The Changing State of the Communications Service Provider
What's on the Service Provider's priority list?
Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are an important part of the UC journey. They help to bridge the gap between the vendor, and reseller, to ensure that end-customers are always getting the best selection of products, from contact centre solutions to collaborative workstream tools. The service provider in a Unified Communications (UC) network is the person responsible for managing and hosting all of the vendor technology for the reseller, but in an environment where customers are more demanding than ever, how can the average service provider get ahead?
Platform Differentiation is Key
Throughout 2017 and 2018, we’ve seen a number of new players entering the service provider space. As more companies embrace the need for a fully-comprehensive contact centre and communication strategy, everyone wants a piece of the pie. That means that if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to be willing to do something new.
Perhaps the simplest way to give your customers an experience (CX) unlike any other is to invest in strategic partnerships with other vendors that deliver complementary technologies to the table.
Some service providers are finding ways to differentiate with their own portals, making provision management, sales, and marketing a simpler process for the reseller to manage. This makes their value proposition more lucrative for the Value-Added Reseller (VAR) and ensures that they draw more customers into their network.
Service partners are even setting themselves apart by delivering their solutions to customers in different ways. The more you can set yourself apart in the marketplace, the more chance you have of satisfying the biggest priority a service provider has – the ability to attract more “high quality” partners. That means not just bringing resellers to your door but attracting people who can generate high sales.
The Need for Agility
Not so long ago, we lived in a world where change was a long and exhausting process. In fact the telecoms equipment industry could have been described as quite dull and flat. We didn’t have social media and fibre internet to speed things up. Now, we’re in 2018, and the world has changed significantly. In the current market, not only is transformation happening rapidly, but it’s also forcing companies to change rapidly with it.
We’re stuck in a constant flow of disruption and innovation – and if you’re not ahead of the current, then you could be dragged under it. There’s a reason why about 68% of companies say that agility is one of the most important things they can invest in for their business.
Today’s service providers need to make sure that they’re doing everything they can to remain agile. This means backing the right horse with vendor platforms and making sure that there are plenty of opportunities out there to scale and evolve. If you’re going to succeed in the modern marketplace, then you need to be ready for growth to happen at an unpredictable, and often chaotic rate.
CPaaS and the Rise of the Cloud
The need for agility in the service provider marketplace has prompted the rise of new types of business, where companies can offer “as a service” solutions through the Cloud on a simple, and cost-effective basis. Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) solutions are a natural progression for the UC industry, offering availability and accessibility at a massive level.
Thanks to high levels of security, multi-tenancy solutions, and pay-as-you-go pricing models, CPaaS solutions can make a service provider more appealing to an end customer. That’s one of the reasons why this business model is growing in popularity by the day. CPaaS brings customers the opportunity to innovate, accelerate, and customise solutions at a rate never seen before.
Global Presence in the Service Provider Space
Finally, as the Unified Communications environment evolves, it’s safe to say that the world around us is getting smaller. A big priority for the service provider in the modern age is the ability to branch out and offer services around the world. A lot of global Cloud platforms are paving the way for a stronger international presence, all the way from Mitel, to RingCentral, and 8×8.
Of course, as exciting as the concept of going global might be, it’s not without its challenges. There are countless regulatory issues to think about in certain countries, and plenty of important issues to overcome. Microsoft is probably the biggest player in the global Cloud communications world right now, but more competitors are appearing every year.
As more multi-national organisations and enterprises begin their move towards the Cloud, multi-tenanted Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solutions are becoming an essential part of the differentiation journey. People want to be able to get local dial tones and numbers from their service providers, and with that requirement comes a host of new pressures.
Privacy and Security
Finally, there will always be a focus on the importance of security and privacy in the service provider space. These days, customers are more aware of cyber security issues than ever before, and privacy is a significant issue – particularly with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) looming just around the corner. Service providers need to be able to address compliance and security issues at a rapid pace, particularly if they’re planning on making the move to other countries, where compliance requirements might be different.
Of course, privacy and security aren’t just issues for the service provider to continue. Resellers, vendors, and everyone in the UC chain should be thinking about what they can do to make the communication space more secure. It’s not enough to simply pass the responsibility off to someone else – security has become a universal issue for everyone in UC.
Sponsored by Gamma
Thank you to our headline sponsor Gamma who are continuing to lead the market with cutting-edge, innovative solutions.
Gamma is a leading supplier of voice, data and mobile products and services in the UK. They supply a broad range of communications to small, medium and large-sized business customers, the public sector and not-for-profit organisations.