As one of the biggest UCaaS providers in the world, it’s hard to get larger than RingCentral when it comes to discussing the impact of UC on the business world. This global provider of cloud communications has been delivering cost-effective, flexible solutions to the marketplace for many years now, and it’s still a popular way to make sure your business is connected in all the right ways.
I sat down for a conversation with Zane Long, the Vice President of Global Channel Sales for RingCentral, to talk about the company’s partners, customers, and the future of the brand. Zane is responsible for recruiting, training, and supporting partners that sell on behalf of RingCentral throughout the world.
What Has RingCentral Done to Help Customers and Partners Succeed?
The first thing I asked Zane, is what RingCentral has been doing to make life and business easier for both their partners and their customers. Zane noted that both customers and partners are connected from RingCentral’s point of view. He told me: “The way that we go to market is largely through the partner community, and we feel that we benefit from those strong connections that exist between partners and customers. Our customers know our partners as trusted advisors for their business strategy, and they rely on them to deliver the best solutions for UC.”
When it comes to UCaaS, RingCentral customers are actively asking their partners for insights into the best technology on the market, because they want to take advantage of the cost savings and efficiency that the cloud can offer.
” Our customers are telling our partners what they want, so there’s a great relationship there, and a great chance for us to make sure we give everyone the best experience. Our uniqueness as a brand comes from our incredible UCaaS product, and we know that alongside the product, you need a strategy for customer care and provisioning, and we’ve done that too.”
RingCentral is now closing their enterprise customers rapidly and seeing huge transitions into the cloud base thanks to the deep relationships that their partners have built within a gigantic customer base.
“Our partners accelerate our opportunity to give customers the information they need to make educated decisions.”
What Has Been Significant for You in 2017?
It’s easy to think of 2017 as a significant year, with so many changes happening in the marketplace. People are re-thinking the way they approach collaboration, and RingCentral is responding to the changes in the market, Zane said:
“We’ve seen bankruptcies from some of the biggest hardware providers, and I think that could be a sign that customers are making decisions differently today.”
Zane went on to comment on the acquisitions that have been particularly significant in the media lately:
“We’re seeing some huge consolidations and acquisitions. People are coming together and looking for new ways to change the market and capture what’s happening in the marketplace with an end-to-end solution.”
What Challenges and Opportunities Do You See in 2018?
With the new year just around the corner, I was interested to find out more about what RingCentral sees as it’s biggest challenges and opportunities in the UCaaS space, as one of the market leaders. Zane began by telling me that his biggest concern was the threat of “abundance”, the number of customers and partners that want to participate in what’s happening in the UCaaS space.
“To me, UCaaS isn’t just the product of the decade, it’s the product of the century. When you think about the transformation that’s happening now, you’d have to go back a hundred years to get anything similar. In 2018, we’re looking at how we can capture as much of the market, as quickly as possible. After all, when a customer goes into the cloud, they’re typically off the market for 5 years or more, so we need to get in before that.”
Zane also noted that RingCentral is focusing on staying ahead of the competition from a technology perspective too, introducing new strategies to help them maintain their leadership position.
“We recently announced powerful new AI, chatbot, and application integrations to our open platform, such as our integration with Amazon Alexa–powered devices that enable users to naturally interface through voice to playback voicemails; send and check SMS messages; and start a RingCentral outbound call, and we’ll continue to stay ahead of the curve on innovation.”
“At the same time, Global expansion is an opportunity that we’re continuing to invest in. We’re branching into new opportunities because we have the ability to offer global services to our partners and customers.”
What Should Be on a CIO’s Priority Lit for 2018?
There are plenty of trending topics in the marketplace that relate to the technology that’s emerging just in time for 2018. For instance, many companies are worried about GDPR or considering the potential of AI and IoT. I asked Zane what he thought CIOs should be thinking about in the year ahead.
“I think many of our enterprise customers are looking at digital transformation, and thinking about how hard it is to evolve from a hardware perspective. Technology is changing so quickly, and the only way you can change at the same pace is to move into the cloud. For instance, our Glip application offers a total collaboration experience, with video, conferencing, messaging and everything else, but you’d struggle to find something similar in hardware.”
Zane noted that he believes that the biggest focus in 2018 will be on ensuring simplicity and efficiency.
“It’s hard to find those things anywhere but in the cloud. CIOs need to start evaluating what’s happening in their organisation, and how they can take advantage of the cloud.”
Do You Think 2018 is the Year of Video?
While exploring the Strategic Insights series, I’ve found that a lot of brands are calling 2018 the year of video. I asked Zane if he felt the same way:
“No, I don’t think so. I remember sitting in on one of the first telepresence Cisco demonstrations, and thinking that I don’t always want someone to be looking at me in a meeting. There’s something about not having video there all the time. Yes, it’s a great tool, but it’s not necessary.”
“I’m more in the camp that video is nice to have, but no-one is making big decisions for their company based on video alone. At RingCentral, we have Glip, and we use it 70% of the time to collaborate through the written word.”
“I think we’re going to see the year of collaborative communications, but it’s worth noting that we have a way to go with the cloud too. Maybe the product of the year for this year, the one after that, and the one after that will still be UCaaS. After all, there’s a lot to be done there still.”
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