Vonage: The Mid-Market & Programmable Comms
We talk with the CEO of Vonage
As customer demands transform, and the marketplace for communication grows more competitive, businesses need more from their communications providers. Today’s companies need solutions that support everything from back-end simplicity and better employee collaboration to front-end productivity and greater customer engagement.
What makes Vonage unique, is that in recent years, through a series of strategic acquisitions, as well as organic growth, the company has transformed and evolved from a home phone VoIP provider to a leading provider of business cloud communications. With a unique combination of unified communications, contact center and programmable communications via APIs, the organisation is the only provider to link together these capabilities to meet all the needs of the mid-market. This means that Vonage can offer a truly integrated solution to modern communication problems.
We caught up with Alan Masarek, the CEO of Vonage, to discover what it means to support the current mid-market customer.
What Has Vonage Become in 2019?
As mentioned above, Vonage has long been recognised as a communications leader. The brand has more than 2 million customers around the globe. However, the focus of Vonage is changing.
Alan told me that looking at it from a “macro perspective,” the business has moved from a communications and connections company to a brand for customer experience. “We know a great experience is driven by great communications. We’ve brought together the assets relevant to driving a singular customer and employee experience and created a unique way to deliver them to our users – all from a single platform”
Vonage, like many industry leaders, believes that communication is essential to driving the best end-to-end customer engagement. In today’s experience economy, businesses are looking for solutions and providers that deliver a great experience for their customers. The environment that Vonage has been building, both with its own tools and through integrating its acquisition, are designed to support this CX world. “We have this full programmable stack which we refer to as One Vonage. It gives us a way to deliver everything from customer communication to employee communication. We own the entire stack, giving us the ability to control the experience for our customers – from the carrier to the application. Experience has become the key differentiator and businesses are taking note as they consider solutions to meet their employee and business needs.”
How Close Are You to the “Single Vonage” Goal?
Creating a single and unified experience for an entire portfolio of products is no easy feat. Vonage has been through an excessive amount of work and has realised its One Vonage vision over the last year. Alan told me: “One Vonage is a micro-services communications platform. It comes with all the relevant services you would need for communication, such as video, SMS, audio and so on. What makes it special is that all of the services can be sold individually or built into the applications businesses are already using. Experience must include both the customer and the employee. Both are directly linked. Because we own the entire stack, we have the unique advantage of enabling our customers to connect with their own customers wherever they are – via their preferred channel – and, at the same time, stay connected with their mission-critical business apps and CRM.”
“Everything lives on a single platform, providing businesses with a simpler solution and giving their customers a better, more streamlined experience”
Vonage isn’t just linking employee, workflow, and customer tools, they’re disrupting the market. Most companies simply cannot offer a full-stack solution under one roof. “We believe that this strategy will give resellers and providers a way to offer a truly unique customer and employee experience, and build solutions that address myriad use cases for the entire communications market.”
Does the Mid-Market have High Demand for CPaaS Solutions?
The mid-market seems to be a great place to sell this application-focused and modular solution. They are established and are either already embracing cloud adoption or are at least partially there through the use of business applications and productivity tools, such as CRM. Alan told me that Vonage’s solution allows businesses to move beyond simple cloud adoption and focus on customer experience by integrating the tools they already know and love into a cloud-based communications solution.
“We have companies all around the globe that are embracing this new approach, programming applications into something else and so on. We work closely and directly with our channel partners via a robust channel partner program to help them build successful partnerships with their own customers, providing them with the solutions they need to ultimately create these amazing customer experiences for the end user. On top of that, we’ve built the Nexmo partner network, for developers and companies that can take our tools and build on top of enterprise environments. This means partners from all backgrounds can work with companies to make their existing solutions better.”
Overall, Vonage sees the demand for programmable communications (or CPaaS, Communications Platform as a Service) growing significantly.
“Gartner did a study recently that says we’ve moved from a 5% adoption rate in 2017, to 30% predicted for 2020”
There are endless new opportunities and use cases emerging all the time too. For instance, our acquisition of leading programmable video provider, TokBox broadens the Vonage API Platform, Nexmo, by adding video to its existing strength in voice, SMS and IP messaging, enabling developers and enterprises to integrate live video into websites, mobile apps, and IoT devices with just a few lines of code.
Market Predictions for 2020
Studies show that the value of the CPaaS market is growing at an incredible rate. As Masarek put it: “CPaaS, or programmable communications, is growing like a weed. At the same time, it’s also making the contact centre and unified communications offerings better. Programmable communications built on top of these offerings enable a personalised and contextual experience – via messaging, voice, video, chat – that is simply unmatched in the market. And by offering our customers a single CPaaS platform, we can deliver whatever kind of communication or collaborations strategies they’re looking for.”
In a world where it’s tough for anyone to stand out from the crowd, a programmable solution is highly appealing. It means that anything can be altered to suit the needs of a specific customer. “It’s like being an auto company where you can sell the car or the car parts. Whether a custom blending of packaged applications and programmability, or a pre-bundled offering, businesses are looking for communications solutions to enhance employee connections and create deeper customer relationships by infusing the customer journey with the perfect combination of technology-driven interactions and personalised, white glove service.”
Vonage began by ripping the Vonage cloud apart and building the microservices platform along with Nexmo, the Vonage API Platform. Now, they’re in a world where they can deliver in both the programmable and application space. Going ahead, this includes the contact centre offering with NewVoiceMedia too. By leveraging this ability to create these combination solutions for customers, Vonage is creating a unique and differentiated offering for a truly integrated, truly end-to-end communications experience.