An international-grade hosted telephony solution based within the United Kingdom, thevoicefactory, or “TVF” takes a unique approach to the world of Unified Communications. Their aim is to deliver advanced hosted solutions to verticals within their specific field, by selling 100% through their trusted partner channel.
Though TVF was born in the UK, it now offers hosted UC to more than 72 countries and owns a global BroadSoft platform at Carrier grade to deliver 9 x 5 reliability to all their partners. In an effort to get a better feel of the UC market this year, and in the year ahead, we spoke to Paul Harrison, the Managing Director of thevoicefactory, to get his thoughts on what channel partners need to do to stay competitive in this disruptive marketplace.
How Are You Helping Partners and Customers Succeed?
thevoicefactory is particularly specialised in the way they empower their channel partners to promote sales and increase hosted telephony adoption. They focus exclusively on specific verticals like Hospitality, Automotive, Legal, and Travel/Tourism, to ensure they have the best reach when it comes to proven deployment opportunities. Paul told me:
“We try to offer the most advanced UC solutions on an international basis, to help our partners target bigger organisations that are ready to take on the benefits of hosted telephony. We now have the same solution available in the UK, in the USA, and there are about 2 hotels a day going live with the TVF solution. For us, this simply highlights that we’re targeting the right verticals, the right partners, and effectively separating ourselves from the competition.”
As a relatively disruptive company in the UC space, I was keen to find out what Paul thought made thevoicefactory so appealing as a partner solution: “I’ve been selling telephony platforms for years, so I had a good insight into what service providers were missing when I got started with TVF. There are a lot of providers out there who believe it’s all about a price-focused race to the bottom. However, when you’re focused completely on price, people stop associating you with quality.”TVF want to help their partners avoid the race to the bottom by targeting larger enterprises and verticals.
“We believe that hosted telephony is for anyone, it’s just about how you sell it.”
What Have You Learned From 2017?
2017 has been a year of digital transformation (DX) and evolution for a lot of companies in the Unified Communications space. I was interested to find out what Paul thought TVF had learned from the complex marketplace over the last year.
“I think what a lot of people don’t realise is that 100 seats are much stickier than 10 seats. The bigger the company, the longer they stay with their hosted solutions. We’ve focused on enterprises and verticals, so we can separate ourselves from our competitors, and ensure that we’re taking advantage of the stickier nature of bigger companies. The result is that we’re not getting as much churn as some of the other businesses in the marketplace that focus on smaller companies.”
One of the most important disruptive factors in the UC world this year, has been the growth of consolidation between some of the biggest brands in the field. With Mitel purchasing ShoreTel, and Cisco buying BroadSoft, I asked Paul what he thought about these changes, and what they meant to TVF.
“I think the amount of consolidation going on is interesting. There are a lot of new entrants to the market, and I think that many traditional PBX suppliers are desperately looking for ways to evolve into software companies.”
“In the year ahead, I think it’s going to be a case of being in the right market at the right time. In the case of Cisco, they didn’t innovate quickly enough, and BroadSoft is going to help them find their way again.”
What Challenges and Opportunities Do You Predict for 2018?
As we move into 2018, there are plenty of forces on the market worth considering from a UC perspective. Whether it’s the rise of AI and IoT that pushes your business to consider new technology or the drive for new security strategies in the form of GDPR, everyone has some planning to do. I asked Paul what his predictions for 2018 were when it came to opportunities and impending challenges.
“I think there’s going to be even more consolidation in the year ahead. At thevoicefactory, we believe that it’s a race to the cloud, and if you’re a one trick pony in that race, then the chances are you’re going to be consumed and consolidated. Today’s companies need to make sure that they have the right product set to be successful. If you don’t have a full UC portfolio, with a high-end strategy for communications, then you’re not going to get the customer base you need to win the risk.”
For thevoicefactory, 2018 is going to be an interesting time, but they believe that they’re prepared for the challenges ahead. “For us, it’s all about showing our customers that our services can pay for themselves, by centralising services. For instance, when we win a hotel, we show them the value proposition of moving their analytics and call strategies into one place.”
By creating a centralised strategy, TVF can help their customers get rid of unnecessary staff, ensure business productivity, and improve customer experience.
“It’s not just about selling a phone system to a business anymore, but selling to a multi-site business and bringing the cost of ownership all the way down. Every deal we go through now requires a lot of business case strategy. It’s not as simple as just putting a quote together anymore.”
What Are Your Top Tips for Partners in 2018?
As a 100% channel-focused business, thevoicefactory rely on their partners for success. Today, they believe they’re seeing more interested from different companies on the channel side.
“The larger connectivity partners are starting to consider offering their own hosted telephony services. Connectivity providers need to offer these services, or risk losing out.”
“What we’re doing now is trying to get some of those bigger connectivity providers and resellers into our network, so that they can sell our services on top of what they already have. My advice is that our partners should be thinking about what they can do to get ahead of the game, and stay competitive.”
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