

Closer to home, Vonage recently spent $230 million on Nexmo, an established but niche communication platform business that most UK comms channel players will be unfamiliar with. Cisco’s recent launch of the Spark collaboration platform brings it into this fast expanding territory, with a just-revealed but well advanced API collaboration with Apple bringing it rapidly to the attention of professional smartphone users.

What does this mean to the comms sector and its channel models? Service providers, vendors, system integrators and applications developers must quickly determine their role and opportunity in the new world of platform-driven communications, and they may be facing an existential challenge. This will be decided in the battle to make communications relevant to the customers’ current and future workflows and culture, redefining business processes and disrupting markets via innovative business models.

The future will be based on building, buying or borrowing (renting) platforms that customers, partners, suppliers and employees can integrate with and develop on to collaboratively solve business problems. This is having a major impact on established ecosystems and supply chains as they are reconfigured or supplanted, with business leaders recognising the inherent and growing value of being in the platform business.

Traditional vendors such as Cisco and Microsoft are walking a difficult line between partner and competitor by pitching themselves and their more innovative collaborators against their existing service provider customers. Meanwhile, SIs and ISVs have become essential to the building of and access to scarce data management and application development resources. In the ensuing scramble for position, new providers such as Slack and Twillio have emerged, offering opportunistic and agile business solution developers a compelling platform.

How can the channel respond? The comms channel has long been recognised for its ability to sell, assure, bill and deliver business comms solutions. To this can now be added the need to either own development resources or offer access to them, while providing global or regional delivery and support for customers. Channel players must translate customer business requirements into real life solutions with the ability to integrate to multiple platforms. The fundamental service the channel can deliver is network connectivity, with a major part of the opportunity focused on simplifying the often complex and challenging nature of dealing with service providers.

Many channel players identify the provision of ICT services as a natural extension of this current core business and a way of adding new revenue streams, and as these migrate to the cloud new opportunities will emerge. The channel is well positioned to offer cloud services, the performance of which is highly dependent upon a foundation of network availability and quality. However, if they are to be more than just the plumber laying the pipe they must develop and offer relevant bundles for their customers, differentiated by understanding the impact of these on the network and sustaining end-to-end quality of experience from design through deployment and operation.

Although comms solution providers have identified a range of cloud services they can bundle – including enterprise apps, storage, analytics, CRM and billing – according to Ofcom research only 23 per cent of UK SMEs report using cloud services. This leaves considerable headroom for market growth as businesses are educated about the impact of these services on business performance, and as key enablers such as superfast broadband are deployed.

If the key to success in the Platform Age is building a focused but flexible offer based around the needs of customers, the channel has to rapidly develop infrastructure and services that in turn can be quickly adapted for their target markets.

The platform that will support this future must be applicable to a diverse spectrum from consumer to higher end enterprises. This represents a reversal of the traditional industry view where SMEs and consumers were at the foot of the pyramid that always got the attention of the incumbent product development and marketing teams. So what is needed to meet this oncoming opportunity? Three key areas of potential development come to mind:

A Converged Platform: A mix of mobile and fixed services that match the needs of the customers’ business is essential. The customer will decide and the platform must be flexible enough to allow mixing and matching of services to fit the business. The channel’s ability to offer an optimum blend of networks, devices and applications to improve business performance and save the customer money is a critical success factor.

Cloud: Being alert to the potential impact of cloud-based services on their business and that of their customers (and their networks) is essential to the channel. This will embrace ICT services such as storage and computing as well as UC services and informal contact centres.

Analytics: Data doesn’t have to be big to be important. Analytics are not just for the very largest business clients, SMEs can and should benefit from the power of data analytics generated from the core of the network, across service bundles and directly from their existing billing, CRM and operational systems as well as those of their vendor and distribution partners.

So why a Platform again? Digital platforms provide a foundation that others can build on, providing an architecture of participation. The most successful digital businesses have recognised that intrinsic value lies in the network the platform enables, not within the platform alone. The World Economic Forum’s digital economy forecast is massive, and every business, even the largest global player, is dwarfed by it. But what if you could plug the power of that network into your business? This is what the Platform concept offers by being highly scalable, applicable to diverse business models, and acting as a sustainable, cost-effective multiplier of inputs and outcomes.

Your customers will require increasingly sophisticated services as they seek to compete with larger or more established businesses, leveraging the digital economy and services available to them from many sources. Comms Vision 2016 promises to play a key part in achieving this.

http://www.comms-dealer.com/special-report/dealing-disruption-age-platform

Thoughts on The SIP School’s 2015 survey

I was pleased to see the publication this week of The SIP School’s 2015 Survey into trends and challenges in SIP trunk deployment by its many students and customer organisations.

Now in its fifth year, the SIP Survey has proven to be even more popular with over 1000 international network professionals responding, sustaining a year on year increase that underpins the validity of the results.

