While on the face of it, the European UCaaS market is evolving positively, some of the changes taking place could negatively impact control, choice and innovation for both partners and end-user organisations. However, it does not have to be all doom and gloom, it is just a case of understanding the background, asking the correct questions and choosing the right partner.
First, we all know that most growth markets usually experience some consolidation, which can be an opportunity. However, consolidation can bring risks, one of which can be lack of diversity and that matters.
Diversity helps to evolve a market, with different vendors exploring new technology features and business models. Diversity also brings more product choices for end-users and channel players' ability to differentiate themselves, all of which fuels healthy competition.
Conversely, if diversity is reduced, with most of the leaders offering the same ‘flavour’ of UCaaS and with little scope for customisation, the choices for end-users become limited. This is what we are witnessing right now. Also, it becomes harder for channel partners to stand out from the crowd, and homogenised offerings depend on price to compete. For many partners, that could mean a race to the bottom.
Another risk we see in the market is the stalling of innovation in cloud UC. Without sufficient investment in the future development of cloud-based UC across the industry, there is a risk of over-dependency on the same UC platform. UCaaS is at a pivotal part of its evolution, and the potential is still vast: now is not the time to stifle innovation. For instance, the business world is going mobile and UC needs to be able to evolve fast to meet user demand.
Separately, there is also a challenging trend towards the agency or reseller model, whereby the technology vendor owns the customer contract and relationship. Customer relationships are what partners do best and are one of their most valuable assets. Take those away, and once again, successful competition is probably going to come down to price. Furthermore, partners need to be able to build their own market presence, with technology services under their own brands, but not all UC providers offer this option. Again, this risks all partners appearing to be the same.
Something else to consider is that — at the moment — US players have quite a strong foot in the ground in the European market. This continent has some particular requirements, such as genuinely understanding local needs, including regulations. Data sovereignty is another concern because users and partners will want to know where their data is stored and how its privacy is governed. Plus, if a customer experiences a problem, how quickly can the vendor respond and in the local language? It is essential to appreciate that Europe consists of many different countries, all of which have their own UC needs.
Here are six areas of questions we believe partners and business users need to be asking their UC vendors right now:
The organisation that can answer ‘yes’ to all those questions is Enreach, the only UC technology vendor with all the breadth of products and services, localisation and innovation that partners and business users need.
With 1100+ employees, 24+ offices, 6750+ partners and 2.3 million+ users, we have the market experience, expertise and resources to support our European community. We are big enough to make a difference, but our local feet on the ground and our entrepreneurial spirit enables us to listen to our customers. Plus, everything stays within the region, from support to data, with full compliance with all relevant regulations.
Our partners and users can be assured of our ongoing focus on taking UC to new levels, with a clear and pioneering product roadmap, including our ‘mobile first’ approach. Frost & Sullivan has named Enreach a market leader in the annual Frost Radar 2021 on European hosted IP telephony and UCaaS, including the highest-scoring European-based organisation for innovation. Our continued investment in new technology services is augmented by our buy-and-build strategy, meaning we bring best-of-breed technologies together.
Our partners can be confident that they retain ownership of their customers, plus we offer white-labelling options. So, each partner can promote its services under its own brand name and build an individual market presence, while enhancing relationships with existing customers.
In this fast-changing and sometimes volatile market, it is vital to have the right UC technology partner. Decisions made today will have profound implications for the future, and with Enreach, our partners and customers can be confident that we have their backs.
This article was published on Comms Business on February 7th, 2022