Today's brands must work together
Legacy brands like Avaya have been struggling to stand out for a while now in the ever-transforming UC&C marketplace. These giants might have the respect and support of their customers for now, but the exciting opportunities that smaller, more agile companies have to offer means that legacy brands are quickly losing their shine.
That’s one of the reasons why the new partnership between RingCentral and Avaya has been so crucial for the industry. The fact that these two companies have joined forces isn’t just a big deal because they’re both major brands. Avaya and RingCentral’s collaboration seems to represent the start of a new age in the UCC space – one driven by the desire to consolidate, collaborate, and build together.
Here at UC Today, we’ve had a chance to see transformations in the UCC space taking place on a massive scale. As the trends in the marketplace change, moving towards things like cloud technology and integrations, legacy players have had to find a new way to transform.
Avaya is just one of the major traditional brands that have begun to struggle under the pressure delivered by leading UCaaS and CCaaS players. Their huge employee count, piles of legacy tools, and inability to deliver some crucial cloud-based solutions left us wondering if they would need to sell or perish.
Compared to some of the UCaaS and cloud-focused companies that have achieved huge valuations in the market of late, legacy players have been having a hard time showing their value. This applies even to some of the biggest companies. For instance, only recently, we saw how Avaya still had the power and market impact to pull itself up and out of the ground after the confusion and heartache of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Yet it seems like even bankruptcy is easier to overcome than the threat of irrelevancy.
Unless today’s legacy companies can strip themselves of the excess weight of their multiple platforms and costly legacy equipment, they’re going to end up collapsing under all that old infrastructure. Legacy players have to cut ties with the past and embrace the future to survive.
As legacy players continue to suffer in the ever-changing marketplace, newer, more agile companies are owning the industry. We can see countless UCaaS and CCaaS players taking advantage of single platforms built on microservices to delight their customers and scale fast. These quick-paced businesses don’t need endless employees to scale their platforms; they can scale fast, innovate more, and deliver what their customers need.
It seems that no matter what your stance might be on the changing industry, we’re going to see more strategic partnerships in the months and years to come. The Avaya and RingCentral partnership isn’t just big news; it’s a story that highlights the age we’re moving into.
We’ve already seen a lot of other changes in the sector, including Mitel engaging in a CCaaS partnership with Talkdesk, and Slack embracing a collaboration with Salesforce. This David and Goliath battle is shifting, and the Goliaths of the world are starting to lose their balance. They know that if they don’t partner with the smaller companies, and the innovators that can help them evolve, their entire legacy is going to bite the dust.
It might seem dramatic, but the companies that can’t collaborate with other innovators in their space today simply won’t be able to survive going forward. I recently spoke to the CEO of Dialpad, Craig Walker, about his opinions on the latest partnership and he told me:
“The partnership between RingCentral and Avaya shows that true legacy providers like Avaya are going to have a very difficult time moving their installed base of users to the cloud in a meaningful way without outside assistance”
“RingCentral’s desk phone first, legacy feature set, will likely give these long-time Avaya users a very similar experience to what they were previously receiving from Avaya, albeit in a hosted vs. an on-premises environment. This move shows that even the largest provider of on-premises business phone systems recognises that the move to the cloud is inevitable.”
Today’s companies don’t necessarily have to re-work their entire background and build all of the tools that their customers need from scratch if they want to compete. However, they do need to be aware of the changing marketplace, and understand that if they can’t build something themselves, they need to find someone who can deliver results for them.
Lately, we’ve seen evidence of this strategic growth everywhere, from Zoom’s partnership with Twilio for their Flex contact centre, to Slack’s connection with Salesforce for CRM solutions. Strategic partnerships are the new lifeline for legacy players in the industry, and they’re going to help these businesses take advantage of new and more agile environments in the months to come.
Personally, I think that this is good news, for the customer, the employees, and particularly the brands. Companies of all sizes need to be open to evolution. Holding onto the past doesn’t get you anywhere, investing in the future is what makes a company timeless.