Also worthy of note is that the majority of results are not from Service Providers but primarily from companies that are users of SIP trunking services. This provides a welcome focus on the customer experience since it is ultimately they who will decide if a service is successful.

With a particular interest in the practicalities and perceived responsibilities of SIP deployment in the partner-oriented model that prevails in the comms market today I’d like to offer my own take on some of the survey results.

Although not comprehensive, I hope this provides some insight to the results, the issues and potential solutions, with the commentary aligned to the key questions that I am interested in as follows;

Q9 – “If you’ve had problems where have the issues been?”

Commentary: The shift in the balance of perceived ownership of such problems by the survey respondents is very interesting. As the testing and certification lab partner of choice for the majority of leading IP-PBX vendors tekVizion has seen that most Service Providers accept the need to invest, enrol and participate in multiple vendor-branded interoperability programs. Some very few major Service Providers have tried to turn the tables on this situation and dictate that vendors should sign up to their programs and pay for the privilege of being in them. This change in perceived responsibility might also be based on the relative ‘newness’ of SIP as a connectivity option. The IP-PBX is possibly seen as a more continuous and less disruptive technology compared to the SIP trunk and therefore any problems are likely to be laid at the door of the provider. Whatever the reasons, we have seen an encouraging number of providers assume greater responsibility for interoperability as evidenced by their engagement with tekVizion’s independent testing and certification labs.

Q10 – “If you’ve had problems that were found to be on the SIP Trunk provider side, what were they?”

Commentary: Problems such as One way audio, Trunks Dropping, Poor Quality and Codec Mismatch can and should be easily solved by performing proper testing. Without this, the providers are activating the trunks and hoping the “Good Luck” quoted in a survey response will make it work. tekVizion works with many global and national carriers to perform a thorough end-to-end test of their SIP Trunks and develop configuration guides to help deployment and activation. Every business adopting SIP should ask their provider if the trunk has been independently verified for their particular IP-PBX and UC environment.

Q11 – “If your problems were with your SBC / Edge devices, what were they?”

Commentary: As with Q10, there is no excuse for these problems, regardless of the SBC vendor, product type or procurement model provided proper testing is conducted. What is needed is a holistic approach that looks at the whole SIP ecosystem from an end-to-end perspective. Many providers are finding themselves taking a tactical and costly piece-by-piece approach to interop testing, retrospectively testing and certifying individual solutions that have already been sold rather than developing a continuous testing model against a defined matrix of solution components, including the SBC

Q12 – “If the problems were found to be with your SIP/ VoIP based PBX what were they?”

Commentary: It sounds simple enough to avoid ‘Manual Configuration Errors’, the outright leading cause of problems with the IP-PBX, but there are a number of compounding factors. Lack of proper testing and documentation, thinly stretched technical resources, the sheer number of options and variations even within a single vendors’ product offerings, plus the rate at which vendors introduce new features, all serve to undermine the capability of vendors, providers and their channel partners and integrators to deliver effective Day 1 deployments.

A properly managed program of interop testing, delivering independently validated and/or certified solutions backed by comprehensive documentation is the most effective way to eliminate such issues.

Q14 – “When things go wrong with the SIP Trunks (operationally) and you talk to support staff, how do you rate their ability to fix problems?

Commentary: The range of available responses to this question indicates the variety of potential sources of fixes (and problems in obtaining them). The probability is that the entire supply chain from IP-PBX and SBC vendors through service provider to reseller are each working from a unique combination of different resources, documentation, knowledgebases and experience. A single, independently verified configuration guide made available through a formally recognized interop program enables assured support and shared understanding, leading to a significant reduction in deployment issues generally, and rapid resolution should they occur.

Q15 – “If you could ask one question of your SIP Trunk provider what would it be?

Commentary: “This comes as no surprise at all. However the answer should not be for the provider to offer a generic “profile” to match the SBC/PBX configuration. Most providers may do some level of testing and can provide a basic configuration, but the business user has no verifiable means to assess how extensive and effective the testing is other than deploying it and seeing what happens. Rather the question should be “Are your SIP Trunks independently verified by a third party?”

Q22 – “Do you think WebRTC will be ‘allowed’ to flourish as a Peer to Peer technology or do you think it will follow the same path as SIP and require multiple intermediary devices such as Session Border Controllers to work?”

Commentary: We are clearly at the beginning of a very long journey towards new platforms and modes of business communication that will co-exist and integrate with eachother for a long while to come. WebRTC may have been created with ‘the web in mind’ rather than telecoms or UC but to imagine that it won’t be adapted and folded in to the latter components is short-sighted and dogmatic. On the inevitable occasions when the two worlds are forced together there will be a greater need for interoperability.

Q23 – “What do you see are the biggest challenges with using WebRTC?”

Commentary: Those respondents who understand webRTC identify ‘interoperability’ as the biggest issue. We agree its definitely a major challenge, especially as solutions are still evolving. A related challenge is the difficulty of solution testing. It is prohibitively expensive to maintain a full range of products for a test bed, so performing limited integration testing will not guarantee a working solution. Just as with SIP, there is a need for an independent lab to partner with webRTC vendors to provide a solution test platform.

A connected ecosystem is essential for innovation

Whether cloud or premise-based (or fashionably hybrid), as with all software applications the delivery cycle of a new UC product has changed significantly in the last decade, from monolithic updates arriving every 2 years to a stream of agile, continuous and incremental improvement.

What hasn’t changed is the need to interact with other vendors’ products or telco services to collectively deliver a compelling solution to the customer.

In effect, the development time and the window for recovering your R&D investment has nearly halved, while the complexity of integrating 3rd party products has probably doubled.

The cost of maintaining your own ecosystem of 3rd party solutions to ensure coexistence can throttle new development and delay market entry and time-to-revenue.

The Problem

In today’s environment, testing and solution integration is delayed by test bed setup, product acquisition, training and support.

Your team has to purchase multiple vendor solutions, wait 30 days to receive the equipment, and another 4 weeks to setup and start integration. Your agile development model may get you a new UC or contact centre featureset in 2 weeks, but how long does it take to get it tested with all the other elements of the whole solution such as Service Provider SIP trunking or 3rd party PBXs?

Unless you are a mega-telco on a global or national scale, the chances are that the team you ask to do this is NOT a dedicated test team, and is more likely to consist of hard-pressed pre-sales engineers and specialists – and even businesses with dedicated teams and processes still find themselves struggling to cover all the bases in a fast-moving and populous UC ecosystem.

The other challenge in maintaining your product ecosystem is version management. As your partner vendors release new versions, the upkeep of 3rd party products can derail your solution with development and field integration problems.

In our experience the best solution is a time-shared virtual ecosystem, allowing you to connect anytime from anywhere to experiment with concepts, test your ideas and prove their value without incurring the cost of building the entire ecosystem.

You need more than just Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas)

Infrastructure as a Service is typically a ‘barebones’ system provided to you from the cloud, leaving you to install the virtualized 3rd party products and configure them as needed.

The challenge with this option is you still incur the cost of 3rd party software acquisition and need the skills to configure and maintain it. While IaaS lets you install your application flexibly and securely in the cloud, it does not reduce the cost or the time required to complement your UC solution’s agile development and product introduction.

tekVizion onTAP

tekVizion onTAP is a purpose-built platform of multiple vendor UC products for on-demand access from anywhere. Commonly deployed UC topologies are pre-configured and setup for end users to simply schedule and start using with the click of a button.

onTAP maintains up to date releases of its target platforms, so your engineering and field support teams have access to the latest and greatest product versions all the time.

onTAP offers you the infrastructure, 3rd party software and the system knowledge to configure and maintain solutions without acquiring skills that are not required for your core product. onTAP reduces the time and the cost it takes to start working with any 3rd party UC solution.

onTAP Vs In-House

The table shows the estimated time it takes to acquire, install and configure a major vendor UC system to integrate with your solution as compared to onTAP

onTAP reduces time-to-market and time-to-revenue, even before you consider the associated lab maintenance costs, making onTAP a compelling solution, whether for a one-off proof of concept or as the foundation for your continued UC interoperability programs.

The Search could be Over – What’s next for Google and why it matters in Telecoms

If you follow the Telecoms sector you’ll know Google has been making some expensive and strategically interesting investments in comms infrastructure such as Google Fiber.

If you look at Google’s existing business model, and the opportunities created from a project like Fiber, it becomes apparent that Google’s opportunity in telecoms and related businesses could fundamentally alter Google’s footprint and change the telecoms landscape forever.

Google has become Google by building a $50 billion online advertising business. However, competitors such as Facebook Twitter and Amazon.com are upping their game, creating price and margin pressure. Google’s cost-per-click prices fell 3% year-over-year last quarter, exceeding the 2% drop in the previous quarter.

The Android revolution of course gives Google plenty of other strategic irons in red hot fires, but at less than $2 billion in fourth quarter revenue it remains a small slice of Google’s business model. Android already bosses the global mobile OS market, so where is the next wave coming from if advertising revenue tops out?

Google needs another $50 billion line of business, soon, and Telecoms could be where its at.

Lets take recent developments in the US market as an example. Google Fiber offers broadband internet and TV, a proposition not dissimilar to AT&T’s U-Verse service. The difference being that Fiber is far from universally available, offered only in three regional markets, with imminent plans to expand into four more.

AT&T’s 12 million plus U-Verse subscribers generate over $15 billion in revenue from U-verse. Although it would take significant amounts of money and time (see my previous post on Google’s ability to take the long view) , Google could replicate AT&T’s success simply by its offer of speeds of 1 Gbps, and the astonishing content access that offers.

However, that still wouldn’t double Google’s existing revenues, or transform it from internet search giant to telecoms contender.

The big impact arises via Google’s potential to become the next AT&T (or BT or Telefonica etc).

Google is nearing a deal to sell mobile voice and data in the US as an MVNO using T-Mobile and Sprint’s networks. This would give Google its own TV and internet services, plus mobile phone and data services. Yes – they have to pay T-Mobile and Sprint to use their network, BUT Google will duck the expense of building a mobile network or engaging in spectrum wars while doing what we know they excel at – collecting revenue from customers.

We have seen Google programs come and go before, and Fiber is still pretty immature, but Google has already redrawn the playing field for broadband provision. Pre-Fiber, telcos built networks in the hope that customers would come. With limited broadband choices available, this model suited the telcos, gaining them pricing power over users. However, in spite of only being in three markets today, Google is the first provider to publish clear and ambitious criteria for cities in which it chooses to build. The parallels with an earlier network – the railways – are remarkable.

Cities who want to play have to meet Google’s criteria. These have included fast-tracking permits for construction and the re-use of existing poles to radically reduce construction costs and speed time-to-service. Instead of having to build from the ground up, like an old-world telco, Google can screw a Fiber cabinet onto an existing pole and service a home or business. To compound the irony, many of the poles are owned by the existing telco!

So – the incumbent (AT&T in this case) is indirectly hastening Google’s Fiber deployment, at the same time as Google enters other choice telco segments as an MVNO using the competition’s network.

This implies that Google sees the U.S. telecom space as a major growth opportunity (and probably others internationally too). They certainly have a strong pull factor from the regions with many major US cities running public awareness campaigns for Fiber to try and accelerate its arrival – hence my earlier reference to the railways. In 1850’s America – if you weren’t campaigning hard to be on the network your town was facing a doubtful future.

Google’s momentum with Fiber, and complementary additional services as an MVNO is impressive. They may never become as large as an AT&T, but nor do they need to in order to generate the right returns.  A modest but attainable growth target in telecoms could represent 50% revenue growth over the next 10 years, bolstering Google’s existing (and somewhat uncertain) growth pattern.

Fiber will cost Google billions to deploy, but being characteristically ‘out of the box’ about the business model, they have a genuine opportunity to enter a new phase of growth as a service provider. Whether this can truly be replicated on an international basis remains to be seen, but their capacity for capital investment, risk and innovation is well proven and exceeds that of most of the established players put together.

Share your channel experience…and learn about ChannelEyes

Our partners ChannelEyes are currently finalising their latest product for accelerating channel performance.

If you work in managing the IT and Telecoms channel, I’m asking for your feedback on behalf of my friends at ChannelEyes as they continue to shape their already impressive platform.

In summary the new application;

·  Applies the principles of Big Data and Analytics to the ‘two tier’ sales model to offer unrivalled business intelligence about your entire channel.

·  Uses data from partner interactions and other sources to provide Channel Account Managers with a platform to drive and monitor recommended activity with positive results

·  Delivers full insight to Channel Executives on revenue forecasting, channel heath assessment, benchmarking against industry-wide channels, and more to provide 360-degree visibility.

The survey should take you about five to ten minutes to complete, and ChannelEyes assure me all respondents will get a $10 Amazon gift card!

PLEASE ACCESS THE SURVEY HERE

If you work in channel sales and marketing and you haven’t already taken a look at the ChannelEyes solution (really!?) you can see my previous post on it here. 

The Three Types of “Solutions”: Which One Do You Use to Market and Sell? (Part of a Series)

An interesting roadmap – I’d like to see the corresponding ‘solution buying’ model mapped against this and suspect it may not be a great fit (and getting less so by the hour!)

“Climbing Out of the Box”™

Part of a Series: Helping Your Channel Sell Solutions (So They Can Sell More of Your Products…)

 

SOLUTION is a word that can make any IT marketer cringe.  Everyone knows the industry should sell “solutions”, but what does that really mean?  It has become something of a cliché. If you add the word “solution” to any product name, it magically transforms from a “product-push” message to a customer friendly “solution message” – yeah, right.

In today’s post I will talk about the types of solutions (yes, there are several types)…

View original post 807 more words

CommsVision 2014 and beyond

It was great to be invited to facilitate again this year at my eighth CommsVision, the Strategic Summit for the UK Comms Channel.

Here’s my brief interview with the excellent Bridgid Nzekwu of Big Chat Media on this years themes and content.

Next year CommsVision will be 10 years old and will continue to set the strategic agenda for comms business leaders in the UK and beyond.

CommsVision 2015 runs from November 4th to 6th and is not to be missed.

See you there (or here where I’ll be blogging about it)